In October 2021, CartONG engaged in its first ever partnership with the Crisis and Support Center (CDCS) of the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs (MEAE) regarding an initiative focused on the promotion of responsible data and data protection applied to humanitarian actors and settings over the November 2021 to October 2023 period. This first dedicated project on responsible data for CartONG is part of a new innovation fund of the CDCS aiming at supporting structuring humanitarian initiatives. CartONG will also finance part of the activities itself.
What is CDCS?
The Crisis and Support Center of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs is active 24/7. When a crisis occurs abroad, it protects French nationals and coordinates France’s emergency humanitarian assistance to help local populations.
The center was created in 2008 to bolster France’s ability to respond to crisis situations against a global backdrop of large-scale disasters, with an increasing number of French nationals living and traveling abroad.
It works actively during and also ahead of crises with anticipation, preparation, monitoring and warning missions to provide the quickest response possible. In post-crisis contexts, it supports countries that have been weakened by working to stabilize them. More details can be found here on their website and here in their brochure.
Collaboration and a field focus
Through this project, CartONG hopes to directly support a dozen French humanitarian actors in applying and implementing responsible data practices in their program data management and, consequently, improve the quality of their programs.
More specifically, the provided support aims at encompassing the entire chain of the data life cycle from data collection to the sharing of data, through the processing stages, analysis and destruction of such data.
Through this, the project ultimately seeks to ensure that:
In line with our values and the approach we take in many of our projects, this new initiative will be implemented in collaboration with other key actors of the sector.
A project in line with the activities undertaken by CartONG over the past few years
With this 2-year project, CartONG will be able to capitalize on the work conducted internally and in support of its existing partners since 2018 for the promotion and implementation of data responsibility, building on these first few years of acquired experience to advance responsible data practices within the aid sector as a whole.
Illustration from OCHA’s Centre for Humanitarian Data
Indeed, very early on, CartONG has had at heart to process data shared by its partners with care in a safe, responsible and ethical way. This has triggered many reflections and actions internally to comply with the EU GDPR while also developing best practices and helping our team switch to a new mindset. Thanks to the wide range of interactions we have with partners, in the last 4 years, we have acquired a keen and responsible practice of handling data at every stage of the project data cycle: from need assessment to data collection, from analysis to data visualization and from data storage to sharing, storing and archiving; through tools and methods set up and managed by our technical team. More recently, the promotion of responsible data within the aid sector was enshrined in our 2022-2024 Strategy as one of our priorities as a H2H Information Management actor.
We are very excited to be able to draw on these experiences and share our knowledge more widely, while continuing to build our expertise on this ever-evolving topic. This is even more the case, as there are still uncovered needs and an overall lack of expertise on the topic adapted to the aid sector. Too often, the responsible data is either tackled from a very legal perspective or a very technical one, while the topic is cross-cutting by nature and requires a holistic approach.
A quick panorama of the main activities
In practice, CartONG will be aiming at creating a community of practice for everyone in the humanitarian sector interested in the topic: a space for learning, sharing, discussing and building a momentum on the topic.
We will also curate and make relevant content available to aid organizations. In an overwhelming - mostly English-centered - literature sorting out what can be meaningful and useful for operational humanitarian actors can be rather challenging. CartONG will carry out such a technical and methodological watch, while also providing translation of key publications to ensure existing responsible data guidelines are accessible to a wider audience.
Finally, we will also support training efforts and develop materials to bring awareness and build capacity of HQ and field teams.
What’s coming up?
In these first months of implementation, our team is actively working on gathering and translating several existing resources into French. Check out the first few publications released on the IM Resource Portal:
More are to come in the second quarter of 2022!
We are also currently reflecting on the structure of the future dedicated responsible data toolbox that will be released onto the new Learning Corner on the IM Resource Portal, alongside our latest publications such as the Data Visualization and Data Analysis toolboxes.
With the participation of the Crisis and Support Center of the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs.
Want to learn more about this new project or see how you could get involved?
Please contact Maryline Chabanis, IM Project Manager and DPO at CartONG.