Convening & Collaborating for Data Literacy

/ February 14, 2019

In the past, Fabriders have researched data literacy, designed and facilitated social learning experiences, and co-created knowledge sharing assets with communities and networks. In the first half of 2018, they co-edited IFRC’s Data Playbook (Beta), which brought together a diverse skill set in all of those areas.

The approach to identifying the content for the playbook was ‘curate, not create,’ asking humanitarians to share how they helped their organisations and teams be more data-driven. As a result of this approach, the team was able to identify 66 pieces of discrete content that was templatised and organised into nine thematic modules to make up the Playbook. As humanitarians work under the key principle of ‘do no harm’, one of the modules is ‘Responsible Data.’

What if we all collaborated on data literacy and building data skills?

In today’s world, everything is a data project. A significant learning from our work on researching data literacy is that data is a team sport. We all have a role to play in helping our teams and organisations be more data-driven and data-informed.

Now that the Playbook is in Beta, Fabriders are forming a Data Literacy Consortium with Heather Leson from IFRC, and the Centre for Humanitarian Data, to help inform and develop a first version. While identifying the content for the Playbook, we saw the power of engaging humanitarians in a dialogue around achieving data literacy. Now, we want to broaden the conversation to include anyone working within data for social good and social justice — especially those who are engaged in utilising data in development, advocacy and activism work. With this initiative, we are striving to build partnerships so that we can benefit and learn from a diversity of perspectives.

How can you and your organisation contribute?

First, ask how your organisation might benefit from participating in a consortium around data literacy. Have you developed your own methods:

  • To get teams to define a workflow for a data-driven project?
  • To drive discussions around ethics and protecting the data your organisation is collecting?
  • To explain and exemplify the benefits of data standards?
  • To use data in decision making?

Or would you like to know how others are approaching these and other data-related topics?

We’re looking for organisations that want to become part of the conversation around data literacy,  that might be willing to trial parts of the Data Playbook and provide feedback, and to share and contribute exercises and methodologies they have developed. We are also looking for opportunities to collaborate on workshops,trainings and data literacy initiatives. Furthermore, could you provide translations of the playbook content?

Here are some of the proposed activities that we might co-create:

Activity 1: Scale the Data Playbook

  • Co-create and transition the Data Playbook Beta to the Data Playbook Version 1
  • Get the more extensive, deeper, more straightforward help with content
  • Guide the development of content – Advice and support.
  • Review the content as we develop it.
  • Give Feedback
  • Identify existing content for the playbook
  • Build contribution paths by the individual, organisation

Activity 2: Workshops/Engagement – Joint training programs

  • Building shared content in person and online to reach more data for social good practitioners.

Activity 3: Pilot New Methods

  • Long-term mentorship programs
  • Developing data-focused networks of practice.

To get involved

Together with the Centre for Humanitarian Data, and IFRC, Fabriders are convening their first Data Literacy User Groups on February 27th at 15:00 GMT.

RSVP here to get details on how to join.

Want to have a conversation about the Data Literacy Consortium? Send an email to consortium (at) to schedule a chat.
This announcement was cross-posted with minor edits from the Fabriders website.

About the contributor

Dirk Slater is the FabRider in FabRiders ( He has spent the last quarter of a century at the intersection of tech and social justice working to build capacity of activists and advocates in over thirty countries on a variety of social change issues. Current projects focus on data literacy, social learning, participatory events and network-centric resources, working with a wide range of collaborators that include Aspiration, Global Voices, Mozilla, Civicus, IFRC & 360 Giving. He is co-chair of the Data Literacy Consortium.

See Dirk's Articles

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