Enabling evidence-informed decision-making at the local level in Nepal
Read more about the Data for Development (D4D) programme, the impact it has had in Nepal and our priorities for the future.
- What we do
- What we are working on
- Enabling evidence-informed decision-making at the local level in Nepal
Nepal faces a range of social and economic challenges that, if addressed, could transform the lives of millions. The action required to achieve this will only succeed if it is informed by robust data-driven evidence. Ensuring data is being captured, shared and used effectively and responsibly by government, civil society and business is therefore a key part of enabling significant and sustained progress for Nepal and its people.
In 2015, transformative constitutional changes resulted in a new federal system, creating seven new provinces and 753 municipalities, and requiring fundamental changes to legal and administrative processes. Constitutional reform and restructuring around federal, provincial and local spheres should enable greater decision-making, more autonomy, increased ownership and governance at the local level, but these changes also bring about challenges. To create progress, data processes and systems must be well coordinated and managed, and data production and collection must be systematic and inform evidence-based decision-making.
The purpose of our work
The Data for Development (D4D) programme is a partnership-based initiative run by a team of Nepali and international experts in data, governance and political economy. It supports locally led efforts that increase the collection, sharing and use of data to improve the lives and livelihoods of Nepalis. A politically neutral programme, its sole purpose is to help others harness the power of data to improve people’s lives. The programme works with federal, provincial and local governments, national civil society, international donors and NGOs, business, academics and students and anyone else who can play a part in a thriving data ecosystem that supports local development.
Development Initiatives (DI) has worked with partners in Nepal since 2011, building a national dialogue on data needs and challenges. In 2017, with funding from UKAid, in partnership with The Asia Foundation and with input and support from local partners, D4D was launched.
In 2020, D4D entered its second phase, aiming to strengthen local data ecosystems at the provincial and local level and to support the use of evidence for development in Nepal by:
- supporting coordination among key actors in data and statistics production
- increasing the use of evidence-based decision-making by provincial, local and non-governmental actors
- improving data and analysis at provincial and local levels to support evidence-based decision-making.
In the last few years, the programme has created exciting and positive change in Nepal. It has supported increased demand, supply and use of data in key areas that stand to improve decision-making at all levels of governance. It has equipped civil society and others with critical information to support their efforts to improve the lives of Nepali people.
During phase one, D4D worked with over 30 partners in Nepal on data-related interventions, through initiatives such as Open Nepal. We have:
- Supported local data innovation by running the Data for Development Innovation Fund, which enabled Nepal’s innovators to pilot data-focused solutions to local development challenges.
- Strengthened data-use capacity by training civil society open data educators in partnership with the Open Data Institute.
- Assisted Kathmandu Living Labs to release one of the largest post-disaster datasets ever collected, improving the availability of open data.
- Co-hosted Nepal’s first Women in Data Conference to help tackle the under-representation of women in data-related fields in Nepal.
- Helped Youth Innovation Lab to develop an integrated, user-centred national disaster information portal that shares data, analysis and visualisations to inform disaster preparedness and response. In May 2019, the Prime Minister of Nepal ordered the roll-out of this system, BIPAD, which was developed with input from a range of government departments, to provincial and local governments.
During its second phase, D4D aims to strengthen a functional and locally led data ecosystem in three municipalities in Nepal – Birgunj (Nepalgunj, Province 2), Tulsipur (Lumbini, Province 5) and Simta (Karnali, Province 6) – as well as improve coordination on data issues among the three spheres of government.
In 2020, DI conducted a diagnostic of the current state of national data infrastructures: mapping Nepal’s data ecosystem at the federal level, focusing on data systems, gaps, challenges and opportunities. This report was published in 2021, and DI will engage on the key recommendations for the continued development of Nepal’s national statistical system under federalism. In 2021, we also produced a report reflecting on the evolution of the open data movement in Nepal over the last 10 years, outlining the steps Nepal’s data community can take to drive a locally led data revolution.
DI will continue to provide technical assistance to partner organisations and stakeholders in Nepal, particularly at the local level. We will seek to help design and support the development of quality research on key topical data issues in national and municipal spheres to enable evidence-informed decision-making at the local level.