School of Data
School of Data is a network of data literacy practitioners, both organizations and individuals, implementing training and other data literacy activities in their respective countries and regions. Members of School of Data work to empower civil society organizations (CSOs), journalists, civil servants and citizens with the skills they need to use data effectively in their efforts to create better, more equitable and more sustainable societies. Over the past four years, School of Data has succeeded in developing and sustaining a thriving and active network of data literacy practitioners in partnership with our implementing partners across Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa.
Our network includes 13 organisations across the world and a total of 101 active individuals, which all contribute to School of Data key programmes: the Fellowship, the Curriculum and Member Support. Together, we have produced or in the process of producing dozens of articles, lessons and hands-on tutorials on how to work with data. Those are published on our website and are widely reused both by our network and beyond, benefitting thousands of people around the world. Additionally, we have trained over 6500 people through our tailored training events and mentored dozens of organisations to become tech savvy and data driven. One of our flagship initiatives, the School of Data Fellowship Programme, was first piloted in 2013 and has now successfully supported 31 Fellows in 25 countries to provide long-term data support to our audiences, in their communities. The Fellowship programme specifically is run in cooperation with partners within and outside our network: SocialTIC and Internews in Latin America, the Natural Resource Governance Institute and OD4Din Africa, The Engine Room in Eastern Europe. Our methodologies and approach for delivering hands-on data training and data literacy skills such as the data pipeline and the data expedition have now been replicated in various formats by organisations around the world.
These successes are due to the passionate dedication of the members of the School of Data network who have been adopting, adapting and delivering School of Data training in their local communities while simultaneously feeding back their learnings and materials to be reused by larger network. The governance structure of School of Data reflects this commitment of our network members, who have elected for a second year a Steering Committee, tasked of overseeing the strategy of the network.
Priorities as a partner of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data
To strengthen data literacy ecosystems to promote social change, especially in the Global South. It does that by working with a plethora of partners around the world to bring data literacy to environments where the subject is of utmost importance, but usually neglected because of lack of knowledge, technical skills or both. Our network has so far grown organically, taking advantage of the interest and vocation each local group has in their own region. Notably, School of Data has worked closely with two groups towards data literacy: Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and journalists.
It is understandable why our commitment naturally gravitates around CSOs and journalists. The proliferation of the Internet and the Web allowed societies to shift many of their offline services and ways of interaction to online digital systems. The emergence of easy-of-use tools for data analysis/collection brought the subject out of the academia corridors and specialists groups to anyone’s desktop or smartphone. Also, the wave of freedom of information acts around the world created a new layer of interaction between governments and societies, one that is based on colossal amounts of data. As journalists and CSOs find it inevitable to work with data, there is a huge literacy gap since professionals working in those groups do not, traditionally, come from a data-related background.
The data literacy gap poses immense challenges as it is one of the key factors that allow those groups understand their context and act towards better societies. School of Data aims to contribute to raise data literacy around the world. It does this by working with a network of high skilled and experienced trainers, providing content, knowledge and creating enabling spaces so that actors within societies use data effectively, telling stories that are meaningful and relevant to their context.
School of Data is committed to working with other stakeholders at the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data to bring social change through the meaningful use of data where journalists and activists can make an impact.