2017 Global Chapter Summit Recap

Last month we hosted our 4th Annual Global Chapter Summit where we were joined by Chapter Leaders from across our global network.  A natural part of networks is dynamic change, especially when you have a network full of such active and amazing volunteers. Year over year we get to greet both familiar and new faces and this year was no exception.  We are thrilled to welcome eight new leaders to DataKind’s Chapter Network:

DataKind Bangalore: Deepthi Chand Alagandula, Jayant Pahuja

DataKind DC: Aimee Barciauskas, William Ratcliff

DataKind Singapore: Arrchana Muruganantham, Neil Shah

DataKind UK: Joe Harris, Michelle Lee, Mike Taylor

We were excited by the almost uncontainable energy at the summit, and the new ideas brought forth by both our newly joined Chapter Leaders and seasoned DataKinders alike. Together we shared (and learned from!) some failures, brought forward insights about volunteer engagement, took a deeper dive into project selection to enhance processes, discussed leadership structure within each chapter to identify best practices that can be applied across the globe, and recommitted to DataKind’s mission to use data science and AI, ethically and capably, to create a sustainable planet in which all have access to their basic human needs. It is this melding of knowledge, experience and enthusiasm that really allows our network to continue to thrive and grow.

The work we do at DataKind isn’t driven by just one person, but is accomplished by an exchange between people, the practiced process with individuals who are not afraid to question why something must be done one way and not another. It’s this rigor, alongside our value of humility, that helps the work we do flourish across the boundaries of issue areas and expertise.

Through many spirited debates and stimulating discussions, fun banter and bonding, the summit solidified the relationships that will help propel us into greater alignment and impact for 2018 and beyond.

Thank you to all our Chapter Leaders for joining us from around the world and taking the time to participate, share learnings from the past year, and help build strategies to move our work forward. A special thanks as well to our friends at Teradata for their generous sponsorship of the Chapter Summit and commitment to supporting this global movement.

We look forward to another exciting year for DataKind and continuing to come together, as we did at the summit, in service of who we can be when we work together – and ultimately the collaborative impact we can achieve for the greater good.


Source: DataKind – 2017 Global Chapter Summit Recap

DataKind Advances to the Next Round of $5 Million AI XPRIZE Competition

DataKind has been named one of the top ten teams in the IBM Watson AI XPRIZE challenge, a four-year, $5 million, global competition to use AI technologies to tackle the world’s greatest challenges.

Our challenge for this competition is focused on poverty alleviation and builds off a project started at a DataDive with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation using satellite imagery to combat crop disease in Ethiopia. There are multiple phases within this project and each focuses on a different issue area, though all ultimately are linked to poverty alleviation. The first phase focuses in on fighting crop disease, which in places like Ethiopia, where a majority of the population’s livelihood is reliant on agriculture, it can decimate local economies. If these communities could know ahead of time, if and when, their crops were at risk for disease, measures to intervene can be taken more quickly to reduce crop loss and prevent spread of the disease. Our hope is to create a model that would provide real-time information on crop disease to support the creation of enhanced early warning systems. The intention is to also create a model that could easily be scaled and transferred to other regions.

In January, we applied to be part of the competition, along with 10,000 others, and, in March, learned we would be one of 147 teams selected to participate in the competition. Today it was announced 59 teams will be moving forward to the next round of the competition and we’re honored to be among the top ten.

We look forward to our continued work with the AI XPRIZE community, comprised of experts /authorities in the field of AI, machine learning and and data science, as well as many of our esteemed peers and colleagues looking to use data and technology to help improve the world.

Stay tuned for more updates and learn more about AI XPRIZE.



Source: DataKind – DataKind Advances to the Next Round of Million AI XPRIZE Competition

Democratic Freedom DataDive Capacity

This weekend, we’ll be hosting a Democratic Freedom DataDive in New York in partnership with Omidyar Network and the Knight Foundation. Together, we’ll be working with three organizations focused on promoting government transparency, affordable housing and combating extreme hate groups. Because we may have a full house this weekend, please continue to check this blog for the latest updates on event capacity if you are local and planning to attend!

We’ll update the text below and the image above to let you know if we’re full or if we still have room for more DataDivers to attend. 





What’s this DataDive all about?

Advances in data science, machine learning and predictive technologies offer organizations working to protect democratic freedoms unprecedented opportunities to leverage data to achieve their mission, scale their work and help build a more just and equitable world. In response to recent discourse and policy in the U.S. targeting vulnerable groups and threatening our democratic institutions, we’re hosting a DataDive in partnership with Omidyar Network and the Knight Foundation, with support from Bloomberg, DataRobot, American Airlines and Neonto. This DataDive aims to support the work of the organizations below working to promote democratic freedoms in the U.S. Here’s a sneak peek at the projects we’ll be working on:

  • Center for Responsive Politics, Financial Disclosures
    Develop a process to identify nuanced patterns in politicians’ personal financial disclosures, making this information more valuable to political journalists and public watchdogs who track these activities.
  • Center for Responsive Politics, Political Ads
    Track when special interests purchase political ads in order to create an open, public tracking tool for newsrooms around the country.
  • Los Angeles Mayor’s Office
    Identify illegal housing conversions in service of protecting vulnerable tenants. 
  • Southern Poverty Law Center
    Develop a methodology to measure volume and interest in hate content online and monitor how effectively hate sites are exploiting Google Search.

Learn more about DataKind’s focus on using data science to promote democratic freedoms.

Source: DataKind – Democratic Freedom DataDive Capacity

Data Science Protecting Democratic Freedoms in the U.S.

Advances in data science, machine learning and predictive technologies offer organizations working to protect democratic freedoms unprecedented opportunities to leverage data to achieve their mission, scale their work and help build a more just and equitable world. In response to recent discourse and policy in the U.S. targeting vulnerable groups and threatening our democratic institutions, we’re launching five new DataCorps projects and will be hosting a DataDive focused on these important issues.  

With the support of the Omidyar Network, Knight Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation, and other funders, DataKind will be partnering with inspiring groups across the country to help combat online harassment, improve resources for undocumented immigrants, protect environmental government data, ensure fair access to voting in California, detect deceptive speech from politicians and more. Read below to learn more about these long-term DataCorps projects as well as our upcoming November DataDive in New York, where we’ll be working with three organizations focused on promoting government transparency, affordable housing and combating extreme hate groups.  

Get involved!
Join us in supporting democratic freedoms and civil liberties in the U.S. East Coast volunteers, apply to help combat deceptive political speech with the Knight Foundation or register for our New York DataDive this November.

DataKind is currently looking for partners and donors to support the projects below and our democratic freedom work overall. Please contact magdalen@datakind.org to learn more. 

Data Infrastructure and AI To Combat Online Harassment

Online SOS
Volunteer team: Eric Chen, Ankit Gupta, Anil Muppalla, Daniel Pedraza, William Sheffel

Online harassment can take on many forms –  threats of violence, extortion, sexual harassment, impersonation, or releasing of personal details or intimate images – and often occur without consequence. Despite the internet’s ubiquity, not all online harassment activities may be criminal offenses and it can be difficult to navigate the dizzying array of statutes across jurisdictions. Social networks like Facebook and Twitter place the onus of reporting and proving abuse onto the abused, asking the victim to list incidences of past events that might be painful and triggering.

Online SOS is a team of mental health, business, and tech professionals concerned about the state of online spaces, particularly online harassment. They exist to provide help to those in crisis or recovery from online harassment as quickly as possible, with the least amount of emotional distress, through professional support. Online SOS is now working with a team of DataKind volunteers to scale their services by integrating AI and data science best practices to its existing chatbot. The chatbot, which functions as the frontlines of the intake process, would leverage AI to intelligently interpret incoming user requests and offer customized support. In addition, Online SOS is looking for a sustainable framework to store data, track client progress and interventions, and other programmatic information that would help them refine their offerings and understanding their effectiveness.  

Improving Access to Resources for Undocumented Immigrants

Immigration Advocates Network
Volunteer team: Audrey Ariss, Andrea Bonilla, Hans Fricke, Dora Heng, Rajesh K Metha, Clarissa Salazar

Of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, nearly 15% (more than 1.5 million) are likely eligible for existing immigration benefits; however, many are simply not aware that legal relief is available. 

Immigration Advocates Network (IAN) is a collaborative effort of leading immigrant rights organizations designed to increase access to justice for low-income immigrants and strengthen the capacity of organizations serving them. IAN promotes more effective and efficient communication, collaboration, and services among immigration advocates and organizations by providing free, easily accessible, and comprehensive online resources and tools. A core program of IAN is immi.org (immi) – an online plain-language screening tool and information hub in English and Spanish. Immi helps immigrants understand if they qualify for existing immigration options, such as asylum, family-based immigration, relief for victims of crimes, and more. It also helps immigrants understand their rights, become better consumers of legal services, avoid fraud, and find free or low-cost legal assistance from trusted nonprofits.

