Closing the Data Gap: Premise and Code4Venezuela Crowdsource Data to Support Humanitarian Efforts Inside Venezuela  

Juntosesmejor/bettertogether Challenge

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Reliable data in real-time is essential to deliver services, such as health care and transportation as well as food and clean water. In humanitarian crises where populations are mobile, it is almost impossible to collect the data needed to provide these services. In Venezuela, humanitarian stakeholders operating are limited in their ability to reach people in need due to this lack of information. This problem is more severe in underserved communities, resulting in a struggle to effectively design, target, implement, and monitor humanitarian assistance.

Premise Data and Code4Venezuela, with funding from the BetterTogether Challenge, are changing this reality for almost 100 local NGOs working inside Venezuela. To address the lack of data, Premise Data and Code4Venezuela have pioneered an open data model to help humanitarian organizations understand how and where to reach more people in need.

Crowdsourcing Data Collection Via the Premise Mobile Application

The Premise mobile application makes it possible for anyone with a smartphone to collect data. Using this model, Premise has created a network of almost 50,000 individuals who act as data contributors inside Venezuela. These individuals receive compensation to complete data collection tasks, incentivizing them to contribute to their local community's needs.

Data collection includes a series of surveys and tasks to help monitor access to health care, transportation, clean water, and food. Premise uses trusted indicators, such as food security indicators established by the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), for this data collection.

Snapshot of survey data for the Food Consumption Score (FCS), a food security indicator that measures how frequently a household eats over a week.

The Premise model provides this data to humanitarian, human rights, civil society, and charitable NGOs inside Venezuela. The data given to these organizations is accurate, high-resolution, up-to-date and can identify service deficiencies. Further, these organizations are connected with each other which improves communication and coordination between organizations. Premise also trains organizations to use data to improve their decision-making, helping to create evidence-based humanitarian assistance.

The initial group of participating organizations covers six humanitarian sectors and has programs in 21 Venezuelan states. Premise plans to leverage this growing network to form a snapshot of local service delivery operations and map service needs within Venezuela. This crowd-sourced methodology that utilizes individuals and organizations for data collection and information sharing, significantly increases the amount of data collection and analysis that is possible without jeopardizing its quality.

"With our powerful platform and global contributor network, we are able to collect tens of thousands of data points in a matter of days," said Maury Blackman, CEO of Premise Data. "It's always gratifying to know our technology is being used to improve people's lives."

Visualizing the Data with Code4Venezuela

Image Credit: El

For this project, Premise partnered with Code4Venezuela, a network of Venezuelan volunteers living in the United States. With seven million Venezuelan migrants currently residing in the U.S., Code4Venezuela was founded to harness the Venezuelan diaspora's skills to help end the humanitarian crisis in their homeland through technology.

According to Marcos Ciarrochi, one of Code4Venezuela’s project leaders, "Despite the economic conditions in which the country finds itself, the most valuable thing that Venezuelans have is our talent, something that no regime can take away from us".

Code4Venezuela takes the raw data captured through the Premise mobile application and integrates it into its Angostura platform. Code4Venezuela will then analyze the data and generate a visualization that the humanitarian organizations can use to understand how and where essential services are received as well as where there are gaps.

Together, Premise and Code4Venezuela, with the support of the JuntosEsMejor / BetterTogether Challenge, will bridge the data gap for Venezuelan NGOs providing essential services inside Venezuela. Their work will contribute to more accurate decisions to plan services that can reach more Venezuelans' left vulnerable by the crisis.

"We are outside the country, but we are the country as long as we are connected." Code4Venezuela.

Premise and Code4Venezuela are hoping to expand their operation within Venezuela to cover more sectors, thus supporting millions of people who call Venezuela home.

Code4Venezuela is planning its next hackathon in October. Get involved!


Written by: Alexandra Anda and Sandra Couburn, USAID Catalyst Project at Resonance Global.


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