This post by Katy Johnson, Data2X Consultant, originally appeared on Millennium Challenge Corporation’s blog.
An app that connects pregnant women with health providers. Jewelry that stores medical information. A web program that lays out career trajectories for girls. These are not typical solutions to gaps in gender data.
Indeed, most conversations about solutions to gender data gaps revolve around partnerships and broad coalitions that bring together governments, international agencies, and philanthropic organizations. Most of these conversations do not take place at the local level, with the people who are most affected by the gaps in data.
TechMousso, the first of its kind gender data competition, was created precisely to respond to the need for locally driven, innovative solutions to gaps in gender data. A joint initiative between Data2X, the World Wide Web Foundation, MCC, and several dozen organizations and ministries in Côte d’Ivoire, the competition paired the local tech community with civil society organizations working on women’s issues. In so doing, TechMousso put the task of solving gender data challenges directly into the hands of the people who are often disproportionately affected by gender data gaps themselves.
Out of a group of 80 original teams, 20 finalists pitched gender data gap solutions to a panel of judges in July 2016 after a several month planning period. Judges awarded a total $25,000 across the top 10 winning teams to fund continuing work on their proposed solutions.
Here are six TechMousso projects — the three winners, and three additional promising projects — that demonstrate the potential of collaborative, local-level initiatives in data advocacy and use.
1. Mafubo is an app to register pregnant women, communicate with them throughout pregnancy via SMS, provide information on maternity facilities, and enable them to make appointments with physicians. The app will provide data on women’s health and mortality rates to relevant government departments, and will help hospitals and clinics better coordinate labor and delivery hospital beds for women, a critical issue in Côte d’Ivoire. Following the completion of TechMousso, Team Mafubo has actively pursued funding opportunities and is in conversation with the Côte d’Ivoire Ministry for Women, Protection, Family, and Child to continue development of the app.
2. Health Pass + Mousso is a piece of jewelry that stores its wearer’s medical information, such as medications and emergency contacts, transforming an accessory into an easily accessible digital medical record. Physicians can use a quick response code scanner to quickly access their patients’ records, not only speeding up the provision of medical care, but also paving the way for potential anonymized data use in public health policy.
3. Citizens can report gender-based violence (GBV) incidents via web, app, and SMS, and decision-makers can access the anonymous data via the platform Dblamou. By compiling anonymous, user-submitted reports of gender-based violence, Dblamou generates a map which displays statistics about rates of different types of violence by region or city. Authorities in the legal, medical, educational and social services fields can use this information to better understand the scope of gender-based violence across the country and the needed application of resources. The platform is already operational, and the team is working with the Ministry for Women, Protection, Family, and Child to continue the app’s development.
4. Agro.Gender is an app that collects and analyzes sex-disaggregated agricultural data for Côte d’Ivoire, needed for planning and development in rural and agricultural zones. Côte d’Ivoire suffers a significant gap in sex-disaggregated agricultural data; filling this gap is critical to identify and address inequalities in the agricultural value chain. Agro.Gender was awarded a prize at the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention in Marrakech last year.
5. Kalanda is an app that provides sexual and reproductive health information to women through SMS technology. Through the SMS platform, women can ask reproductive health and sexuality questions and receive reliable answers from specialists at Kalanda. Policymakers can use this data to identify women’s priority concerns and to guide policy on reproductive health education, based on queries from app users. The app is already functioning with 13,300 registered participants.
6. SuperAya is a web application that helps girls understand how to reach their dream jobs. The app connects the searcher with successful women in their career path of interest, using data from LinkedIn, Twitter, and, if possible, the databases of the youth employment agency and the National Institute of Statistics in Côte d’Ivoire. For example, if a user searches for “telecom,” the application will tell her how many women work in that sector, the most common schools and experiences that led to jobs in that industry, and other qualifications necessary to work in their desired career field.
TechMousso demonstrated that community-driven, locally inspired gender data challenges can draw robust support from government and civil society leaders, meaningfully engage women in science, technology, engineering, and math projects, and generate creative solutions to fill gender data gaps. Individuals at the local level are well placed to develop projects with community impact, and Côte d’Ivoire’s example shows promise for future initiatives of this kind.