IAN is now working with its volunteer team to use annonymous data from the screening tool, website, and other sources alongside demographic and census data to better understand the impact of immi and more effectively outreach to immigrant communities. This will be accomplished by identifying opportunities to optimize user paths and assessing where there are gaps in access to resources for immigrants.

Filtering and Classification to Automate the Protection of Environmental Government Data

Environmental Data Governance Initiative
Volunteer team: Karthik Balasubramanian, Ryan Connor, Ryan Coughlin, Anuja Kelkar, Anna FitzMaurice, Taimur Sajid, Abhinandan Seshadri

United States federal environmental and energy policies, information, and data are facing threats of revision, reduction, and removal. Eliminating or weakening the infrastructure that houses the data and that publicizes the policies has a profound impact on the public’s “right to know,” the United States’s scientific leadership, and many measures of environmental protection.

The Environmental Data Governance Initiative (EDGI) is a network of academics and nonprofits building resources and capacity to proactively archive this vital data and ensure sustained public accessibility to federal energy and environmental information. EDGI has built a tremendous network of volunteers that analyze millions of web pages for daily changes and contribute to longitudinal data tracking and analysis. While EDGI’s current processes have yielded impressive results, they are difficult to scale. EDGI is now working with its volunteer team to to build a filtering system using machine learning that can automate change tagging and classification, greatly increasing EDGI’s efficiency. As a second deliverable, the team will create a dashboard or simple reporting tool to help the organization quickly identify and communicate key statistics to stakeholders.


Help Ensure Fair Access To Voting In California

California Civic Engagement Project
Volunteer team: Frances Lu, Tom Marthaler, Quynh Nguyen, John Zenk, Carol Zhang 

In September 2016, the California State Senate passed SB450, the California Voter’s Choice Act. This legislation allows select counties in 2018 to choose to adopt a new voting system. This new model enables counties to mail every registered voter a vote-by-mail ballot which the voter can mail in, drop off at a secure ballot box, or drop off at a newly established Vote Center. At Vote Centers, voters can cast their ballots in person, drop off their vote-by-mail ballots, access same-day voter registration, receive replacement ballots, and access additional services.

The goal of this project is to minimize the difficulty for election officials in selecting equitable locations for vote centers and vote-by-mail drop boxes, and to reduce the likelihood that historically disenfranchised groups are not disproportionately negatively affected by where vote centers are placed.

California Civic Engagement Project (CCEP), housed at the UC Davis Center for Regional Change, is collaborating with DataKind to ensure that historically disenfranchised groups are not disproportionately negatively affected by a new voting policy in California. They are collaborating with DataKind’s volunteers to create a user-friendly tool to help government officials locate the best areas to place vote-by-mail drop boxes and vote centers to ensure there is fair access to voting for all, identifying areas where vote-by-mail drop boxes and vote centers would have the most success (i.e., attract the most voters while minimizing any potential disenfranchisement).


Use Deep Learning to Identify Deceptive or Uninformed Political Statements

Duke Reporters’ Lab
Currently recruiting for East Coast volunteers! Apply >

News organizations like PolitiFact, FactCheck.org, and The Washington Post routinely fact-check political speeches and advertisements, but the time-consuming reporting process means journalists and voters cannot immediately tell when a politician is uninformed or deceiving constituents.

While completely automated fact-checking is still a work in progress, multiple subject matter experts we’ve consulted have said that automating the process for identifying patterns of deceptive speech is a step in that direction. That’s why DataKind is partnering with the Duke Reporters’ Lab and the Knight Foundation to use the power of predictive technology to accelerate the fact-checking process in service of combating deceptive speech from politicians. We’re now recruiting a DataCorps team to build a deep learning model that can score a speech or advertisement on deception, misinformation and uninformed statements to help journalists and organizations prioritize what to fact-check so that they can more quickly inform the public about a candidate’s deceptive or uninformed behavior and ultimately hold candidates immediately accountable for what they say.

Interested in joining the team?  Learn more and apply >


New York, join us for a weekend DataDive!

DataKind will be hosting its second DataDive in New York this year November 10-12. Held in partnership with Omidyar Network and the Knight Foundation, with support from Bloomberg, DataRobot, and American Airlines, the DataDive will focus on promoting democratic freedoms in the U.S. Work alongside fellow New York City data do-gooders and experts from the organizations below:

  • Center for Responsive Politics, Financial Disclosures
    Develop a process to identify nuanced patterns in politicians’ personal financial disclosures, making this information more valuable to political journalists and public watchdogs who track these activities.

