Raising the bar: ACAPS impactful data on COVID-19
Since UN Secretary-General António Guterres advocated new technology and data “as a force for good” at the opening of the UN Centre for Humanitarian Data in The Hague in 2017, there has been a rapid shift in the role data plays in the humanitarian sector. According to a 2019 survey by the centre, humanitarians are increasingly interested in data and, against their own expectations, are becoming more data-literate. ACAPS has tapped into this development, creating useful tools for decision-makers in the sector and beyond to respond better to the COVID-19 pandemic.
When COVID-19 began to spread rapidly in March this year, ACAPS responded by ramping up products relating to the pandemic after discussions with different partners. The pandemic has affected not only humanitarian policies but has significantly impacted people’s lives. One of ACAPS’ outcomes is the Government Measures dataset, created by the ACAPS Analysis team.
The Government Measures dataset is organised around five categories: social distancing, movement restrictions, public health measures, social and economic measures, and lockdowns. ACAPS continues to update this weekly, collecting publicly available data through partners or secondary data review. The dataset is visualised in a dashboard with the help of MapAction.
“Humanitarians are becoming increasingly interested in data,” Angeliki Nika, senior analyst at ACAPS
Data sharing as a core value
ACAPS is excited to take part in freely and openly sharing data, believing it can have a big impact. As well as being available on the website, the dataset is hosted on the Humanitarian Data Exchange (HDX) platform, making the data accessible to a larger group of people and organisations.
Javier Teran, Statistician at HDX, said: “The ACAPS COVID-19 Government Measures dataset is the most comprehensive and up-to-date resource for humanitarians, academics, and researchers who need to know which measures have been implemented by governments worldwide in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We were very happy that ACAPS made this dataset available on HDX. Trust is crucial to data sharing in the humanitarian sector.”
Following on from the success of the Government Measures dataset, ACAPS has recently launched the Secondary Impacts of COVID-19 dataset to highlight the wider effects of the pandemic. “The Government Measures dataset, collecting global government responses to the pandemic, has been very successful with over 40,000 downloads since its launch in March. The Secondary Impacts dataset aims to further tap into this by capturing the secondary impacts of COVID-19," Angeliki Nika, senior analyst at ACAPS said.
The ACAPS COVID-19 Analytical Framework, together with the data collected for the Government Measures dataset, provided the foundation for the Secondary Impacts dataset and its navigation tool. It monitors secondary impacts of COVID-19 across themes such as economy, health, migration, and education.
For the Secondary Impacts dataset, ACAPS identified around 80 impact indicators and organised these across four pillars and 13 thematic blocks. While it currently has data on 50 countries, the dataset aims to track the effects of the pandemic on more than 190 countries based on secondary sources. This information is collected by a group of student volunteers in various countries, with sources from the media, governments, international organisations, and academic institutions. The Secondary Impacts dataset will be updated twice a month.
Innovative ways of sharing data
Some of ACAPS’ users are already developing new products, such as dashboards and visualisations based on this data. People who access the datasets can use them as a repository or compare countries across sectors. The Government Measures dataset has been used successfully by various organisations such as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, DCAF – Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance, research institutions, and NGOs.
Thanks to the launch of ACAPS’ new API, it has also become easier than ever for people to conduct their own analysis by integrating ACAPS data into other platforms such as websites, dashboards, and software systems.
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