Data as a building block - first Open Tea

The use of high quality information and data is an important building block for transparency and effectiveness

agenda January 18, 2018

The use of high quality information and data is an important building block for transparency and effectiveness of development cooperation and humanitarian aid. That is why in the late afternoon of January 9th, more than 30 people gathered in the Partos premises for an Open Tea on data informed decision making in development cooperation. How do you gain real insights?

Together with Data4Development, The Spindlse plans to do four open teas in 2018, each hosted by another organisation. Open Teas are open to everyone, and informal gatherings for anyone working on data initiatives in the development sector. For this first Open Tea of 2018, four participants prepared 10-minutes presentations to inspire and challenge the audience:

  • Josje Spiering of The Centre for Innovation of Leiden University told about their program Humanity X. With this program, the University  aims “to enable organisations working in the peace, justice and humanitarian sector to spearhead innovations in order to increase their impact on society”.
  • Maarten Oranje of Cordaid presented their health services project in Ethiopia where they successfully use performance based financing (PFB) to improve the quality of the data submitted by the implementing organisations about the services delivered. He also put a challenge to the audience: How to identify the un-identified? In other words: How can we gather information about the people who do not come to our health institutes, when there is no trustworthy statistics about the local population? Suggestions from the audience included tips to look at the Exclusion Radar, initiated by the Partos Leave no One Behind Platform, Red Cross Missing Maps, UNICEFs U-report, BBC Action).
  • Patrick Guyer of Oxfam Novib shared information about an initiative by the Oxfam Data Lab by which Oxfam collects data about the cost of living in Uganda, by means of an app called CashTime with which families can track their expenditures. His presentation was followed by a discussion on the further development and the pros and cons of such an approach to collect data.
  • Bec Connelly of RNW stressed the importance of well-timed and professionally prepared online surveys when using it as a tool to collect data. She also put a question to the audience: How can we get a whole organisation to become data driven?

The open teas are part of a broader cooperation between Partos and Data4Development, that also includes IATI information meetings and trainings. For more on the contents of the exchanges during this first Open Tea, read the blog written by Rolf Kleef of Data4Development.

Want to join next time?
Do you have an interesting case that you would like to present and have feedback on, or is your organisation willing to host the next open tea? Send an e-mail to Maaike Blom at or Anne-Marie Heemskerk at

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