The challenges and how to overcome them (4/4)

Challenge n°4: Cost, time and resources for the data landscape exercise

The cost, time and resources required to conduct a data landscape exercise will vary from country to country depending on the context, objectives and scope of the exercise.
For example, in Uganda the Bureau of Statistics already had a national statistical metadata dictionary with a list of all indicators collected and sources of information that could be used. In Niger, however, there was no such official multisectoral M&E plan that would help to select the indicators to include in the data landscape.

One of the time-consuming tasks is meeting with every organisation, identifying the right person and obtaining the relevant information. Two or three visits to each institution are typically needed to obtain all the information required.
The NIPN country team may conduct the exercise themselves or bring in a consultant to do it. For example, in Burkina Faso the NIPN country team conducted the exercise over a 2-month period (2 part-time staff). In Côte d’Ivoire and Niger, however, short-term consultants were contracted for 40 days and 30 days respectively.
If choosing the option of a consultant:

  • It is recommended to contract a consultant who is very familiar with the information systems in country and who knows how to navigate the government system. Statistical skills are not essential here.
  • It is also recommended to spread the days of work over a longer period (e.g. 30 days over 3 months) to account for the time needed to receive information.

There is one important advantage to the option of NIPN teams conducting the data landscape exercise themselves: the connections and relationships that are established with the data providers during the landscape exercise are extremely important for future engagement (data sharing, data analysis) and ultimately for the success of information platform. The data landscape exercise is an excellent opportunity to start building these relationships.

In all cases, Terms of Reference must detail:

  • the objectives (this section, page 1)
  • the expected outputs (this section, page 2)
  • the human and financial resources needed

Read the interview with the Niger team below to understand how they have overcome some of the challenges faced: