A recurring question of Ugandan reporters interested in exploring the world of data journalism is this: “Where do I find reliable and accessible data for news?” Enter, the Development Data Hub.
Launched in Kampala on 2 July, 2015, the Development Data Hub is an easy-to-use reference that aggregates data from government, the World Bank, UN and international agencies, and other official research and statistical authorities. With interactive visualisations, factsheets and clean databases, it may fast become an important source for journalists.
Development Initiatives, the international research organisation that built the Hub, said the site is intended to be “a comprehensive online resource for financial and resource flow data. Its introduction to Uganda is part of an effort to “contextualise the access to national and sub-national level data.”
Speaking at the launch, the organisation’s regional director for Africa, Dr Charles Lwanga Ntale, noted that a lot of detail is hidden in so much data that it does not make sense in raw form.
“Data doesn’t mean much until it’s turned into information. Information doesn’t mean much until it’s turned into messages. Messages don’t mean much unless they are turned into policy ideas that become programs that are relevant to the needs of people,” he said.
The ACME team tested the Development Data Hub and found it considerably easier to use that several similar online portals. For instance, with a few clicks, we compared Uganda’s climate change vulnerability, government spending per citizen and resource flows with other countries in the region. We were able, with the help of fact sheets also provided on the site, to make simple primary deductions about public finance priorities that could lead to a number of investigative story ideas.
The Data Development Hub is one in a growing list of great resources journalists can use for data-driven reporting. Others are:
- Uganda Bureau of Statistics
- Data Dot Ug
- World Bank
- The Uganda Budget Website
- Ask Your Gov
- Office of the Auditor General
- Electoral Commission
- ACME’s Online Resource Centre