OCHA’s Humanitarian Dashboard

I recently gave a presentation on Crisis Mapping for UN-OCHA in Nairobi and learned a new initiative called the Humanitarian Dashboard. The Dashboard is still in its development phase so the content of this post is subject to change in the near future.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Nick Haan, a colleague from years back, is behind the initiative. I had consulted Nick on a regular basis back in 2004-2005 when working on CEWARN. He was heading the Food Security Assessment Unit (FSAU) at the time.

Here’s a quick introduction to the Humanitarian Dashboard:

The goal of the Dashboard is to ensure evidence-based humanitarian decision making for more needs-based, effective, and timely action.  The business world is well-accustomed to dashboards for senior executives in order to provide them with a real-time overview of core business data, alert them of potential problems, and keep operations on-track for desired results.

Stephen Few, a leader in dashboard design defines a dashboard as “a single-screen display of the most important information people need to do a job, presented in a way that allows them to monitor what’s going on in an instant.”   Such a single-screen or single-page overview, updated in real time, does not currently exist in the humanitarian world.”

The added values of the Dashboard:

  1. It would allow humanitarian decision-makers to more quickly access the core and common humanitarian information that they require and to more easily compare this information across various emergencies;
  2. It would provide a common platform from which essential big picture and cross sectoral information can be discussed and debated among key stakeholders, fostering greater consensus and thus a more coordinated and effective humanitarian response;
  3. It would provide a consolidated platform of essential information with direct linkages to underlying evidence in the form of reports and data sets, thus providing a much needed organizational tool for the plethora of humanitarian information;
  4. It would provide a consistently structured core data set that would readily enable a limitless range of humanitarian analysis across countries and over-time.

I look forward to fully evaluating this new tool, which is currently being piloted in Somalia, Kenya and Pakistan.

Patrick Philippe Meier

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