Dataphyte: Deploying data tools and technology for socio-economic development in Nigeria
KEY INDIVIDUAL(s)

Joshua Olufemi

WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM
THIS CASE STUDY

Access to information

Accountability

Government

Open Data

Transparency

KEY CATEGORIES

Policy/decision-makers

Communities

Civic Tech

CONTACT CTIN

CASE STUDY

Dataphyte: Deploying data tools and technology for socio-economic development of Nigeria

TYPE OF ORGANISATION RESPONSIBLE FOR THE INITIATIVE

NAME

EMAIL

WEBSITE

Dataphyte

admin@dataphyte.com

STATUS

COUNTRY

FOUNDING DATE

Live

Nigeria

2020

N/A

BRIEF OVERVIEW OF CASE STUDY

Dataphyte is an independent, data analytics company producing data-driven analyses and development reports with the mission to drive reforms, good governance, and development in Nigeria. Dataphyte is the for-profit, research and development program of The Interactive Initiative for Social Impact.

WHAT WAS THE PROBLEM AND APPROACH?

The Problem

Policy, and development planning is currently based on outdated datasets and often extrapolated estimates. Dataphyte was born out of a need to fill the gap in data accessibility, especially in formats that support governance, policy analysis, and accountability work in Nigeria.

 

The Solution

Dataphyte collates and curates data from diverse sources and transforms these data into machine-readable formats, generates interactive visualisations, and publishes data-driven insights and analysis to fill the gaps. Essentially, the platform provides access to open data useful for journalists, researchers, and civil society analysts. Also, the platform produces compelling data-driven insights that explain trends, relations and present them as intelligent information that policymakers, civil society, and the general population can use to make informed decisions and demand accountability. 

Dataphyte also has innovative ways of breaking down statistical stories for readers and sparking conversations around policies, including “Numbers II Ponder,” a weekly newsletter that extracts and shares important figures from recent news; and data cards, which are straightforward infographics that share essential statistics on population, health, budget and more.

LESSONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

What played out and why? (story, enablers / obstacles, successes / challenges, assessment…)

Joshua Olufemi is the Founder and Publisher of Dataphyte. Joshua Olufemi is a media innovation and development entrepreneur who believes that the media can recreate itself as a viable and sustainable pillar of good governance and global development. 

Olufemi, who has over a decade of experience working in the media, accountability, and open data advocacy sector, resigned from his job as the program director at the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ) to work full-time on the project. He started contemplating the need for a standalone data journalism outfit in 2015, but it did not start taking shape until 2018 when he participated in a five-month fellowship organized by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Dataphyte finally launched the following year and began fully operating in January 2020. 

 

For Olufemi, the NED fellowship presented an opportunity to establish a model data journalism platform in Nigeria inspired by FiveThirtyEight, a U.S.-based establishment that tells compelling stories using statistical analysis. “There is no model that a Nigerian journalist can aspire to,” he said. “We don’t have [a group] who is really doing data journalism for data journalism’s sake. I wanted to fill that gap.” 

As an intervention to data accessibility and governance, Dataphyte was launched to provide the accountability and policy sectors with cleaner, analysed, easily accessible and useable data to drive democracy and development in Nigeria. 

 

What are some of the key lessons? 

Olufemi believes that reporters stand to learn a lot from Dataphyte’s model of data journalism. According to him, data not only allows you to grab the attention of an audience, but it also helps journalists filter through their biases so they can be more objective in their reporting.

“It helps to relate with an intolerant government that believes everything you say is either from the opposition, or because you are anti-progress,” Olufemi said. “Data became a fact-checking tool, but also a safe instrument for accountability. It helps you to present facts, even using government information.” 

RELATED LINKS & DOWNLOADS

NOTE: The case studies submitted will be used in content creation, we will write articles on your work that engages with our readers. The case studies will also be compiled and added to our CTIN database of civic tech case studies and shared through our various channels.

NOTE: The case studies submitted will be used in content creation, we will write articles on your work that engages with our readers. The case studies will also be compiled and added to our CTIN database of civic tech case studies and shared through our various channels.

