Data for Decision-Making (D4D)

Advances in information technology are increasing the ability of individuals and organizations to gather and analyze data about themselves, their environments, their work, and their wellbeing. This expanded data capacity has the potential to help groups more effectively create and use data that not only enhance their local development, but also speak to global sustainable development (e.g. the Sustainable Development Goals) and promote more equitable, diverse, and inclusive policy making. With the increasing reliance upon big (and small) data for decision-making, better engagement of individuals at all levels of society as data partners creates opportunities for more meaningful change.

Supporting organizations and communities to more effectively and responsibly use data for decision-making requires a comprehensive approach that provides resources to develop a robust data culture (from stakeholder analysis to data collection, analysis, and use). This should be approached while being intentionally appreciative of local ways of knowing and making decisions. Local and traditional knowledge systems are often effective, well-established, and deeply rooted – but are only recently gaining acceptance in the western scientific community as valid sources of information. However, power dynamics, monetary incentives, and other roots of reduced agency may lead to negative impacts as a result of prioritizing external knowledge over local knowledge. Helping organizations and communities grow data cultures must be done in ways that respect and protect local knowledge systems.

TASCHA’s work in inclusive and locally-relevant data for decision-making (D4D) strives to effectively and responsibly create tools and programs that allow organizations and diverse communities to be more meaningfully engaged in decision-making using data. In particular, we are interested in answering the following types of questions:

  • What are the key needs and cultural and social considerations to meaningfully engage diverse communities and organizations in the design, collection, and use of data that are locally relevant and appropriate for their contexts?
  • How can communities and organizations be supported to better participate in the co-creation of actionable knowledge?
  • How can Indigenous and local knowledge be respectfully integrated into policy decision-making?
  • What are strategies to shift data projects to a more bottom up approach and give communities and local populations the ability to take ownership of the decisions that impact them?

TASCHA’s projects that advance data for decision-making include: