Friday, January 31, 2014

Project targets common humanitarian data collection

Jan Piotrowski in Creating a common standard for humanitarian data collection and a shared database or catalogue will be the dual focus of a UN-led project, the Humanitarian eXchange Language (HXL) initiative, whose working group met for the first time last week (20 January).

The year-long project, which is run by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, received funding from the Humanitarian Innovation Fund in November.

By producing guidelines on data type and format, as well as collection methods, the initiative will allow the direct comparison of information from different humanitarian organisations, says David Megginson, head of HXL’s standards efforts.

While standards on how to deliver humanitarian aid exist, the field lacks a coherent system for data management, both in terms of its collection and storage, he tells SciDev.Net. “The problem is there is huge, duplicated effort in data collection and, a few years after the crisis, the information has disappeared,” he says.

HXL’s working group, consisting of representatives of various NGOs and UN and national development agencies, decided to focus on “high-value indicators” that can be compared between different organisations and have a big impact on crisis response efforts, says Megginson....

Oxfam health workers in Dadaab prepare to distribute 7,000 jerry cans and bars of soap to newly arrived refugees who have walked for many days across the desert from Somalia. Shot by Oxfam East Africa, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license 

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