Client: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Assignment: Improving the use of results data for development decision-making
Expertise: Advisory panel discussion and technical convening to identify use cases and design a set of data tools, visualizations, and approaches to support those goals.
Most persistent challenge identified in the first phase of RDI was the inability of development actors both at local and national level to associate results data with actual budgets and expenditures. With the country component of RDI2, it aimed to empower partner government and DP offices with harmonized results data to inform key decision-making processes on national strategy, regional budget allocation, and sector program design. Major activities included:
- Engage the Government of Tanzania and DPs. Identified collaborators in the Health sector and related ministries and bureaus with whom are most likely to influence country policy. Growing these relationships was critical for identifying the participants of the Steering Committee, which serves as the basis for engagement and shared learning throughout the program.
- Identify data sources and key indicators. During initial assessment trips and each steering committee meeting, we identified a series of priority questions that a tool or method can help our partners answer. We reviewed available data sources to identify the information needed to answer these questions, including linking results and resource data where possible.
- Convene Steering and Technical Committees to identify opportunities for maximizing the use of results data. We facilitated quarterly Steering Committee meetings that brought together senior government stakeholders to guide the creation of new strategies for using results data in real decision making processes. They discussed challenges to effective data use; identify opportunities for using results data to inform policy and management decisions; and co-design a set of data tools, visualizations, and approaches to support those goals.
- Harmonize relevant datasets. Based on the data use needs identified by the Steering Committee, we managed to bring together data from several sources. Include i) administrative data collected through systems and processes in the health sector (e.g. DHIS2 ii) direct provision of information from government financial and aid management system, iii) relevant data from DP country offices, iv) extraction of structured data from program documents, v) surveys and statistical datasets, vi) and other public and non-public data sources.
- Development of a set of data tools, visualizations, and approaches for using results data. Recommendations of the Steering Committee were put into action by working with the technical and statistical staff from participating agencies to develop the tools and methods they identified. It’s important to note that our goal was not to create a new, parallel IT platform or system, but instead to offer simple data tools, templates, or guidance to help users draw on the data available in existing systems. We presented all tools developed to the Steering Committee for feedback, adapt them as necessary, and ultimately transfer them over to the participating agencies at no cost.
- Monitor tool use, adapt, and promote sustainability. We worked to adapt the datasets and tools based on government feedback, and provide targeted training and peer learning opportunities. Worked collaboratively with the government throughout the entire program, aimed at ensuring maximum knowledge transfer on how to manage the tools.
- After the development completed, all the necessary documentations including detailed user manual and technical manual were handled to the government for ownership.