In simple terms, Data for Good is a project where ‘Data’ is analyzed in the hope of findings insights and/or solutions for social and/or humanitarian problems, or in other words, for a ‘Good’ cause. Data scientists recruited for these projects are often volunteers, with a main objective of helping and, improving their skills. The results of these projects are used to help not-for-profits (NFPs) and/or non-government organizations (NGOs) with their operation.
The data for these projects are either collected via the government or during the operations of each NFPs/NGOs. Data scientists will then use a wide range of tools, for example, programming languages, such as Python or R; and other visualization tools, such as interactive charts/maps; to turn the data in comprehensive information and draw insights about the objectives of the project.
Some examples of communities and projects
There have been many kinds of projects around the globe, from analyzing the crime hotspots in cities to insights on an illness spreading behavior, and even the donation trends of an organization’s sponsors. Every year, conferences are set up for the sharing the knowledge and/or the findings of projects, such as the Data for Good Exchange or Data4Good Conference. Even though the communities may be young, there’ve been a lot of projects with many new tools and insights to help with humanitarian causes.
In one of the Data for Good conference, run by Bloomberg, there were many ideas shared and collaboration formed on the how to use data for good. Noticeably, one of these projects is a partnership between UNICEF and Bloomberg to the combat against child labor issues by using financial data in the supply chain of companies.
While there are not many ‘Data for Good’ projects based in Vietnam, many projects from abroad have included Vietnam’s data in its analysis. One example is the project named The Gates Foundation: Opportunity & Education for All. In one of its analysis, the Gates Foundation has found that even with a low GDP, Vietnam has a higher standardized test score. With these results, the Gates Foundation was able to look into Vietnamese teaching tactics in order to help low-income countries with their education programs.
And why it could work in Vietnam
Vietnam’s digital and technology landscape is increasingly expanding among its population and businesses. And with that, NFPs and NGOs have more ways to collect the data necessary for their operations, and further increase the impact of its movement. These projects can also be the gateway for these NFPs/NGOs to learn the way they can collect effective and relevant data in their works, thus increasing the quality of the results of their projects.
‘Data for Good’ projects can initiate a new wave of data scientists in Vietnam to experience and improve their skills, while also providing help to the society. These projects will become a new playground for the data scientist to analyze data more effectively and innovate more ways to visualize their insights.
There are some initiatives in the Data for Good movement in Vietnam right now. AWS Hackdays: "Hack For Good", organized by Amazon, is a South East Asian focused competition for builders who want to make a positive impact on the society. Teams can use a wide range of technology, from Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning / Internet of Things (IoT) to just Data Analytics or Modern Applications, to create new solutions to one of the following topics: HealthTech, AgriTech, Smart City and FinTech. All levels of technical backgrounds are welcome to participate, so this is a great chance to createconnections with others in your fields and also improve your skills while making a positive solution to social problems.
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