User engagement and Dissemination

User engagement

The evaluation of the MDG project clearly stated the need to put more emphasis on engaging users in the project outputs, and more broadly in how their countries are progressing towards specified national SDG goals and targets. A key aim of this project has therefore been to support countries in the development and implementation of user engagement strategies; prior to the pandemic, a series of in-country workshops were therefore held for this purpose. At the workshop, key elements of communication and user engagement were discussed, and different user groups were brought in to highlight their needs and give positive and negative feedback. This was an eye opener for many of the participants and led to good quality user engagement strategies and more targeted user engagement activities. The materials from these workshops on user engagement are available to support those who wish to run similar events.

In partnership with the UN Statistical Institute for Asia & the Pascific (SIAP), UNSD have used these materials to develop an engaging, interactive e-learning course on user engagement and dissemination. In the course, you'll work as part of a team in the NSO of the fictional country of Esdeegia to help ensure user needs are met and maximise the impact of their statistics on decision making and public debate. This course is due to launch in December 2022.

Complementing the e-learning are several microlearning videos also set in Esdeegia, developed jointly with UNITAR. National Superheroes Office (episode one & episode two) describes issues around trust in statistics and the role of the National Statistical Office in ensuring that data provided quality, reliable, confidential, and based on human rights among other key characteristics of official statistics. NSO Data Concierge highlights the importance of being available to users and responding to their needs, as well as the role the NSO plays in ensuring data quality. All these microlearning videos are suitable for government statisticians, but can also be usefully shared with national users of data, to highlight the value that trusted official statistics can bring.

Given that social media is becoming an increasingly important tool for reaching users of data and statistics, the project has developed a short online course on engaging with users through social media, combining some short videos with a practical exercise to apply the skills that are covered. This course will launch in early November 2022.

The COVID-19 pandemic has provided a particular challenge for user engagement activities by countries, with many of the mechanisms traditionally used for engaging with users of SDG data not feasible in the current situation. A recording of a project webinar focused on user engagement during the pandemic is also available.

Data dissemination and visualisation

One of the key priority areas identified by countries during the pandemic was around the dissemination of information relating to COVID-19, in particular presenting data in an engaging way through reports, infographics, flyers, and other media. However, many countries felt they lacked both the skills and resources (software, royalty-free icons etc.) to do so. The project therefore supported the development of a data visualisation toolkit, containing a set of open-source SDG and COVID-19 related icons, along with a set of templates for a range of outputs, including reports, infographics, social media images and flyers. The toolkit has been designed to be usable with whatever software countries have available for creating the visualisations, whether relatively more advanced tools such as Adobe Illustrator, or more basic ones such as PowerPoint. Also available is the recording and materials from a training workshop delivered alongside its launch.

Together with UNITAR and SIAP, UNSD developed Data Visualisation Contest, another microlearning set in Esdeegia. This video addresses the importance of statistical literacy among the general public as well as the communication of data and statistics to a broad audience.

Two short courses focused on specific aspects of data dissemination for the SDGs have also been developed. The first provides guidance, practice and resources on preparing a media release in order to help increase the impact of official statistics in informing decision making and public debate. The second, which will be launched in November 2022, provides support in developing and holding a successful webinar.