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Celebrating our 1-year anniversary!

November 22, 2021

Project Lead, Sarah Findlay, reflects on a year of successes and challenges at Africa Data Hub as we prepare for an exciting year two!

A year ago we started thinking about the Africa Data Hub. We met as a small team in Cape Town and started dreaming big about what we wanted to achieve. How could we support journalists across Africa to find and use COVID-19 data in interesting and meaningful ways? How can we support newsrooms to tell data-driven stories about the pandemic given the capacity and resource constraints they face? Where does one even start? 

We envisioned a community of journalists and newsrooms across the continent who were capacitated to find nuanced data, write from interesting story angles and who had built connections between like-minded people working in different contexts on similar issues. We wanted to provide data that was otherwise inaccessible. We wanted to provide tools that allowed for data exploration, learning and upskilling. We wanted to provide training for those interested in data and storytelling, but didn’t know how to begin. 

Since this is our community of journalists and users, we thought you’d like to hear how we’re measuring up after our first year in operation! 

This has been a year of successes and challenges. It has been a year of laying the foundations for the future, both technologically and collaboratively. We’ve learnt about what we can and should be doing (and importantly, what we can’t). We’ve dug deep into building relationships with newsroom partners. We have learnt (and are continuing to learn) how best we can marry the needs of these newsrooms to the complexities and constraints faced by data suppliers, such as the Africa-CDC. We now have a clear roadmap about how we can build off each other’s strengths to achieve our vision, particularly as a consortium of six organisations based in three countries who had never worked together before. We’ve set up and streamlined the governance, management and operations of this programme, despite remote working and the difficulties that poor connectivity throws up. This year has not only reminded us of our capacity to experiment and to be agile in our processes, but has been a year of trust-building and re-imagining what a data-driven news ecosystem in Africa could look like. This has been no easy feat, but we can all happily sigh with relief as we reflect on what we’ve achieved in such a small space of time. 

In addition, we have: 

  • Secured relationships with ten newsroom partners based across the continent
  • Deployed 3 data products assets (The Resurgence Map, Vaccine Tracker and ADH WaziMap) 
  • Developed 2 additional assets that are in the pipeline for deployment in coming weeks 
  • Developed a robust centralised data storage system that systematically feeds updated data to our visualisations
  • Collectively conducted 10 trainings on key data journalism topics to over 180 journalists 
  • Collectively co-created 35 news outputs or visualisations for stories with newsrooms 
  • Presented 2 webinars about critical issues that journalists on the continent face

Ultimately, the real way we measure our success is by hearing from you. Have our tools helped you in your storytelling? Did you find data that you couldn’t find before? Did you learn some data skills that you’ve been dying to dig in? If you have a story about how ADH has supported you in your newsroom or in your work, please share it with us here. We’d also like to learn more about how we can improve our tools for you in the future and we’ll be planning a discussion session on 29 November 2021. You can find more information here

We also have big plans for the future! For the latest updates on our work, follow us on social media or join our newsletter. As always, if you have any other feedback or questions for us, please feel free to reach out to us at info@africadatahub.org

Thank YOU for helping to make our first year such a success.

We look forward to continuing to build this vision and community with you,

Sarah Findlay, 

Africa Data Hub: Project Lead

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