DevInfo Support Group (DSG): How did you come to hear about di Profiles, and why did you decide to move forward with this product?
Karl Turnbull, ICT Adviser, AusAID Education Program, Department of Education, PNG (KT): First, a bit of history: the PNG Department of Education (DOE) had, in fact, previously produced its own set of educational profiles at the provincial level. However, these profiles were rarely used, because they contained a huge amount of data presented in plain text and black-and-white tables - not too visually appealing.
In May 2011 DOE was first introduced to DevInfo profiles by the UNICEF PNG office. It was immediately apparent that in contrast to DOE’s existing profiles, the DevInfo profiles were far more professional looking - short (two page), graphical, colourful, and easy to read. Moreover, they were in a format (PDF) that could easily be printed, uploaded to the DOE website, and distributed via CD-ROM. As such,
the DOE decided to move ahead with producing the DevInfo profiles.
Manar Soliman, Senior Programme Assistant, Social Policy, Monitoring and Evaluation, UNICEF Egypt (MS): As a DevInfo Master Trainer, I was already familiar with the di Profiles option in DevInfo 6.0 and wished for a long time to be able to generate these for Egypt at the national and sub-national levels. Given the fact that there is a lot of data in the country and the growing need for information that is easily visualized and presented, in addition to UNICEF’s increasing focus on equity issues, I saw a greater need to produce profiles at the sub-national level, to highlight progress and gaps in equity.
KT: PNG DOE and UNICEF PNG held a number of meetings to decide on a proposed profile layout and the type of data that should be included in the profiles. DOE then added additional data sets to the existing Education PNG database and sent the updated database to the DevInfo Support Group, which then promptly created and shared across the first mockup of the new provincial profiles. DOE and UNICEF PNG provided feedback on this mockup, resulting in the final version.
MS: Due to a limited budget, I thought of producing these profiles in-house rather than outsourcing. When I approached the DevInfo Support Group for help, they immediately responded and arranged for a one-hour session over Skype orienting me with the basic concepts of how to map indicators from the source database to generate profile layouts. Preparing for this project took time and patience, especially with designing a layout that could capture all available information in a simple and reasonably attractive way. Of course, besides this, the underlying source DevInfo database had to be prepared by bringing in relevant sub-national data from various external sources. Eventually, 27 governorate profiles were produced – still with scope for improvement - covering 90 indicators spanning 10 sectors of interest to UNICEFs Egypt country programme.
DSG: How have the profiles been used or shared, since their development?
KT: The DevInfo provincial profiles were first publicly shared in August 2011 at the annual Senior Education Officers Conference organized by PNG DOE. The reaction to the profiles at the conference, which was attended not only by all the senior education officers in the country but also by key donors, NGOs and church partners, was extremely positive. All agreed that we now have one professional-looking profile for each province that can be easily printed, discussed, compared and distributed among all stakeholders. We have also added these profiles to theDOE websiteand distributed them via CD-ROM.
MS: The Egypt governorate profiles have been shared with the UNICEF Egypt Country Office staff, with plans to share them more widely with other DevInfo users in the Arab region through the EgyInfo Facebook page and the Evaluation and Research Network in Egypt (EARNE). In addition, there are plans to share them with concerned governorates to promote evidence-based policy-making as well as with civil society organizations and partners such as universities, NGOs and the media to enhance the culture of knowledge and evidence-based programmes.
DSG: What further plans, if any, are in place to extend the use of profiles in your country?
KT: We are currently working on gathering data to produce district-level profiles (one level below the provincial level), which we hope to complete this year.
MS: Work is still needed to translate these profiles into Arabic and to fully develop the governorate profiles, based on the availability of data for additional indicators. I also plan to develop an updated country profile with a special focus on trend analysis and data disaggregated at various background dimensions. Potentially, it is also being considered to introduce these profiles to governorates, encouraging them to consider sharing and presenting their data at lower administrative levels and producing their own “District Profiles”.
For more information, please contact Manar Soliman, Senior Programme Assistant, Social Policy, Monitoring and Evaluation, UNICEF Egypt, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Karl Turnbull, ICT Adviser, AusAID Education Program, Department of Education, Papua New Guinea at