  • Center for Responsive Politics, Political Ads
    Track when special interests purchase political ads in order to create an open, public tracking tool for newsrooms around the country.

  • Los Angeles Mayor’s Office
    Identify illegal housing conversions in service of protecting vulnerable tenants. 
  • Southern Poverty Law Center
    Develop a methodology to measure volume and interest in hate content online and monitor how effectively hate sites are exploiting Google Search.

All skill levels welcome – just bring your laptop, maybe a friend, and desire to make an impact. RSVP today >

Source: DataKind – Data Science Protecting Democratic Freedoms in the U.S.

Mapping Lawful Permanent Residents with the Immigrant Legal Resource Center

Guest blog by Ozzie Liu, DataKind DataCorps Volunteer & Senior Analyst at Casper 

I recently volunteered with DataKind and had the chance to lead a team of fellow volunteer data scientists on a six-month long pro-bono project for the Immigrant Legal Resource Center’s (ILRC) New Americans Campaign to analyze and visualize the demographics and geography of lawful permanent residents eligible for naturalization, allowing Campaign partners to be more effective in their outreach and naturalization work.

I’m always interested in using my data science skills to make a difference in the community around me. So when I heard about DataKind’s mission to harness the power of data with impactful projects to solve social and humanitarian problems, I knew I wanted to be part of it! In the fall of 2016, I had the opportunity to work on a project with the ILRC to help immigrant communities pursuing U.S. citizenship receive legal assistance to aid in the process. As a second generation immigrant, this topic is near and dear to my heart. I have family members that have been long time green card holders but never took the step in applying for citizenship, which means  they are missing out on possible civic engagement and additional benefits. Moreover, the new administration’s stance against immigrant groups has made this work even more urgent.

The Partners: ILRC and New Americans Campaign

The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) works with immigrants, community organizations, legal professionals, law enforcement, and policy makers to build a democratic society that values diversity and the rights of all people. The ILRC’s mission is to protect and defend the fundamental rights of immigrant families and communities. Led by the ILRC, the New Americans Campaign is a diverse nonpartisan national network of respected immigration organizations, legal services providers, faith-based organizations, immigrant rights groups, foundations and community leaders. The Campaign transforms the way aspiring citizens navigate the path to becoming new Americans. It is committed to connecting lawful permanent residents (LPRs) to trusted legal assistance and critical information that simplifies the naturalization process.

The Goal

The ILRC wanted to be able to visualize the geographic and demographic makeup of LPRs that are eligible for naturalization so that New Americans Campaign partners could identify those that might require the Campaign’s assistance.

The Data

There is a good amount of data around immigrants and LPRs in the U.S. including sources such as:

There are also several research organizations who work extensively with this immigrant population, and their work was tremendously helpful to our project. These partners include:

Although much of the data around immigrants and LPRs is public and available to the ILRC and its partners, it is not easy to navigate the many disparate websites or download large spreadsheets of numbers. We wanted to help make this information more accessible to the organizations that are serving this immigrant community.

Our team leveraged the excellent research that has already been done by CMS and CSII, which estimates the demographic and characteristics of immigrant populations at a detailed geographic level using PUMA. We then compared this with the New Americans Campaign’s internal data to gauge the effectiveness of past outreach and to find new opportunities for local partners.

Visualizing LPRs

After cleaning and wrangling the data, we started the visualization process. We wanted to develop an easy-to-use map that would show the appropriate characteristics of lawful permanent residents in corresponding PUMA area. Once we converted our data with PUMA’s shape files into a GeoJSON, we were able to create a visualization using D3.js. The resulting map, shown above at the start of this post, depicts the number of lawful permanent residents (LPRs) by PUMA. Locations in which there are brighter colors represent more LPRs.

Next, we attempted to add functionality and usability to the map using an off-the-shelf platform such as CARTO:

Interactive map of Spanish speakers and education levels using CARTO

We extensively tested tools such as CARTO, Mapbox, and Tableau that generated great looking visualizations, but we were concerned about the maintenance cost to the partner and the limitation of free tier levels that require opening up the Campaign’s internal data to the public. With help from DataKind’s in-house team of data scientists, we were able to develop a fully functional web app that uses Leaflet.js to serve as an interactive map that looks great and is flexible.

Interactive map and tool showing LPRs, in the NYC metro area, with a Bachelor degree or higher

Above is the final version of the app that we provided to the ILRC and New Americans Campaign partners. The left hand side is an interactive map that shows the raw number of LPRs given a selected characteristic by PUMA areas. On the right is a detailed view of each characteristic of the selected areas.