Follow the Money: Tracking government spending and international aid for rural communities
KEY INDIVIDUAL(s)

Hamzat Lawal

WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM
THIS CASE STUDY

Governments

Policymakers

Women and Children

NGOs

KEY CATEGORIES

Citizen Engagement and Voice

Government

Access to information

Accountability

Transparency

CONTACT CTIN

CASE STUDY

Follow the Money: Advocate, visualize and tracking government spending and international aid for rural communities

TYPE OF ORGANISATION RESPONSIBLE FOR THE INITIATIVE

NAME

EMAIL

WEBSITE

STATUS

COUNTRY

FOUNDING DATE

Live

Nigeria

2014

N/A

BRIEF OVERVIEW OF CASE STUDY

Follow the Money is an anti-corruption civic tech website which uses campaigns driven by hashtags on social media to track community projects. Follow the Money has over 2,000+ members and this year expanded into Kenya and The Gambia. In 2018 it won the One Africa award which came with $100,000 to support their work. Follow the Money activists collect, publish, and visualize data, then connect findings to national and global social media networks in order to bring government attention to crises on the ground that require resources or immediate action. The team has tackled issues like lead poisoning, flood relief, and most recently, education.

WHAT WAS THE PROBLEM AND APPROACH?

The Problem

There is often negligent and lack of transparency from government officials particularly on issues affecting rural communities. Follow the Money was formed as a response to a lead poisoning in Bagega, Zamfara State in Nigeria. Follow the Money team witnessed how children in the community were suffering from specific symptoms, and in some cases had died from the lead poisoning. 

 

The Solution

Follow the Money activists collect, publish, and visualize data, then connect findings to national and global social media networks in order to bring government attention to crises on the ground that require resources or immediate action. Once visualized, the data become a resource for citizens in affected communities to track government expenditures against actual outcomes.

Follow the Money uses Ushahidi, a data management system, to collect, store, and transform the data collected (including via SMS) into tabular, structured data formats.  These data visualizations and findings are translated into local languages, and additional surveys and communications activities take place via offline communities via SMS. 

Follow the Money’s process can be summarized as follows;

  1. Data mining for donor-supported projects and budgetary provisions from procurement boards, tender documents, newspapers, and radio stations.
  2. Ground-truthing – visiting project sites to ascertain implementation status.
  3. Community engagement – facilitation of community outreach activities and town hall meetings where all interested parties: benefiting communities, officials of the government, contractors, community leadership, media, cleric, etc. will converge to discuss project implementation reports and sustainability.
  4. Offline advocacy – with outcomes from outreaches and town hall meetings, Follow the Money writes FOI letters to relevant agencies of the government, letters of complaints or satisfaction and also compiles the community scorecard or petition, where necessary.
  5. Online advocacy – the use of new media helps our team for amplification of core messages and mobilization of citizens for collective action.

Government feedback – the ultimate aim is to extract government’s responsiveness in the form of improvement in service delivery and resolution of conflicts. 

LESSONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

What played out and why? (story, enablers / obstacles, successes / challenges, assessment…)

Following the lead poising in Bagega, the Follow the Money team first documented the needs of the community through interviews, photos, videos, and surveys recorded via mobile devices. The team then used this information to identify and plan how the government could intervene. 

According to Hamzat Lawal Co-founder of Follow the Money, the group monitors announcements of grants and donations for low-income communities, and for transparency, they contact the government, agency, or individuals responsible for the grant to provide a breakdown of how they intend to spend the money.

“We also visit these communities to find out if they have received any funding or palliatives based on the information we get from the donors. We make sure we empower them with information we have on the donation so that they are able to demand accountability from the government or agency involved in the donation”.  

The Follow the Money team is composed of journalist, data wranglers, development consultants, information analyst, legal practitioners and others who are interested in how open data be used to for transparency and accountability.

What are some of the lessons? 

Following the Bagega lead poisoning, data visualizations helped policy makers quickly understand the circumstances and allowed for swift decision-making. In addition to that, the team developed a social media campaign using the hashtag #SaveBagega, which brought the crisis scenario front and centre government officials who were able to channel resources to Bagega.

