Data driven organizations key to tackling poverty
Poverty remains a big challenge in Africa compared to other regions. Despite huge deposits of natural resources, many in the continent still lack access to basic social services, food, education, and proper healthcare. Yet Africa is the youngest continent, with the fastest-growing population which is projected to double by 2050.
Given its challenges, Africa is the continent where most humanitarian organizations are based. But when it comes to progress or reaching the intended impact, data suggests that we are still behind.
The 2019 GoalKeepers Report from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, reveals an interesting trend happening in the entire world. Although we have been working to end poverty and diseases for several years, there’s a high possibility that the number of those suffering will rise.
In countries like Chad, a child is nearly 55 times more likely to die than a child in Finland. In Nigeria, where we have more than 2.5% under-five mortality rate, and the majority of the population has less than 12 years of schooling, indicates that if we don’t increase our effort we will not reach the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) One - No Poverty - by 2030, in some cases even by 2050.
There’s a need to invest in several areas, from education to health, particularly in young people if we are talking about advancing Africa. Additionally, for each investment, we need to analyze other intrinsic factors as well as provide specific solutions.
Let’s put this in another perspective. Several years ago, Africa was affected by the Malaria epidemic, and Humanitarian Organizations thought that just by sending bed nets to the areas with most infection cases, the infections would reduce. But this was not the case as a significant increase was noticed. The United Nations then changed its approach and sent people to the field to try and understand the roots of the cause. The team realized that although they were sending enough bed nets, they weren’t fully being used for the intended purpose. Some were being used to make clothes, others to fish and not to protect against mosquitoes, and consequently for preventing contamination and spread of Malaria.
Then they decided to talk with the population, to understand their context and see which changes they could make, adjust and adapt so that the bed nets could be used for the right purpose. In other words, they started gathering data and analyzing it to get insights for each situation.
Using data not only helps you make better decisions but also guides you see where things went well, where to focus and where to celebrate progress. For example, by digitizing Agriculture in Africa we can generate data that will help form the policies for agricultural transformation.
Humanitarian Organizations or projects looking for external investment or support are often asked to provide concrete insights and results of the work they are doing in the field. Furthermore, insights often help organizations define what is important to them and inform their strategic focus. For corporate companies, insights can help define concrete Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategies and appropriate approach to potential partners, and the community they aim to serve.
At Investors Europe, through Investors Trust, our CSR efforts have financially subsidized several humanitarian projects and enable selected organizations to achieve their goals on the ground.