Wrapping up

After the project was completed, I had the chance to join Campaign partners in Chicago for the national New Americans Campaign Conference, where I led three workshops to unveil and demo the tool we had developed to all the attendees. I encouraged everyone to get out their laptops and smartphones, and actually play with the map as I presented the features. We then discussed the ways this tool could potentially help Campaign partners be more effective.

Me leading a live demo of the tool at the 2017 New Americans Campaign Conference in Chicago

Potential Impact

The feedback from the partners after the workshops was overwhelmingly positive (I even got some hugs). For some, this was the first time that the data was presented in a way that they could both understand and immediately use.

Together we brainstormed some of the ways that this tool could help the partners:

  • Now that areas where certain demographics and characteristics were once unclear, were now apparent, more targeted and effective outreach could be planned. One partner in Florida had planned to make a 6-hour roundtrip drive, twice a week, to be able to reach out to a specific immigrant group in the area. After using the map at the workshop, he discovered that a population with the same demographics he wanted to reach out to existed just 30 minutes away from his office.
  • Partners could use this tool to better prepare for offsite events or office visits, target outreach and plan necessary resources. For example:
    • Partners would be able to know in advance if they are serving an area where there is not a high-level of fluency in English, so that they could have translators on site.
    • Partners could identify LPRs that are younger and more computer savvy, and introduce them to Citizenshipworks, a “TurboTax” like program that can expedite the naturalization application form-filling process.
    • Partners could find LPRs that have lower income, as they may qualify for a fee-waiver.
    • Partners could develop more strategic planning to expand to new areas and seek funding.

It’s been a wonderful experience for our DataCorps team to work with the ILRC and I am very excited to see how the New Americans Campaign partners will use our tool to advance their work!

Source: DataKind – Mapping Lawful Permanent Residents with the Immigrant Legal Resource Center

An Open Source Tool for Disaster Relief

(Source for Above Map)

During their March DataDive, DataKind DC and Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) partnered to create a map to help support the organization’s efforts  for disaster assistance to individuals and families before, during, and after a tragedy hits.  

CCUSA provides the holistic and compassionate care needed to help individuals impacted by disaster recover and move forward. They wanted to create a map to better target mitigation, preparedness, relief and recovery projects in order to best serve communities that are both at greatest risk for disasters, most overlooked, and/or are ineligible for FEMA assistance.

DataKind DC used the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Social Vulnerability Index and a proprietary natural disaster dataset (generously donated by ATTOM Data Solutions) to develop this map using Mapbox, R, and D3.js. Version 1.0 was released this past August, just in time to help understand vulnerable populations in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

Understanding Vulnerable Populations and Hurricane Harvey

The map showed that Houston, along with many of the counties in Hurricane Harvey’s path are socially vulnerable, in particular the eight counties along the coastline where Texas issued mandatory evacuations. Every single one of these counties were found to be at least in the 80th percentile for Crowding as well as the 80th percentile for Speak English Less than Well, meaning that these counties are more vulnerable than at least 80 percent of other counties across the United States with respect to each of those two categories.

The majority of the population in most of the counties are also primarily Minorities, Single Parent Households, and Aged 17 and Under, again in at least the 80th percentile for each of these categories/demographics. In addition, Aransas County is in the 96th percentile for populations Aged 65 and Over and the 93rd percentile for Disability. Understanding these percentiles helps local relief agencies provide the assistance needed for their particular community. For example, if the community is in a high percentile for Speak English Less than Well, it is critical to identify the primary languages and find volunteers who are fluent in those languages for any community outreach.

Houston shows similar vulnerable areas, but many of the census tracts within Harris County are particularly vulnerable with Socioeconomic Status and Minority Status/Language. 34 census tracts are in the 90th percentile for at least 9 of the 15 different categories of vulnerability. The most vulnerable census tracts are in extremely high percentiles for the following categories: Aged 17 and Under, Below Poverty*, No High School Diploma, Minority, and Crowding.

While the coastal counties seem to be especially vulnerable when it comes to transportation and communication concerns, Houston has many people that will be susceptible to post-hurricane issues, such as receiving aid for rebuilding their homes and returning to their lives.

*Below Poverty is the percentile of persons below the poverty line. A higher percentile indicates a greater number of people below the poverty line.

