The 2020 Trust Initiative launched during the 2019 Cross Regional Forum as a way to seek out and support innovative projects that enhance trust in data and statistics in low- and middle-income countries. Each of the selected projects are highly collaborative and will foster the implementation of innovative solutions to statistical, structural and/or reputational aspects of trust in the national statistical system.
The selected projects will foster trust between both public and private stakeholders, and will target timely, critical issues such as statistics for decision making, refugee statistics and local statistics.
Learn more about each project by reading the summaries below, and visit here for more information on the 2020 Trust Initiative.
Congratulations to the selected projects!
Delivering trusted statistics for better data use and policy impact
According to Government Statistician Mr. Kap Calo Andy, “regard for and the use of statistics in Vanuatu is very low." Government institutions, including the Parliament of Vanuatu, have struggled to systematically track progress of national and global development goals and indicators due to the lack of data or skills in understanding and using data to inform policy making. A contributing factor for this gap has been the limited links between Parliament and the national statistical system (NSS), which the Vanuatu National Statistics Office (VNSO) coordinates. This project seeks to address this problem by developing the capacity for data and evidence use within the Parliament, and leveraging the role of VNSO as a trust-enabler in the national data ecosystem.
This project will be the first conscious effort to bring statistics to the doorsteps of the Parliament of Vanuatu through direct engagement with the VNSO. A key component of the project includes utilising the 2020 housing and population census along with administrative data to develop country constituency indicator profiles. The constituency profiles (including key statistics such as school enrolment, employment, agriculture, infrastructure status etc.) will improve the capacity of Members of Parliament to generate and use local information for effective representation. Additionally, these profiles will disseminate information on budget and overseas development assistance (ODA) from the Department Strategic Policy, Planning and Aid Coordination (DSPPAC), and the Department of Finance and Treasury (DoFT) of which the VNSO is part. This will enable MPs to monitor governments commitments to the NSDP and report appropriately.
The project entails improvement of VSNO’s methodological practices such as the inclusion of metadata, and a focus on indicator disaggregation and visualization. It also includes training workshops with the identified MPs political staff and civil servants on data compilation, communication, interpretation and statistical literacy. Pairing schemes will also be instituted in which data and research specialists drawn from the VNSO, DSPPAC and the IPU will support individual MPs, their political staff and parliamentary civil servants. This project will enhance collaboration between data producers and Parliament, fundamental to effective national evidence-to-policy systems. Further, it will strengthen dialogue with policy makers and improve their accountability to the citizens in their constituencies.
Enhancing trust in local statistics
Senegal is plagued with limited use of subnational statistics in the formulation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programs implemented at local levels of governance and administration. Underlying this issue is a lack of institutional coordination between national and local agencies in terms of the production, processing and dissemination of local-level data. Currently, this occurs in parallel reporting streams among different ministries and agencies without transparent archiving and documentation, which hinders citizens' access to these statistics and dilutes public trust. Hence, the technical barriers and operational challenges of coordination, centralisation and data harmonisation underpin a lack of trust in statistics at varying levels of administration. To reconcile inconsistencies, interventions to strengthen data governance and institutional mechanisms for data integration and quality assurance are required.
The proposed Trust Initiative pilot seeks to remedy this by leveraging the role of the Senegal National Agency of Statistics and Demography (ANSD) -- an institution that enjoys independence and trusted reputation in the national statistical system -- as a trust-broker and extending it to the local level. This will be primarily executed by developing a centralised open data platform to disseminate local statistics, backed by the ANSD. At all stages of the statistical processes at the subnational level, quality checks, appropriate frameworks and protocols will be established to create and maintain a trusted flow of data and statistics, enabled by ANSD's skills, resources and expertise. To actively facilitate user access to this local data, trainings for local policy makers and planning/development agencies will be conducted. User behaviour will also be systematically monitored by the statistics office alongside training sessions on data input, platform maintenance and use.
Production and use of quality, trustworthy local statistics is key for good governance and effective monitoring at the subnational, national and global levels. Supporting local statistics also enables transparent accountability to citizens and is closely linked to the goal of representing people’s lives granularly and accurately for targeted decision making. Leveraging ANSD’s role as a trusted data steward and central coordinator of the national data ecosystem will be a key ingredient to achieve this.
Building trust in refugee statistics
This project aims to enhance the reliability of refugee statistics in Uganda. The Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) has not previously included enumeration in refugee settlements in past censuses. Instead, the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), a government agency responsible for the coordination of all refugee matters in Uganda, has carried out household and population counts at their own discretion and provided these statistics to UBOS to streamline into national statistics.
While this process of integration for separate data collection exercises introduces complexity and uncertainty, trust in the accuracy of these numbers was further sullied when news broke in early 2018 that the number of refugees in Uganda was being falsely represented, and the total number was over reported by 300,000 people.
The proposed project leverages UBOS as a trust-creator to align enumeration and dissemination methodologies, data quality and communication around these particularly critical statistics and to put vulnerable people "on the map." It has multidimensional implications on trust: trust in data quality and statistical methodology, trust in technology and trust in institutions. Given the lack of knowledge and clarity about the methodology undertaken to conduct household listings in refugee settlements, this project aims to create more transparency and openness around what census activities consist of and how statistics are generated and reported between government agencies. This is particularly important in this context since refugees are a population that are commonly underrepresented in official statistics.
Supported by the PARIS21 2020 Trust Initiative, UBOS will partner with Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) to produce trusted refugee statistics, drawing on their extensive field mapping programs in refugee and refugee-hosting contexts in Uganda. This would draw on HOTOSM’s expertise to design, manage and implement data collection activities without compromising quality assurance, data privacy and timeliness. HOT will be able to support UBOS and OPM with technical support and hands-on training on digital mapping and open-source technology.
Through this pilot, HOT will develop a proof of concept and support both governing bodies in improving transparency of refugee statistics to ensure there is a systematic and reliable approach to counting people regardless of their geography and context.