Data for Democracy in Myanmar

As Myanmar continues its dramatic democratic transition, there is an urgent need and opportunity to elevate data and evidence-based decision-making when tackling social challenges. From education and health to employment and civic engagement, the country’s civil society organizations (CSOs) and government are eagerly pursuing large-scale changes for transformative impact. These entities need good data, data analytics capabilities, and tools to make data accessible and usable by a diverse range of stakeholders, including the public. This project, in partnership with the Enlightened Myanmar Research Foundation (EMReF) and the Myanmar Book Aid Preservation Foundation (MBAPF), aimed to build the data capacities of key organizations in the country through the world’s first Tableau Data Fellowship dedicated entirely to governance and democratic participation. Fellows learned — and eventually taught — new methods to collect, manage, analyze, and visualize data, as well as opening up data for sharing publicly in responsible and meaningful ways. In addition, the project sought develop locally-driven tools to support the data environments of organization.

The first phase of this project brought together a cohort of representatives from various government ministries and non-profit organizations to learn new skills and exchange ideas. Through trainings, workshops, and other activities, the cohort addressed data needs, the design of effective data collection methods, data analysis, and the creation of data visualizations that highlight key findings and enable evidence-based decision making. In addition, EMReF conducted a needs assessment of Myanmar’s nonprofit, government, and research organizations to better understand data practices and decision-making behavior.

The second phase of the project provided additional Tableau and data visualization training, while also using findings from the needs assessment to create resources to support Myanmar’s organizations grow in the country’s evolving data environment. The resulting output was a 3-day curriculum designed to build organizational data for decision-making skills. Although tailored for Myanmar’s context, the curriculum was created to be extensible to other locations and groups.

This project was made possible by the generous support of the Tableau Foundation, an initiative led by the employees of Tableau Software that encourages the use of facts and analytical reasoning to solve the world’s problems through fellowships that help nonprofits build data capabilities from the grassroots up.

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