Thoughts from the Last Mile Welcome to the VillageReach Blog
10.24 2016

Driven by Data

In 1972, The UN General Assembly agreed to mark October 24 each year as World Development Information Day in order to draw the world’s attention to development problems and the need to strengthen international cooperation to solve them. The Assembly felt that improving the dissemination of information would lead to greater awareness of the problems of development, and thus, promote efforts in the sphere of international cooperation for development.

img_1017_benin_2014At VillageReach, the last mile of delivery is the first mile of information. Data is the pulse that drives our work – the fundamental core of our programming strategy. Without information, we are working in a state of assumptions and half-truths, and fervently hoping we are right. Want evidence of this principle? Of the four blog posts we published this month alone, three focus directly on information – what goes into collecting it, the insight it provides, and an example of how it all comes together!

World Development Information Day’s aim it is to ultimately promote efforts in the sphere of international cooperation for development by means of information. VillageReach embraced that spirit fully while participating in the global working group on data for management of the immunization supply chain (iSC). The efforts of this global group, comprised of government representatives, international partner NGOs, and multilateral and foundation funding agencies, has resulted in the publication last week of the global guidance on using data and dashboards to strengthen the immunization supply chain. This e-platform contains key resources on three topics directly connected to information – what to collect, how to report, and real-world examples of this in action:

  • Indicators are needed to monitor the performance of the immunization supply chain; after plentiful discussion and analysis, the global working group partners were able to define and agree upon an optimal number of standard indicators (7) to be used for this purpose. The e-platform provides detailed indicator reference sheets with definitions, rationale for use, methods of collecting the necessary information, and the potential impact of tracking each.
  • Dashboards, given today’s advancements in technology even for limited resource-settings, are a useful way of not just visualizing data but illustrating links between different data types and indicators. They make it easier to act on and identify bottlenecks and implement corrective and preventive action when managing and planning for the immunization supply chain. The e-platform provides useful guidance on how to set up dashboards, considerations depending on the setting available, and ways to implement them
  • Country Case Studies are also available to support countries how they can use supply chain data to improve the performance of their immunization supply chains. The Mozambique case study, based on the work done together by the government and VillageReach, is one such example available.

Ultimately, the drive for our work is this – that the information that feeds into iSC metrics empowers a culture of data-driven decision-making to meet the main goal: that by creating stronger supply chains, many more children, even in hard to reach, remote settings, have access to life-saving vaccines.

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Interesting in learning more about the work that VillageReach does in this area?
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