September 26, 2015

Announcing SDG Tracker – Keeping tabs on the Global Goals


logoThe Open Institute team is proud to release the alpha version of SDG Tracker – a dashboard for tracking the progress we will make on the Sustainable Development Goals. World leaders are today expected to commit to these 17 goals that aim to especially achieve three main things: Eliminate extreme poverty, Fight inequality and injustice and address climate change – in every country.

We believe that these goals will only get public traction if citizens and civil society understand them well, are involved in their implementation and ultimately can track the money – revenues, expenditures and impact to establish whether it’s leading to improved public services such as schools, hospitals, roads, etc.

As the world leaders agree on these goals, citizens must be empowered to play their part to determine the ways that these goals shall be achieved. Indeed, the potential power of citizens is underscored when one considers that over 65% of Africa’s population is under 35 years of age and 200 million youth are aged between 15 and 24. In addition, half of the African population consists of women, many of whom are marginalised in many ways – from the quality of healthcare that they have access to, to land that they farm but cannot own.

As we reflected on the SDGs, the questions that have plagued our team include: how do we know that we are making progress? More importantly, how do ordinary citizens know that we are making progress? As our team studied the targets and indicators agreed on in past discussions by other stakeholders, including the Open Working Group at the UN, we decided to quickly gather the data relating to the various indicators so as to better understand them. This had soon progressed to the process of building visualisations to show case the data.

SDGTracker is an Open Institute ‘side-nyake’ (Kiswahili slang for side projects). We do side-Nyake projects because we think their are fun, because they help us to strengthen our knowledge in different aspects – data, code and most importantly the subject matter (in this case, we all have learnt a lot of detail about the sustainable development goals).

SDGTracker is currently in alpha. We are still working on it. We still have much yet to do to curate data, to code, to improve the data visualisations, to get more data (See the data we currently have on the Data Catalogue). If you have some skills that you would like to share in any respect, please do contact us – the more the merrier.

SDGTracker is for us an exercise in applied learning to enable us to internalise the SDGs further and be part of  have conversations about how to monitor the sustainable development goals over the next 15 years. We welcome the partnership of other organisations who care about this issue (and who may know more about it than us) to help improve this tool.

As the world commits to the 17 goals, we recommit ourselves also to them and in particular, to Goal 16, in which a lot of our work lies.

And we hope that you – yes, you will come forth and be part of making it work.

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