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Ethics of Big Data in practice: Health and Policy research in Africa

Wednesday, 13 January 2016, 12.00pm to 2.00pm

Gathering opinions using interactive radio and SMS in East Africa

Speaker: Dr Claudia Abreu Lopez (Africa's Voices Foundation)
Format of the session: presentation (one hour) and discussion (one hour)

This session will explore the ethical challenges of working with citizen-generated data in the African context, with a particular focus on projects involving radio discussions and data gathering using SMS and digital platforms. We will discuss issues around informed consent, data privacy and modelling security threats using some examples of a community consultation on oil and gas extraction in Turkana, Kenya and a large-scale data gathering on beliefs and misconceptions on polio and routine immunizations in Somalia.

Africa’s Voices Foundation provides detailed insights into the views and priorities of remote, under-served and bottom-of-the-pyramid social groups mainly in East Africa. We work on behalf of social service providers and policymakers to engage communities in inclusive ways on broadcast and new media, such as through local language radio discussions. We then analyse the multitude of conversational data for insights into the community's views and opinions. This unique service enables organisations to build a deeper understanding of target groups, which can be used to design services and evaluate effectiveness.

Background reading:

1. Guide developed by the Responsible Data Forum with best practices and resources for responsible data in development projects:

2. DataShift/Engine Room report on models of collaboration between governments and civil society on citizen-generated data: