The dawn of the data revolution has led to a radical shift in how data and information are produced and harnessed for development policy and decision-making. Technology has led to the arrival scene new data sources and new data users on the statistics platform hitherto unknown to or unfamiliar with, traditional official statistics users. Today, several National statistical Offices (NSO) are faced with a challenge of managing exponential growth of the data from non official statistics sources. The central concern however is whether to improve own capacity to manage these sources or ignore them. The non official sources include; big data (telecom data, social media, etc.), citizen generated data (CGD), and an array of other non-official sources. As coordinators of the NSS, NSOs have limited choice. The need for deliberate effort to improve their own capacity in adopting technologically advanced ways of producing, disseminating and using official data cannot be overemphasized. In addition, they must nurture systems that embed standards, quality and interoperability in the data production processes.
The outcome must demonstrate non official sources as complimentary to the traditional official statistics. Given the implications that these new sources have on the national data ecosystem they can neither be ignored nor haphazardly embraced. This means that NSOs have to walk a fine line between building partnerships with these non-official producers and users while ensuring that traditional standards, quality assurance and other hallmarks of official statistics are not compromised.
The Uganda Bureau of Statistics in partnership with some of these players have engaged to address the new data realities in the National Statistical System namely: Engaging non-official data players in the planning processes for national statistics such as the National Strategy for Development of Statistics (NSDS); Building synergies on some pilot projects using these new technologies to determine their efficacy as robust and reliable sources of data; Nurturing creativity and innovation to improve the traditional data sources and initiatives, e.g filling the gap created by the infrequency of surveys and other long periodical data collection processes like censuses with quick, short term measures like mobile phone collected data; Strengthening the NSO’s capacity to leverage technology, coordination and partnerships with the state and non state actors for sustainable and efficient production, dissemination and use official data. This includes using digital tools to collect data, and online portals to publish data, etc.
The NSO therefore can be a champion in the data revolution through its leadership role and coordination role. UBOS with its partners held a High Level National Data Forum in November 2017 which brought together all these stakeholders and discussed how to build synergies for a stronger national data ecosystem.
This Session will bring together stakeholders in Official and non-official data worlds to discuss best practices for partnerships and collaboration, and how to define the role of nonofficial data sources in strengthening the NSS, without compromising quality and integrity of official data.