To read on the work Follow the Money did during the COVID-19 pandemic, read here.

RELATED LINKS & DOWNLOADS

NOTE: The case studies submitted will be used in content creation, we will write articles on your work that engages with our readers. The case studies will also be compiled and added to our CTIN database of civic tech case studies and shared through our various channels.

NOTE: The case studies submitted will be used in content creation, we will write articles on your work that engages with our readers. The case studies will also be compiled and added to our CTIN database of civic tech case studies and shared through our various channels.

The Nigerian Budget: Using Creative Technology to Intersect Civic Engagement and Institutional Reform
KEY INDIVIDUAL(s)

Oluseun Onigbinde

WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM
THIS CASE STUDY

Public Finance Experts
Researchers
Grassroots
Inactive Literate Citizens

KEY CATEGORIES

Accountability
Budget
Government
Institutions
Technology
Transparency

CONTACT CTIN

CASE STUDY

The Nigerian Budget: Using Creative Technology to Intersect Civic Engagement and Institutional Reform

TYPE OF ORGANISATION RESPONSIBLE FOR THE INITIATIVE

STATUS

COUNTRY

FOUNDING DATE

LAST UPDATED

Live

Nigeria

2014

N/A

BRIEF OVERVIEW OF CASE STUDY

This study analyses the efforts of BudgIT, Nigeria’s creative start-up, in making the Nigerian budget simple and accessible to every citizen. This includes its classification of citizens according to their understanding of public finance and its personalised approach in reaching out to them.

In its 53 years of independence, Nigeria, which has an oil-driven economy, has had more than thirty-three years of military rule, which guarded the detailed budget as a state secret. Current efforts in the democratic regime have made both the proposed and enacted budget available to citizens as enabled by law. However, the budget is officially released in a non-readable format. In addition, most citizens have no clear understanding of government finances. BudgIT uses an array of technology tools to simplify the budget for citizens and also works with the civil society and media in data analysis and representation.

BudgIT believes that the amplified voices of citizens based on better access to budgetary data can lead to institutional reform. It also works to improve the capacity of congressional budget offices to enhance budget performance. BudgIT methodology will use refined data mining skill sets to creatively present data and empower citizens to use the information that is available in demanding improved delivery of services.

QUICK FACTS/TAKEAWAYS FROM THE CASE STUDY
  • BudgIT’s website has been visited by over 112,000 unique visitors and our platform has also responded to over 4,000 data requests. Our recent plan is to reaching out to the grassroots using bespoke communication tools such as radio, sms and print documents.
  • We have started this approach using Ekiti State as our pilot project.
    Working with other civic minded organisations, BudgIT distributed over 10,000 copies of simplified budget documents to citizens in Ekiti. Citizens including grassroots leaders and traditional leaders were shocked to see huge budget allocations for their communities.
LESSONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
  • The lack of transparency and accessibility to the Nigerian citizen on the budget led to the emergence of a creative startup named BudgIT. BudgIT initially conceptualised and developed in Nigeria’s foremost technology hub, Co-Creation Hub, has a core goal of making the Nigerian budget simpler and accessible for the average citizen.
  • The availability of budgets in non-readable pdf formats via the government website provided an initial opportunity for BudgIT to stretch forward its innovative idea by simplifying the budgets using infographics and interactive applications. BudgIT with over 4 million web views and over 112,000 unique users believes that active participation in government finance is key to a functional society. Citizens in a clear, timely and transparent manner need to know how government revenues are expended in delivery of public infrastructure, meeting debt obligations or funding the recurrent component of the budget.
RELATED LINKS & DOWNLOADS

NOTE: The case studies submitted will be used in content creation, we will write articles on your work that engages with our readers. The case studies will also be compiled and added to our CTIN database of civic tech case studies and shared through our various channels.

NOTE: The case studies submitted will be used in content creation, we will write articles on your work that engages with our readers. The case studies will also be compiled and added to our CTIN database of civic tech case studies and shared through our various channels.