Our Partners

Working with CCUSA has been a wonderful and inspirational experience. The map has already been used to help local relief agencies better identify and understand social vulnerability in their communities to inform planning around disaster response. With the unforgiving weather and devastating events the world has experienced in this year alone, from the earthquakes in Mexico to the hurricanes in the Atlantic and the wildfires in the West, we’re hoping that this open source tool will be able to help the CCUSA and other organizations reach and support even more individuals and communities in need.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, local relief agencies wanted to use this map to help efforts in Puerto Rico as well. Thanks to a quick response from the team and our partners at MapBox, we were able to update the map in a few hours to include coverage of Puerto Rico. It is projects like this, with the potential to save lives and improve welfare, that really drive and motivate our volunteers to be their best.

If you’d like to support the communities impacted by Hurricanes Irma, Harvey and Maria, donate here. A hundred percent of the funds raised will go directly towards disaster relief efforts.


Source: DataKind – An Open Source Tool for Disaster Relief

DataKind Singapore's DataDive on Philanthropic Giving and Volunteerism

Hot on the heels of our April DataDive, DataKind Singapore hosted its third DataDive in late August for National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC). We were a cozy group of around 30 volunteers who worked together to help NVPC gather actionable insights for its Giving.sg platform.

About National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC)

NVPC promotes a giving culture in Singapore by inspiring more volunteerism and philanthropy. NVPC hosts Giving.sg, a one-stop platform for local nonprofits and those looking to give back. On Giving.sg, organizations create campaigns to raise funds or recruit volunteers, while donors can find ways to contribute to causes they care about and volunteers can find meaningful ways to donate their time and skills.

Choy Yee Mun, Assistant Director of NVPC says, “the group of DataKind volunteers have been one of the most passionate and professional group of volunteers I have met. They have provided us with numerous useful and actionable insights and recommendations, which we will either be implementing or continuing in further projects with DataKind.”

Analyzing Browsing History

Previously, NVPC had created donor profiles and volunteer profiles based on Giving.sg user accounts. In the DataDive, we hoped to use Google Analytics data to develop personas based on browsing history for website visitors that have not created an account to volunteer or donate.

We looked at the browsing history of visitors with Giving.sg user accounts to see if the causes they browsed on Giving.sg matched those they had declared in their user profiles, but we didn’t find much overlap. One idea for future analysis post-DataDive would be to infer cause preference based on the number of cause pages clicked and the amount of time spent on those pages. With that information, we could derive which segments are interested in which causes. 

We also found a few thousand cases where users that had initially created a Giving.sg account and volunteered or donated would then revisit the platform within three months, but forget their password and stop using the platform entirely. One actionable insight for NVPC to consider is re-engaging these affected users.

By analyzing visitors’ browsing paths between the pages, we found that most visitors tend to follow the same paths from the homepage to the volunteer page. An onboarding process could be introduced to guide new users step by step and propose other possible user journeys on the website. We also found that ~75% of the users re-login after 16 days, so this might be a potential insight for electronic direct mail marketing.

Finally, we have also made recommendations on future Google Analytics data to extract for analysis.

Analyzing Campaign Effectiveness

NVPC had also wanted to look into factors associated with campaign successes so we reviewed all the data available on the various platforms. We tried to focus our efforts on three areas – organization reputation, campaign descriptions, and individual users’ browsing history from Google Analytics. 

We found interesting relationships between certain campaign variables and their eventual success. In campaigns where a personal story was shared, we found that stories related to hospices, elderly care and disabilities (topics 6 and 12 in the chart above) tend to receive a larger donation.

In addition, campaigns with customized impact messages tend to draw a higher median donation. This may be because custom messages give donors a more specific and transparent view of how exactly their donation will be used.

We also looked at the effect of the campaign duration, but found some inconsistencies in the available data. An idea for future work with NVPC could be to build models that could predict the success of a campaign prior to its launch so campaign creators could build and enhance it to achieve their desired funding goal.


It’s A Wrap! Get Involved with DataKind Singapore

A huge thanks to everyone that participated in the DataDive helping NVPC better engage potential donors and volunteers. If you’re local, we’d love to see you at the next DataDive or Meetup. Sign up to get involved!

Source: DataKind – DataKind Singapore’s DataDive on Philanthropic Giving and Volunteerism

DataKind Bangalore’s Third DataDive: Charting Success in Social Good

DataKind Bangalore’s third DataDive was indeed special in many ways. First, it brought together four mission-driven nonprofits with a diverse set of interests—from human rights to healthcare to education. Second, data visualization was the predominant theme of the event. And, most importantly, this was the biggest DataDive ever in Bangalore with more than 120 participants. Read on to learn more about the most anticipated event of the year at DataKind Bangalore.

