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 In Case Studies, Data Journalism, Team

As the calendar marches on and holiday decorations fill streets, shopping malls, and in many cases, our homes, the team here at Datassist has spent a little bit of time looking back at the past year. 2016 has been an exciting time for us, and we’ve been honoured to spend so much of it working with such great partners on some very exciting nonprofit data projects.

In the spirit of the rapidly approaching New Year, we thought we’d take a break from our Data Analysis for Nonprofits blog series (if you missed the first two posts, you can still discover the benefits of cross-project data analysis for nonprofits and how to switch from counting outputs to counting results) and share some of the highlights of the past twelve months with you. So grab your peppermint latte (or maybe a cranberry gin martini if your day is almost done!) and join us in celebrating some of our favourite nonprofit data project success stories of 2016.

No. 1: Financial Inclusion – CARE Link Up

What They Do

Initially funded several years ago by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, CARE’s Link Up program hypothesized that formally connecting savings groups in Kenya and Tanzania with banks would improve financial services and inclusion for the area’s poorest citizens by helping develop the financial skills and assets of participating groups.

The program has made great strides in expanding economic opportunity in the region — in Kenya, CARE has linked over 400 village savings groups with Barclay’s, where they’ve saved more than $120,000 so far.

What We Did

The Datassist team joined the project to help quantify the benefit of formal financial links between banks and the various village savings groups CARE was working with. Many small savings groups collected data on their own economic KPIs, and we helped combine and analyze the data across multiple savings groups to help the Link Up project make the most efficient use of its resources.


Why We Loved It

As a result of this nonprofit data project, Link Up is able to add new groups with a high potential to benefit from the program and is on track to become one of Africa’s leading financial inclusion projects — making a massive difference in the lives of many of the continent’s most vulnerable households. Check out just one of the stories about how this program is improving life for women and children in Africa.

No. 2: Agricultural Productivity – Farm Shop

What They Do

Farm Shop is using seed funding from Comart, MasterCard, and Ford to help small-scale farmers in rural Kenya address challenges in supply chain and power relationships to provide the nation’s population with secure access to food and local independent farmers with a viable business model to support their families.
The program’s goal is to eventually serve 75,000 small farmers — half of them women — which will benefit close to 375,000 people in farming families. Farmers will see increased incomes, rural residents will have a more accessible supply of fresh food, and hundreds of new jobs will be created as new shops open.

What We Did

Datassist has worked on two separate but related nonprofit data projects to support Farm Shop’s efforts. Initial funding allowed their organization to set up 25 shops, but without an accurate financial model, it was difficult for them to determine how many locations were necessary for the project to break even. We built a model to reflect their profit and loss numbers to help them optimize the products and support they were offering. Since then, we have partnered with them again to develop a system to measure the impact of their program.


Why We Loved It

“Our research on scaling social enterprise business models to improve food security is relevant throughout Africa and South Asia,” says Dr. Kevin McKague of the project.
To demonstrate the value of the program to donors, Farm Shop needed be able to show a measurable change in productivity, quality of life and economic security for the farmers they work with. We are proud to have played a role in helping a program that will change so many lives in such a meaningful way.

No. 3: Quality of Education – HEQCO

What They Do

The Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) aims to improve access, learning outcomes and system design of post-secondary educational institutions to help ensure the success of Ontario students.

Formed over a decade ago by the provincial government, HEQCO studies, reports on and evaluates post-secondary education in Ontario to inform the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development, as well as students and the general public.

What We Did

Not all of our favourite nonprofit data projects this year were about overseas aid. Closer to home, we partnered with HEQCO to examine the quality of post-secondary education right here in Ontario.

We used data from institutional level performance indicators on 24 universities in the province to help determine how each school was performing in terms of:

  • Access
  • Demand
  • Student journey
  • Graduate outcomes
  • Research and graduate intensity

to demonstrate where schools were building on their strengths, and which schools were best able to meet the needs of specific student groups.


Why We Loved It

Today’s students are under tremendous pressure to succeed in their education — the vast majority of jobs today require a post-secondary education.

Through our efforts on this nonprofit data project, we helped HEQCO ensure students have every opportunity for success, regardless of their limitations or goals. This project also provides provincial decision-makers with valuable insights that will allow them to improve outcomes using existing resources.

Let Us Help With Your Nonprofit Data Project

Do you have data that could tell a compelling story about what you do — if only you had the tools and skills to tell it?
At Datassist, our goal is to help you tell your story in a way that will inspire, educate and engage. Let our team of dedicated statisticians, data visualizers, and graphic designers support your efforts. Get in touch today.

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