How to get data to speak at the country level

By Julie Espinosa 27 July 2016

Strong data systems are required for countries to measure the Sustainable Development Goals and their targets. But just having the system isn’t enough if it isn’t being populated with accurate data, Alex Ezeh, executive director of the African Population and Health Research Center, tells Devex.

Ensuring that policymakers and practitioners use evidence-based research to inform their decisions requires both rigorous collection of data and a coordinated system to disseminate it. But this coordination remains a challenge for many national statistical offices.

“It’s one thing to have data, but to really have data speak, you need to have it used,” said Alex Ezeh, executive director of the African Population and Health Research Center, a Kenya-based organization that conducts research and advocates for national policies to enable strong data systems.

Ezeh has been outspoken in his support of improving the quality of research in Africa by Africans, and has dedicated his career to just that — in part through his work at APHRC, which holds trainings and fellowships to support young African scientists and strengthen local research capacity.  

Watch the video to learn what he believes are the current limitations to accurate, open data in many African countries and how APHRC is working to overcome these barriers.

With potential to change the trajectory of crises, such as famines or the spread of diseases, the innovative use of data will drive a new era for global development. Throughout this monthlong Data Driven discussion, Devex and partners will explore how the data revolution is changing our approach to achieving development outcomes and reshaping the future of our industry. Help us drive the conversation forward by tagging #DataDriven and @devex.

About the author

Espinosa julie
Julie Espinosa

Julie Espinosa is Devex's video producer, covering humanitarian aid, sustainable development and global health. Prior to joining Devex, Julie worked in documentary film production in Austin, Texas. She holds a master's degree in communications and cultural studies from Georgetown University and a bachelor's in visual arts from Harvard University.

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