Aditya Shankar, Programme Associate, Community Systems Foundation
In 2019, Community Systems Foundation began its assistance to the government of Zanzibar in monitoring progress towards achieving national development targets and socio-economic goals through ZanzibarInfo, a platform that strengthens transparency and accountability to key development information.
Having seen the results of our work in deploying Data For All tools in Tanzania, the government of Zanzibar reached out to CSF to partner on a similar initiative. The various Data For All tools incorporated by CSF in Zanzibar assists the Office of the Chief Government Statistician (OCGS) to monitor progress on select Sustainable Development Goals and targets relevant to Mkuza III.
The third edition of the Zanzibar Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty, locally known as MKUZA III, has 5 pillars aimed at moving the nation into a Middle Income status. To assist in this effort, CSF has deployed its tools to allow the government to better monitor and report progress on efforts towards Enabling Sustainable and Inclusive Growth, Promoting Human Capital Development, Providing Quality Services for All, Attaining Environmental Sustainability and Climate Resilience and Adhering to Good Governance Principles.
CSF worked with our partners in Zanzibar over a period of 8 months to develop ZanzibarInfo. This process involved close collaboration and consultation regarding the planning, monitoring and dissemination of specific developmental data. CSF deployed five DFA applications, which makeup ZanzibarInfo.
DFA Data Manager
CSF deployed DFA Data Manager to create a common data warehouse that serves to compile data from multiple sources in the government, streamlining the process towards the final dissemination of data. This allows OCGS to update information on the platform effortlessly and in real time. Government staff in charge of administering the platform are trained and fully capacitated with skills to manage the databases autonomously. . This allows the portal to reflect accurate data that has been sourced from credible, government approved sources without external dependencies on consultants or development firms.
DFA Dashboard Builder
To assist with the presentation and management of information that has been collected through various approved sources, CSF has provided DFA Dashboard Builder. With input from OCGS, CSF created a design and then developed a dashboard to showcase the MKUZA III indicators, SDGs and various targets and six other socio economic targets that the country is aiming to achieve. DFA Dashboard Builder enables officials to modify this dashboard at any time or create their own - to be published to the public or made available to select users. Administrators do not need extensive software coding expertise as the application provides dashboard templates, chart and graph formats, and other important tools that can be inserted onto the platform through a few simple clicks. This simplicity allows DFA Dashboard Builder to eliminate barriers that exist in dissemination of development data.
Profiles and DFA Mobile
CSF also assisted Zanzibar to release two additional dissemination tools - building transparency and accountability around the results of government commitments to progress.
First, DFA Profiles - providing ready to download PDFs with infographics that highlight status of key development priorities. These documents are used to showcase the progress being made in different sectors through easy to read and compare briefs. DFA Profiles may help in attracting potential investors into the country or region, as well as can be used to create solutions that are tailored to specific goals.
To be able to ensure sustainable progress, Zanzibar needs the help of its citizens. In an effort to be more transparent and garner support for a better future, a mobile application was developed by CSF to make data sharing more universal and equitable. With over 18% of the estimated total population using mobile phones. This app allows OCGS to publish data that can be accessed on and offline. Connection to the internet is only necessary during the installation of the app and when the government is updating the information to the portal.
Monitoring the progress towards achievement of Zanzibar’s national priorities has been simplified through a singular platform. It also helped the government in aligning national development priorities to the global SDGs.
ZanzibarInfo also incorporates and consolidates development data from six socioeconomic sectors, such as but not limited to Economy, Health, Education and Good Governance.
The portal further ensured easy measurement of “Economic Growth and Social Development for the Well-being of all in Zanzibar” to shift the nation into a Middle Income Country through graphs.
The graphical representation of various indicators have successfully assisted the government in monitoring various parameters towards the accomplishment of the MKUZA III plan and to use data for better decision-making. Bakari K. Makame, Director for Standard and Coordination of Statistics and Research, OCGS, said, “ZanInfo Dashboard has increased data accessibility for track changes and key performance indicators while promoting the expansion of the coverage of data. Through the mobile App, the use of data has been increased for evidence based, decision making and policy formulation”.
The versatility of DFA applications have supported countries around the world, irrespective of size, in tracking and reporting progress against development goals. DFA further allows stakeholders to own, administer and manage all software applications in a sustainable, community-driven model.
CSF looks forward to our continued collaboration with the OCGS towards the further development of the ZanzibarInfo portal. A new phase of support will likely focus on increased accessibility of data related to ZADEP (Zanzibar Development Plan) and SDG Indicators that have been localized to ensure a practical and equitable development, along with e significant data updates and upgrade and configuration of the dissemination tools to assist in the transition of development goals from MKUZA III to the ZADEP. CSF will further incorporate Swahili to ensure wide accessibility and provide capacity building training for continued growth in the management and use of DFA software.