DATA COLLECTION IN FRAGILE STATES Innovations from Africa and Beyond

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DATA COLLECTION IN FRAGILE STATES Innovations from Africa and Beyond

Fragile countries face a triple data challenge. Up-to-date information is needed to deal with rapidly changing circumstances and to design adequate responses. Yet, fragile countries are among the most data deprived, while collecting new information in such circumstances is very challenging. This open access book presents innovations in data collection developed with decision makers in fragile countries in mind. 

Looking at innovations in Africa from mobile phone surveys monitoring the Ebola crisis, to tracking displaced people in Mali, this collection highlights the challenges in data collection researchers face and how they can be overcome.

Without timely and reliable data, development interventions risk being based on anecdotal evidence, with all the risks that come with inadequate planning, poor designs, and ineffective targeting. Quality data are critical for development interventions to be effective but are hard to obtain in situations of violence and conflict. Worse, collecting good data is rarely a priority in situations where urgency trumps being deliberate.

This book offers a welcome reprieve from this habit. The authors care about collecting statistical information and have gone to great lengths to compile data in some of the world’s most challenging circumstances. That they succeeded speaks to their tenacity and ability to think outside the box. Te variety of approaches and solutions discussed means that many practitioners will find something of value in “Data Collection in Fragile Situations.” The book effectively eliminates the notion that data can not be collected in certain difficult circumstances. In doing so, it shifts the paradigm from “there are no data” to “how do we go about collecting data here?”

The book effectively eliminates the notion that data can not be collected in certain difficult circumstances

Two billion people live in countries where development outcomes are affected by Fragility, conflict, and violence (FCV), including many countries in Africa. Moreover, while the global share of the extreme poor living in conflict-affected situations is about 20%, this number is much higher in Africa, around 32%. In fact, nearly 80% of all poor people living in conflict-affected situations reside in Africa.

A better understanding of socio-economic well-being of citizens in such countries as well as measuring the impacts of shocks and conflicts start with better data. Data deprivation is a pressing problem in FCV settings for both decision makers and its citizens, and in particular, for the poor, who often lack voice and agency, and who may remain invisible unless data identify their existence and state of being. The need for reliable data on living conditions in fragile situations is even greater, and yet data deprivation tends to be worse in such contexts. 

This book attempts to address this data challenge. It reflects work carried out by World Bank staf from the Poverty and Equity Global Practice and by others covering our experiences in fragile situations, facing challenges around data collection, mostly in Africa.

Because of the pressing demand for data, there has been significant support for experimentation and innovation around data collection methods. This has allowed us to develop solutions suitable for these contexts, which are often equally relevant for non-fragile settings.

Download the full book here


About the authors

Johannes Hoogeveen is Lead Economist in the Poverty and Equity Global Practice at the World Bank. He combines analytical and strategic work with the implementation of lending operations, and has published academic papers on various topics of relevance to this book including mobile phone surveys, statistics governance, displacement, and the welfare consequences of crises.  

Utz Pape is Senior Economist in the Poverty and Equity Global Practice at the World Bank. He leads teams to design and implement lending projects to improve national statistical systems and to prepare analytical poverty work including poverty assessments, poverty impact studies, and Systematic Country Diagnostics. His work experience in post-conflict countries contributes to his research agenda including the design of methodologies for poverty measurement in fragile settings. 

Citation

“Hoogeveen, Johannes; Pape, Utz. 2020. Data Collection in Fragile States : Innovations from Africa and Beyond. Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan. © World Bank. https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/32576 License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.”