DataShift is an initiative that builds the capacity and confidence of civil society organisations to produce and use citizen generated data to monitor sustainable development progress, demand accountability and campaign for transformative change. This global movement is empowering a broad, multi stakeholder platform through sharing skills, strategies and technologies to identify and document existing citizen reporting mechanisms, data gaps and perceived needs. Ultimately, our vision is a world where people-powered accountability drives progress on sustainable development.

Why DataShift?

There is an urgent need to build the capacity of civil society in the global South and around the world to produce, analyse and use citizen-generated data in a systematic way. Sustained support and development of these mechanisms encourages responsiveness to local contexts, facilitates sharing and uptake between groups, and builds a scalable methodology for mobilising citizen monitoring resources. There is also a need to promote the comparability of citizen-generated data across issues and countries, as well as help citizens and their organisations access and adopt more rigorous methodologies for collection and use, to build the credibility of citizen-generated data. By addressing the challenges of coverage and comparability, powerful new tools for monitoring progress can be deployed.

Key Activities

In 2015-16, DataShift is working in three locations: Argentina, Nepal and East Africa (Kenya and Tanzania). DataShift is working in five key activity areas in an effort to enhance the capacity and effectiveness of citizen-generated data initiatives:

The Learning Zone

A learning Zone provides citizens and civil society organisations with online, user-friendly and accessible information and resources on generating and using data.

Direct Support Activities

Carried out by DataShift Ambassadors, direct support activities are building in-country capacity on citizen-generated data in DataShift pilot countries through technical support and convening multi stakeholder dialogues to foster collaboration.

Thematic Forums

These include events, consultations and online exchanges on citizen generated data to facilitate knowledge exchange and collaboration on citizen-generated data, including enhancing complementarity between citizen generated data and other data sources, enhancing comparability of citizen generated data between and within countries and harmonising shadow SDG reporting.

DataShift Fund

A demand-led mechanism to channel financial and technical assistance to civil society actors in pilot countries who want to build their capacity, experiment and innovate with citizen-generated data.

The Dashboard

A DataShift Dashboard uses citizen-generated data to monitor the SDGs. Why? Citizen-generated data has the potential to be a powerful, alternative source of data on development progress that can support the accountability and campaigning efforts of civil society and the decision making of governments.


DataShift is currently midway through the second year of an initial pilot phase, primarily working in four pilot countries: Argentina, Nepal, Kenya and Tanzania. In 2016, we have:

  • Continued to provided technical and strategic support to a number of organisations and projects in our pilot countries working on a broad range of thematic issues to support improved data collection, analysis, responsible management and visualisation for campaigning
  • Created a DataShift Community with 30+ members and counting, which has already had its first in-person event and collaborated with key CGD partners such as the Global Partnership for Social Accountability to host webinars and skill-shares
  • Engaged hundreds of civil society organisations and activists on DataShift and CGD at International Civil Society Week 2016 in Bogotá, Colombia 
  • Published new research, case studies and other resources on citizen-generated data in our online Learning Zone that provides citizens and civil society organisations with online, user-friendly and accessible information and resources on generating and using data
  • Re-launched an interactive citizen-generated data project network visualisation which maps these against the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • Supported the development of the new Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data and helped to ensure strong civil society participation and voice in the initiative
  • Helped to establish a Monitoring and Accountability Working Group in the new global civil society initiative Action for Sustainable Development


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Partners: CIVICUS, the Engine Room, Wingu and the Open Institute

Countries: Argentina, Nepal and East Africa (Kenya and Tanzania)



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