Advancing Maternal Health with Antara Foundation

A prototype of the map of health centers in the block of Kishanganj, Rajasthan, grouped by the health indicators of pregnant women and infants.

Started in 2013, Antara Foundation promotes maternal and infant health. They built a network of healthcare workers in the state of Rajasthan to deliver timely medical assistance to new and expectant mothers in rural corners. Powered by three groups of frontline workers, Antara accelerates the reach of maternal care in several districts.

To better utilize all the data collected by its frontline workers and track changes in periodically updated data, Antara partnered with DataKind Bangalore. The goal of this collaboration was to create meaningful dashboards to group rural health centers by the health indicators of pregnant women and infants, analyze gaps in health centers, identify locations that need immediate medical attention, and track changes in key indicators.

Team Antara: The eight-member team sliced, diced, and trimmed the data set for use with interactive dashboards and maps.

Our team of volunteers started with a sample data set and data dictionary. At the DataDive, we were able to identify data discrepancies, trim the data set, and define the boundary of each village. We are now on our way to building the first prototype of dashboards based on Node.js and Geojson, and we look forward to continuing work with Antara to help them predict and prepare for high risk pregnancies and better immunization for children.

“I got an outsider’s perspective on how all the data can be used.”

Harsh Vardhan Sahni, Antara Foundation


Helping CHRI Monitor the Spread of Legal Aid

A prototype of the interactive map that will help CHRI track the spread of legal aid in India

Since 1987, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) has been championing the cause of right to information and justice. Headquartered in New Delhi, India, this nonprofit sought DataKind Bangalore’s help to create an enhanced, data-driven reporting tool to monitor the availability of legal aid across Indian states.

One of CHRI’s prime objectives is to ensure free access to legal aid for all Indian citizens, as mandated by the state. DataKind Bangalore’s expertise in data visualization helped in building a prototype of an interactive map with CHRI’s data that displays the availability of different types of legal resources in each state—with an option to perform comparative analysis.

Team CHRI—a group of expert mentors and passionate newbies—is set to mark another milestone in DataKind Bangalore’s growing expertise in data visualization. 

DataKind Bangalore’s volunteers are excited about all the progress made at the DataDive, including a thematic regrouping of the data and wireframes of the interactive map, and look forward to continued collaboration with CHRI.

“I have understood the whole process of transforming raw data into a visual map.”
— Raja Bagga, CHRI



Building a Scorecard for Assessing the Quality of Education

Prototype of dashboards showing performance of schools in different districts.

Karnataka Learning Partnership (KLP) is dedicated to developing a public platform for all the stakeholders involved in the cause of providing access to education in the state of Karnataka. A long-time partner of DataKind Bangalore, KLP wanted to assess the quality of public primary education by analyzing the data collected from three different sources—feedback from the community, result of contests held at rural towns, and district-level data available on the DISE portal.

Our volunteers took on the challenge of exploring the data and determining how each school, village, and district can be compared. At the DataDive, the initial phase of data exploration started with the help of Superset—an intuitive data exploration and visualization tool.

 Team KLP members are all smiles after a productive weekend of data exploration.

Our volunteers are now busy building comprehendible dashboards that will give KLP the complete flexibility to compare performance indicators across multiple schools in Karnataka. 

“This year’s DataDive presented a great opportunity to learn Python and Superset.”
—  Arpita Panda, DataKind volunteer for KLP


Helping Pollinate Energy Identify Urban Poor Communities

Sample map of Bangalore highlighting urban poor communities

Pollinate Energy is passionate about improving the quality of life in urban poor communities with the help of innovative, affordable products like Sunking Home—an environmental friendly solar-powered lamp—and Envirofit Cookstove—an efficient cooking appliance that runs on clean fuels. 

Pollinate Energy partnered with DataKind Bangalore to address the challenge of detecting various urban poor communities in Bangalore via satellite images and other data proxies.

Pollinate Energy was using Google Maps to identify urban poor settlements, but this was a manual, time-consuming process that was challenging due to duplicate data and a lack of validation mechanism.

At the DataDive, our volunteers identified two different approaches to addressing the challenges:

  • Scanning satellite images for markers that indicate the presence of urban poor communities
  • Using geocoding to perform an exploratory data analysis

Geocoding and transfer learning with a bit of computer visionteam Pollinate shakes it all up. 

With satellite images, the team used computer vision techniques to extract the HSV format of the images, and then applied thresholds on the resulting images to highlight the areas that contain specific markers of urban poor communities.  

For the exploratory data analysis, the team used the undersampling technique to weed out affluent neighborhoods. The findings from this analysis will help Pollinate Energy expand its operation in Bangalore. 


