Technology Salon

Washington DC

Sponsored by

a discussion at the intersection of technology and development

How We Can Ethically Use Our M&E Results Data

M&E Data

One thread in this year’s excellent MERL Tech conference was the critical questions on data use:

  • How do we balance project needs with policy requirements?
  • How does that affect data collection, structure, and cleaning?
  • Can we still incentivize both at an organizational level?

Ultimately: are we able to generate results data that is usable and are we allowed to use it? It’s the good, bad, and the ugly of results data.

Despite a wealth of fantastic guides to developing project M&E programs, advice on involving local communities, and even just making sure that your data management implementation isn’t just sorting empty indicators but are in fact implemented.

Our November 2017 Technology Salon on blockchain for development, “Can We Ethically Use Our M&E Results Data?“, including comments from:

The top takeaway from our conversation reflect a cautious approach.

  • “Don’t buy screenshots.” That’s one key way to make sure you’re avoiding those initial pitfalls and all those ways to ensure your data management implementation doesn’t turn into a dumpster fire.  But be cautious  not to let that get out of hand.  Certain teams should offer ideas and leadership rather than inviting everyone to contribute feature requests.  Otherwise this is what you could end up with… well, something unexpected.
  • Convene with a purpose. How many times do we need to convene practitioners to agree data silos exist and more communication is required? Let’s be more decision-driven than data-driven. Development Gateway’s problem-driven, iterative, and adaptive approach (PDIA) offers useful insights into helping engagements be more inclusive, such as their recent work in Tanzania.
  • And are our data collection practices a form of human experimentation? Yes, that sounds pretty extreme but there is a body a law that says it may be a form of this and that requires a lot of caution we need to all more carefully consider. io is helping think through this and so much more on civic trusts.
  • But how can we start right now? Stay tuned to tech that can help with “exercises, workshop techniques, research methods and tips for facilitators to help you understand your audience and use evidence in their work.”

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