The RD4C Principles
Principles to guide responsible data handling toward saving children’s lives, defending their rights, and helping them fulfill their potential from early childhood through adolescence.
Engaging and informing individuals and groups affected by the use of data for and about children.
Operationalizing responsible data practices and principles by establishing institutional processes, roles, and responsibilities.
Ensuring the needs and expectations of children, their caregivers, and their communities are prioritized by actors handling data for and about them.
Prevention Of Harms Across The Data Life Cycle
Establishing end-to-end data responsibility by assessing risks during the collecting, storing, preparing, sharing, analyzing, and using stages of the data life cycle.
Aligning the breadth of data collection and duration of data retention with the intended purpose.
Protective Of Children’s Rights
Recognizing the distinct rights and requirements for helping children develop to their full potential.
Identifying and specifying why the data is needed and how the intended or potential benefits relate to improving children’s lives.
From our blog
New developments from RD4C.
RD4C UgandaDay 5: Responsible Data for Children Synthesizes Major Findings from the Final Studio
On 23 September, 2022, the Responsible Data for Children (RD4C) initiative hosted a third and final studio in Kampala, Uganda. The studio was part of a series of studios and focus group discussions that the initiative hosted in Uganda to identify opportunities and challenges with data systems that could be acted upon to improve child refugee mental health and provide psychosocial services. After identifying the major themes of the first two studios, the Responsible Data for Children team, supported by UNICEF and UNHCR Uganda, presented its findings in Kampala to a collection of national officials. The presentation focused on three short-term priorities:, (1) taxonomy for MHPSS data, (2) data catalog and directory, and (3) responsible data governance. This presentation was meant to be the prompt for an extended discussion on ways that participants could act to improve the data system affecting child refugees in the next three to six months. Subsequently, participants deliberated on the different priorities, discussing ways to address the needs identified. After dividing into three breakout groups, the participants arrived at a few solutions. The Need for a Taxonomy for MHPSS Data Participants highlighted that a first, fundamental step was to develop a common taxonomy for MHPSS data by bringing together the already existing MHPSS refugee working groups along with practitioners in the field with direct experience with refugee children. By bringing these groups together, leaders could collectively set standards and criteria for mental health and psychosocial needs. After agreeing on standards collectively within the working group, participants emphasized the importance of the participating leaders socializing these standards within their own organizations. Only by implementing these standards and definitions internally could they become common practice. Next, once the standards and criteria for categorization are defined, the working group emphasized how all professionals working with refugee children and MHPSS should receive training to adequately and effectively categorize the data they gather. The group focused particularly on teachers and all other professionals who might make “first contact” with a child suffering from distress. Finally, participants encouraged the working group to develop and disseminate a checklist for everyone working in the field to have one standard basis to refer to. Although many check-lists already exist, these could be gathered and merged into a single standard for every actor to adopt. The Value of a Data Catalog and Directory Participants argued for mapping the data lifecycle and the different actors involved to understand who does what, both formally and informally. This mapping, participants noted, could support accountability by identifying lines of authority and helping participants design coordination strategies around the handling of MHPSS data for and about refugee children. Participants noted that the main actors involved in the mapping effort could be the Ministry of Health, the Office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Gender and Labour, the Ugandan Bureau of Statistics, as well as UNHCR and UNICEF and Civil Society Organizations (at national and local levels). Participants took an expansive view of stakeholder involvement, seeking to include all those with a relevant role in the current system. As a first step, participants suggested tasking the existing MHPSS working groups to lead this mapping. The Importance of Responsible Data Governance Participants reaffirmed the importance for a common data governance framework that can be adopted and implemented across government and service providers. Toward that end the participants focused on what it would take to develop a manual or standard operating procedures around MHPSS governance. Among the topics such a manual would cover include managing access to data; storage and security of data; quality, reliability and validity of data; among other areas. To advance the creation of such a manual, the participants suggested the creation of a dedicated expert group that could compare best practices and present a draft to the MHPSS working group in the short term. *** These are just a few reflections from our final studio. In October we will publish a more comprehensive and in-depth field report, to illustrate everything undercovered during Responsible Data for Children’s visit to Uganda. For more information on the Initiative, visit our website or reach out at [email protected] PHOTO LEFT: Participants deliberate during Studio 1 in Kampala. PHOTO RIGHT: Participants deliberate during Studio 2 in Isingiro.Read more
RD4C UgandaDay 4: Responsible Data for Children Synthesizes Major Findings from the First Two Studios
On 19 and 21 September, 2022, the Responsible Data for Children team hosted studios in Uganda. These meetings sought input from national officials and local service providers into their attitude toward the data systems in Uganda affecting child refugee mental health and psychosocial services. Using a data lifecycle approach—a model that tracks the development of a data initiative from planning through collection, processing, sharing, analyzing, and use of data—participants across the two days described what they saw as the major opportunities and challenges affecting Uganda’s data systems. Guided by the RD4C Principles, they described the various ways that data did and did not support the well-being of child refugees. On Thursday, the team reflected on these meetings in coordination with UNICEF and UNHCR Uganda. After reviewing what the different participants focused on, the team identified several takeaways spanning the data lifecycle. However, four short-term priorities stood out among the rest: Streamlined Decision-Making: Participants indicated they would benefit from a map of who