Case Study

Innovation in Data Generation for Social Good: Helping communities and saving lives by harnessing data

March 15, 2019

This article highlights case studies which describe different ways in which public sector organizations may harness new, online data sources for social good. This data can more economically and efficiently assist with understanding human behavior, mobility, and environmental patterns in relation to disease outbreaks; and create health promotion campaigns which speak directly to public concerns, yielding higher levels of community engagement.

During the 2014 Ebola crisis, UNICEF worked with the Government of Liberia and Mobile Network operators and used mobile data and UNICEF’s U-Report system to pinpoint high-traffic locations and address key information gaps about the disease and promote prevention measures. UNICEF also worked with Facebook in Brazil to use digital, anonymized insights from Facebook posts to better understand the Zika outbreak in Latin America (e.g.; Brazil) and fundamentally improve how populations become aware of and respond to the outbreak impacting their communities. UNICEF subsequently incorporated the learnings into a data-driven campaign to reach at-risk communities with information that was most useful and engaging for them. Significantly more people who were reached by the campaign reported taking action to protect themselves from Zika as compared to those who did not see the campaign.

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