Seth Davis, Programme Advisor, Community Systems Foundation
From 27-31 May 2019, senior statisticians from L'Institut national de la statistique (INSTAT), and statistical experts responsible for the national development plan participated in a week-long workshop in New Delhi, India.
Having utilized DevInfo since 2006, counterparts from Mali are now transitioning their DevInfo adaptation, Malikunnafoni, to Data For All. Currently, INSTAT is lacking the ability to fully disseminate their vast repository of data. With Data For All, Malikunnafoni will be strengthened through data-driven dashboards and a user-friendly mobile application.
By focusing on the dissemination of data, experts from Mali believe that this step will promote and facilitate evidence-based decisions at the national-level, especially regarding the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the national Poverty Reduction Strategy.
Moriba Doumbia, Division Chief with INSTAT, attended the workshop and at the conclusion of the workshop discussed Mali’s usage of DevInfo and the importance of transitioning to Data For All. He noted that:
“DevInfo has been a very important tool to generate statistics and has created a sense of responsibility to create Ministerial indicators.”
Discussing about systems prior to DevInfo, Mr. Doumbia mentioned that “Before implementation of DevInfo there were existing systems, but there were often issues with sources. With DevInfo, however, there was a team spirit where all the Ministries were working together. In addition, it has a positive impact on the data quality because we are looking at data source and metadata of the indicators in Malikunnafoni.”
Reflecting on Malikunnafoni, and more broadly Mali’s experience with DevInfo, Mr. Doumbia highlighted that, "DevInfo has had a very positive impact on data dissemination. Through DevInfo, INSTAT has been able to disseminate data and has also been able to generate a directory of data.”
When asked why it is important to transition Malikunnafoni to Data For All, Mr. Doumbia stated that he “Believes it is important to transition to Data For All for two reasons. One, there is a technology shift happening and, two, that DFA responds to a shift in the needs of different types of dissemination tools, customizations and requirements from the field.”
Taking into account other countries that may transition from DevInfo to Data For All, he wanted to “Reassure countries that DFA takes into account all elements of DevInfo, so there is a sense of continuity. Notably, the Data For All platform contains important tools to use data within the database in an efficient way."
Continuing on this point, he mentioned that “DFA is user centric. While there is a technical team who is managing it, now there is a possibility of customizing or packaging data as per the needs of users.”
In this regard, Mr. Doumbia mentioned that “DFA comes with strong support for data dissemination. For example, dashboards can be customized to fit the context and need of all line-ministries and that every Ministry can have their own dashboards and show their own data on KPIs. So now, DFA is a very targeted intervention, and less generic, and has enabled our team to create customized data cubes for visualizations.”
Discussing other data dissemination elements of DFA, Mr. Doumbia stated that, “The mobile application is going to be path-breaking in terms of dissemination of data. This is because decision-makers will have their data in their pocket. Users will have Malikunnafoni in their phone, and this will give them a sense of ownership of data.”
In regard to data dissemination, he highlighted that, “The INSTAT team will continue to strengthen their technical role to understand the needs of the data users to keep customizing the data dissemination tools. For us, this comes as a strong aspect of the Data For All platform, and this was not there for DevInfo.”
In this regard, he stated that DFA “puts an end to endless workshops.”
Continuing, Nr. Doumbia noted that, “ If you provide a Ministry with a dashboard that they need, they do not need to be trained to use that dashboard. But with DevInfo, the trainings for the users seemed endless since they had to learn how to use a tool and generate objects out of that tools. Considering there are many users, now we will be able to take on the role of technicians. This will make it easier for our Ministries, especially since their roles will not be that technical.”
Concluding his statements, Mr. Doumbia highlighted that, “The DFA platform is making the process of data dissemination easier for us.”