Data and technology hold enormous potential to benefit people, yet barriers and entrenched inequalities continue to hinder data's potential to improve lives.
Far too many people remain excluded from data while others are harmed by their inclusion in it. Existing data is left unused or underused by policymakers. Top-down data governance solutions do not allow space for people to hold those in power accountable. Development agencies collect and use data primarily at the behest of donors, who are often out-of-touch with events on the ground. Data and automated decision making reinforce structural inequalities—largely behind the scenes.
The Data Values Project set out in early 2021 to understand what principles should underpin the future of data for development.
Through consultations with hundreds of people from around the world, consensus emerged on the need to critically examine ways that power is distributed in the production, sharing, and use of data, and in how data use and governance can challenge or exacerbate existing power imbalances.
The results of this consultation include the Data Values white paper, Reimagining Data and Power: A roadmap for putting values at the heart of data, and the #DataValues Manifesto, which outlines concrete steps that anyone can use to advocate for change or spark discussions and change within organizations around the world. In coming months, the Data Values Project will continue to develop resources and share stories of implementing the #DataValues agenda.