takes decisions on what to promote a more unified approach to the mental health and psychosocial needs of children. Without this map, participants found it difficult to work with one another or to even know who to contact. In the words of one participant, “it can take a lot of coordination to get all of us organizations together.” The Need for a Taxonomy for MHPSS Data: Several participants expressed concerns that data is often cataloged differently by different organizations and that it has varying levels of quality, which could make analyses difficult. One participant noted, “When we talk about processes and standards [...] most organizations work in different silos where data is only collected to donor requirements.” The Value of a Data Catalog and Directory: Organizations could benefit from better understanding who is collecting what data, when, and for what purposes (as well as the leaders responsible) to avoid duplication and re-traumatizing children. The current lack of awareness meant that organizations often engaged in duplicative projects that could lead to refugee children having to provide the same data multiple times. Responsible Data Governance: Finally, the team noted one issue that did not come up explicitly in the discussions: data governance. There are ways to manage risks when using MHPSS data for refugee children by developing agreements for data sharing, guaranteeing group consent and participation, expanding protections, and addressing data biases. Trying to identify what is needed to promote the rights and protection of child refugees is essential so that participants don’t, as in the words of one participant, “collect data as much as possible for whatever purpose [I need].” *** These are only a few of the reflections that emerged from the first two studios. Tomorrow, we’ll share reflections on how participants used these takeaways in the final studio to generate ideas that can improve mental health and psychosocial service data systems in Uganda. Stay tuned for these insights and contact us at [email protected] for more information. PHOTO LEFT: Mr Kato Freeman from the Ministry of Gender, Labour, and Social Development provides opening remarks during Studio 1 in Kampala. PHOTO RIGHT: Participants deliberate during Studio 2 in Isingiro.Read more
RD4C UgandaDay 3: Responsible Data for Children Team Meets Implementing Partners, Refugee Communities
In previous blogs, we’ve spoken about how the Responsible Data for Children initiative has been speaking to officials with UNICEF and UNHCR Uganda, the Government of Uganda, medical professionals, and various national level stakeholders to identify opportunities and challenges with data systems that could be acted upon to improve child refugee mental health and provide psychosocial services. You can find highlights of these conversations on the RD4C site. Today, the RD4C team supported by UNICEF and UNHCR Uganda explored how different data systems are used by organizations throughout the country to respond to refugee needs. In Isingiro, the team hosted a studio workshop with implementing organizations, regional leaders, and representatives of government. The discussion revealed critical issues, which we will highlight in a blog tomorrow, about the ways in which data can support the mental health and psychosocial well-being of refugee children. As one participant noted, “Data is key because you cannot support what you don’t know.” After the studio, the team then traveled to Nakivale, a refugee settlement in the southwest near the Democratic Republic of Congo border. In focus group settings, we then spoke with mental health and psychosocial service village health teams, child protection committee members, and adolescent refugees themselves. These conversations allowed the team to understand how child refugee mental health is understood by those directly responsible for identifying and responding to cases as well as those affected by data systems. Tomorrow, we will provide reflections on our first two studios in anticipation for our final ideation studio on Friday. We hope you will stay tuned for these insights or contact us at [email protected] for more information. * Cover image by Roman Nguyen/Unsplash is licensed under CC0.Read more
RD4C UgandaDay 2: Responsible Data for Children Team Arrives in Mbarara
Yesterday, with the support of UNHCR, the Responsible Data for Children (RD4C) initiative, a collaboration between UNICEF and The GovLab to promote more responsible and effective management of data for and about children, hosted its first studio with national-level decision-makers in Kampala to understand how data can be better used to improve refugee mental health and provide psychosocial services. Highlights of the event will be shared shortly. Today, the RD4C team joined by UNICEF and UNHCR Uganda arrived in the city of Mbarara to expand this solicitation to the field. We hope to solicit the ideas and opinions of stakeholders responsible for implementing data systems as well as designing them—particularly those who work directly with groups most affected by these data systems. Since its arrival in the city, the team has had constructive discussions with the Office of the Prime Minister Regional Office, UNHCR leadership, and officials at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital about child refugee children’s mental health and the ways that data can support them. Indeed, Dr. Godfrey Zari Rukundo, Head of Department of Psychiatry of the Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital spoke, at length about the challenges he encounters. He noted, “I wish we had more data on the state of mental health among children and adolescents nationwide.” This data could be used to compare progress across regions and identify good practices to complex mental health challenges. We will be excited to receive further insights on the value and challenges facing data systems tomorrow when we travel to the refugee settlement in Isingiro to meet with community stakeholders, volunteers, and adolescents themselves. Stay tuned as we uncover more about the data ecosystem for child refugees in Uganda. You can also contact us at [email protected] for more information. * Image by bill wegener/Unsplash is licensed under CC0.Read more
The RD4C initiative is a joint endeavor between UNICEF and The GovLab at New York University to highlight and support best practice in our work; identify challenges and develop practical tools to assist practitioners in evaluating and addressing them; and encourage a broader discussion on actionable principles, insights, and approaches for responsible data management.
The work is intended to address practical considerations across the data lifecycle, including routine data collection and one-off data collections; and compliments work on related topics being addressed by the development community such as guidance on specific data systems and technologies, technical standardization, and digital engagement strategies.
Additional tools and materials are coming soon and will be posted on this website as they become available. Join the conversation to receive regular updates.