“It was amazing to explore state-of-the-art architectures in deep learning at this DataDive.”
—  Ashwin Vasan, DataKind volunteer for Pollinate Energy


Thank You

This year’s DataDive was made possible by our enthusiastic volunteers, mission-driven nonprofit partners, and ThoughtWorks—our venue sponsor. Here is a note of thanks to all of you!

Join us

We would love to see you at our events! If you’re local, join our Meetup to get involved and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates and announcements.

Source: DataKind – DataKind Bangalore’s Third DataDive: Charting Success in Social Good

October Webinar: Fighting Corruption in the Extractives Industry

 Photo credit: JB Bodane

What if we could use satellite imagery to automatically detect illegal mining from afar or use anomaly detection to flag contracts that differ from standard ones and may include potentially unfair or questionable language? Until now, the dominant use of data in the extractives industry has been reserved for descriptive and summary analytics, but new opportunities to leverage more advanced techniques like machine learning and artificial intelligence are just emerging thanks to the groundwork laid by Omidyar Network investees and others.

During our quarterly Learning Out Loud webinars, we’ll share insights uncovered on projects currently underway with Omidyar Network investees to leverage data science in the fight against corruption in the extractives industry.

Learning Out Loud Webinar #1

Get caught up on our first webinar above, then join us for our second in October where we’ll be sharing our learnings exploring datasets and prototyping data science solutions aimed at improving transparency in the extractives industry.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017
8am Pacific / 11am Eastern
Register >

All are welcome – please share with anyone you think may be interested!

Source: DataKind – October Webinar: Fighting Corruption in the Extractives Industry

Leveraging Tableau in DataKind Projects

Data visualization is a key step in many of our projects. As our founder and executive director Jake Porway says in this SSIR piece on data storytelling, “the true power of data comes from conveying the ‘so what’ behind the numbers, inspiring people to probe new questions, and using it for rigorous statistical inquiry.”

In addition to its general support of DataKind, the Tableau Foundation also generously grants DataKind a certain number of licenses to use Tableau software on their projects and our volunteers have used around the world for everything from helping organizations reach more children in need, understand homelessness or even fight crime.

Delving into Child Poverty Data

DataKind UK created an interactive visualization of child poverty as pictured above for the North East Child Poverty Commission in the North East UK. The Commission used this visualization for education, advocacy, and to inform policy as they work to improve the lives of poor children. In an article highlighting Tableau’s role in the project, Dr. Deborah Harrison, Coordinator of the North East Child Poverty Commission, explained,

“DataKind and Tableau have taken a complex piece of data and turned it into something more user-friendly and meaningful. The solution makes it easier to see child poverty ‘hotspots’, for example where child poverty levels are particularly high or where they have increased over time. Our goal is for local authorities to use this tool to enhance their existing knowledge of local child poverty levels, helping them to target their responses quickly and accurately.”

Improving Access to Education by Supporting Tutors

Using Tableau, DataKind UK mapped the engagement and milestones of their volunteer tutors to help The Access Project understand what makes for a successful pairing between tutor and student. The Access Project wants to adapt their processes to improve the volunteer experience and more effectively help motivated state school students access top universities.

Finding Children In Need

Shooting Star Chase, a UK-based children’s hospice, wanted to understand which geographic areas were most in need of their children’s hospice services. DataKind UK used Tableau to map public data to locate children suffering from life-limiting diseases, streamlining referral paths and ultimately saving up to £90,000 for children’s hospices around the country.

Understanding Patterns in Homelessness

DataKind San Francisco joined forces with the Community Technology Alliance to explore data from the Monterey County homelessness assistance program. With visualizations built in Tableau, DataKind San Francisco explored the factors that correlate with a homeless family’s successful transition from supported to stable housing. These insights will help Monterey County better allocate resources to support more families in overcoming homelessness.

Mapping Data to Fight Crime

DataKind Bangalore used Tableau to generate heat maps showing crime locations and plot trends from Bangalore Police Department data. Insights from this exploratory analysis, such as most crime hotspots in the city have empty space adjoining them, could guide future deployment of policemen and thus reduce crime in the city.

Share Your Examples

What great data visualizations have you seen being leveraged for social good? Share your links in the comments. If you’re in the New York area, learn more and do good by attending the upcoming Tableau software user group meeting September 19th that will generate donations for the Community Foodbank of New Jersey or find a DataKind meetup near you!

Source: DataKind – Leveraging Tableau in DataKind Projects