'Intermediaries' to play key role in future of data for development

Nongovernmental organizations have started to hire more data scientists, but collaboration of analytical capacity should take precedence over competition, experts say.

Increasing data capacity within an organization is not just about hiring the young person who recently graduated with a degree in data science, said Emmanuel Letouzé, director and co-founder of Data-Pop Alliance. It’s also making sure to employ the right mixture of people who collectively understand the history, politics and ethics of data.

The development community is going to see more focused collaboration between different types of organizations that work with data as well as a huge role for the data intermediary — or the person who knows how to translate data to community groups that might not have the same statistical literacy, according to Elizabeth Stewart, research fellow for the Overseas Development Institute.

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    Kelli Rogers

    Kelli Rogers is a global development reporter for Devex. Based in Bangkok, she covers disaster and crisis response, innovation, women’s rights, and development trends throughout Asia. Prior to her current post, she covered leadership, careers, and the USAID implementer community from Washington, D.C. Previously, she reported on social and environmental issues from Nairobi, Kenya. Kelli holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, and has since reported from more than 20 countries.