Mobilizing Youth on Data for Action and Transformation in Africa (MY DATA) Network: An Emerging Community of Practice

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“Mobilizing Youth on Data for Action and Transformation in Africa” (MY DATA), is an emerging network and community of practice that brings together organizations and initiatives working to directly engage and mobilize youth in data generation, advocacy, and leadership to advance the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa by 2030.

Overview

For governments, businesses, universities, and civil society organizations, data is essential to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  In the years to come, data driven decision making and leadership will help local, regional, and global actors drive progress to address critical development challenges, and ensure no one is left behind.  There is an urgent need to cultivate the infrastructure and capacity necessary to meet these growing demands.

The current African youth bulge presents a unique opportunity to leverage the entrepreneurial spirit and drive that many young people exhibit, and mobilize an entire generation towards data generation, use, and decision making.  Such efforts can complement existing initiatives to realize the SDGs while generating new and innovative approaches at the local and regional levels. It will also provide young people an opportunity for civic engagement and involvement in advancing important global and local goals, while fostering the skills they need to expand job opportunities in today’s marketplace.

Addressing the special needs of young people, and engaging them as actors and leaders in advancing sustainable development, is a key part of a strategy to ensure that no one is left behind on the path to sustainable development.  The Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD) has launched the Leave No One Behind (LNOB) Data Collaborative, to catalyze cooperation around the use of data to ensure that advances toward sustainable development reach the most marginalized and vulnerable. The MY DATA Network will be launched as an informal, partner-led effort with the support of the GPSDD LNOB Collaborative.

Approach

SDSN Youth, in collaboration with the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and GPSDD, will convene a network of government, business, civil society, and academic partners working to directly engage and mobilize youth in data generation, advocacy, and leadership to advance sustainable development in Africa by 2030. This multi-sector network will facilitate the creation of a community of practice around mobilizing youth on data for sustainable development through three primary activities:

  1. Regular exchange of knowledge and best practices: Participants will participate in monthly, informal, semi-structured calls connecting network participants from across the data value chain. Calls will facilitate a direct and interactive exchange of best practices, technical assistance, and new concepts while contributing to a shared learning community among network participants. It will provide space for participants to share and disseminate their work and best practices which will benefits other participating organizations through cross learning. As the MY DATA Network develops, additional participant directed opportunities may occur on an ad hoc basis to enhance more engagement.

  2. Exploration of new and emerging collaborations for youth data engagement: Through regular and open discussion of participant needs, pain points, and emerging use cases, MY DATA will create a space for its participants to identify new and existing opportunities for partnerships around shared needs and interests. By facilitating the growth of these partnerships, MY DATA will help its participants connect knowledge to practice while expanding local and regional capacity for youth engagement on data.

  3. Host community resources, knowledge, and expertise online: the experiences and stories of MY DATA participants; a catalogue of new and existing data tools, techniques and their use cases; white papers, case studies, and other participant generated content highlighting best practices; social media presence relevant to African youth, SDGs, and data engagement.

Initial Scope of Work  

The MY DATA network will begin with monthly calls among network participants. Participation will be informal with an agenda determined in advance to allow participants space to present opportunities and requests for collaboration. A mailing list to disseminate meeting agendas and other relevant updates will be established. SDSN Youth and GPSDD will host the MY DATA web page. It is expected that participants will contribute content to this web page and may eventually take a more active role in maintaining this shared resource.

Participation

Sustainable Development Solutions Network Youth (SDSN Youth), in collaboration with PEPFAR and the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD), will jointly facilitate MY DATA activities. Participation will be open to any organization or society, public or private, implementing or interested in exploring initiatives and collaboration around engaging youth directly on data to advance sustainable development.

For more information, contact us at solutions@sdsnyouth.org.