GIJN Africa: Data Centers for African Journalists
Across Africa, an increasing number of data journalists, data scientists, and investigative reporters are working together to carry out data-driven investigations, reporting, analysis, and visualizations. They are collaborating to comb through diverse data sources and tools that are becoming more easily available — both locally and globally.
These trends have led to the creation of several data centers across the continent that are helping to improve and diversify how African muckrakers use data to do investigative journalism. Below is our curation of the most prominent of these data centers.
Code for Africa is a data journalism and civic technology initiative that has collaborated with journalists and media organizations to develop a series of tools and platforms that make data more easily accessible to journalists across the continent. Some of the initiatives that have come to life courtesy of Code for Africa include openAfrica, impactAfrica, innovateAfrica, PesaCheck, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), and Outbox.
Dataphyte is a Nigeria-based technology company that deploys data tools and technology in support of socioeconomic development. It also has a storytelling platform which they use to develop stories that explain trends and visualize complex data. Their aim is to equip the public with sufficient information to make informed decisions and demand accountability.
Based in New Zealand but focused on global data including African countries, HRMI produces a free, easy-to-access database of metrics summarizing human rights performance in countries around the world. The HRMI Rights Tracker database provides insights into governmental performance on economic and social rights by tracking food, health, education, and other outcomes for all of Africa, as well as civil and political rights for four African countries to date.
InfoCongo is a news platform that uses data and interactive maps to capture ongoing positive and negative changes in the Congo Basin, which is spread across six countries and is the second-largest rainforest in the world after the Amazon. The data and interactive maps on the InfoCongo website are updated regularly and available to download for free at any time. Countries in the Congo Basin include Cameroon, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon.
InfoNile is a geo-journalism platform that maps data on water issues along the shores and catchment area of the Nile River, in order to tell stories about critical issues along the world’s longest river. InfoNile’s work covers the 10 countries in eastern and northeastern Africa that constitute the River Nile Basin. These are Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Egypt.
Based in Accra, Ghana, iWatch Africa is a non-governmental media and policy organization that uses data journalism to tell stories that push for a deepening of transparency and accountability, as well as encouraging citizen participation in the governance process in Africa. iWatch Africa tracks transnational organized crime, human rights abuse, climate change, ocean conservation, digital rights, and government transparency on the continent.
A data analytics and research firm operating out of the Kenyan capital Nairobi, Odipodev often collaborates with local and international media organizations to tell stories by visualizing data in creative ways, without distorting the message. Their data visualization techniques include the use of infographics, network diagrams, and data-flow diagrams, amongst others.
Based in South Africa, Open Secrets is a nonprofit organization which exposes and builds accountability for private-sector economic crimes through investigative research, advocacy, and the law. Open Secrets aims to contribute to social justice by holding powerful private actors to account, using research for legal accountability and advocacy for change.
Takwimu provides analysis and data to support the work of journalists and others who need it. All Takwimu content is visualized and packaged to be easily understood and freely shared. The content includes expert analysis of the key stakeholders, decision processes, policies, organizations, and budgets that are driving development outcomes. Takwimu also offers access to a growing body of national and sub-national statistics in the health, agriculture, education, and financial inclusion sectors.
WanaData is a Pan-African network of female journalists, data scientists, and technologists working to change the digital media landscape by producing and promoting data-driven news while applying digital technologies in storytelling. It is an initiative of the Pan-African federation of civic data and civic technology organizations, Code for Africa.