Shifting Power to the People 📣

Data Values Digest #4 by Josh Powell

Today, we published the first Fireside Chat, a new series of short, curated conversations with key players and stakeholders in data for development. Today’s Fireside Chat features Liz Omoluabi, managing director of the Centre for Research, Evaluation Resources and Development, and Caroline Teti, director of recipient advocacy at GiveDirectly, the largest global non-profit delivering direct cash transfers to people in poverty.

Caroline argues that we’re at a turning point in how data is used in development. Our daily decisions to use data inevitably either exacerbate or address existing inequalities. “The new age is going to give us an opportunity to rethink how we deliver aid and how we support people living in poverty and who are vulnerable,” Caroline explains in the video.

“It’s time for us to start building the community to advocate for responsible data use, promotion of equity through the use of data, and to also build capacity within governments, civil society organizations, donor powerhouses [to] have people who understand data and analytics to be able to… translate that knowledge [into] languages that the common man can understand."

Data ethics advocate Martin Tisne argues for a similar paradigm shift. Earlier this year, Tisne wrote in the MIT Technology Review that “individuals should not have to fight for their data privacy rights [or] be responsible for every consequence of their digital actions.” Why not? Tisne explains that the concept of owning our personal data is flawed. Simply guaranteeing ownership of data doesn’t ensure protection from discrimination or abuse based on that data. 

Nowhere is this more true than in the data for development space. This week we’re asking for practical strategies to increase inclusion and equity in our use of data (see our related call for resources on Twitter). And on the Data Values blog, check out these tips for intersectional data use. Our partners at Data-Pop Alliance also write about a practical strategy for ensuring ethical data use in diverse contexts.

I invite you to join the conversation. Drop us a line at or tag us on social media using #DataValues.

Until next week, 


Joshua Powell | Development Gateway

Better data. Better decisions. Better lives.