Data collection, analysis, and use in humanitarian practice

Sex, Age (and more) Still Matter  –  Data collection, analysis, and use in humanitarian practice

CARE International    Report,    Feb. 2023

“Data has the power to transform how we see the world. Through big data collection and analysis, we are increasingly able to monitor health, poverty, education, gender equality and climate change on a scale never seen.

For organisations such as CARE, data provide a critical window through which we monitor the reach, impact and operational effectiveness of our work and programs. Yet while we have seen rapid advancement in the last 10 years in big data collection and analysis around the world; the humanitarian sector has remained painfully slow in keeping up with this trend.”

“We can do better in how we collect, use, and analyse data in ways that advance the dignity and rights of the people we serve. This report provides a clear pathway to address these persistent data gaps and ensure the most marginalized are not just made more visible, but are also better equipped with the tools, resources, and agency they need to lead humanitarian decision-making.”

  • The gender myth: Nearly everyone in the humanitarian industry that we interviewed has the strong perception that their agencies are regularly and systematically collecting and using sex-disaggregated data and gender analysis to inform their humanitarian planning and programing. Yet the documentation and evidence to support these claims is very often poor and, in most cases, non-existent.
  • A long way to go: Over the past 10 years the humanitarian sector has made some progress regarding collecting sex-disaggregated data and using gender analysis to make sense of it, but the 2022 Gender Accountably Framework report shows in detail how there is still a great deal that remains to be done. We are getting better with age data and are starting to consider and incorporate disability data collection and analysis. We remain hesitant around how to consider diverse sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics (SOGIESC) in data collection. Overall, we rarely incorporate intersectional analysis of disaggregated data. Even in the best cases of collecting, analyzing, and using sex-disaggregated data, there is extremely little documentation of how this information was used to inform and improve programing. Accountability mechanisms are notably lacking and where they exist lack enforcement.
  • Women remain marginalized in decision making
  • Accountability should take center stage.
  • Impartiality requires disaggregated data.
  • Sex and age are no longer sufficient: The humanitarian industry is still not where it needs to be in terms of collecting and using SADD and gender analysis.
  • Gender is not a catch-all for inclusion programming. The humanitarian and development sectors need to invest in, hire, and train more robust and inclusive teams and dedicated leads to manage data collection, analysis, and programming for a variety of intersectional identities.
  • We need to better coordinate, share, and use existing data
  • Additional requirements on data disaggregation need to be complemented with appropriate funding support
  • Data responsibility in humanitarian action requires the safe, ethical, and effective management of personal and non-personal data for operational response.
  • More inclusive data collection, analysis and humanitarian programming is needed to meet the humanitarian community’s commitment to the localization agenda.

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