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Centre for humanitarian data: connecting people and data to improve lives

05 Jan 2017


OCHA is establishing a Centre for Humanitarian Data to help people involved in humanitarian response have access to the data they need to make responsible and informed decisions

OCHA is establishing a Centre for Humanitarian Data in the Netherlands for an initial three year period, from 2017-2019. The Centre’s mission is to increase the use and impact of data in the humanitarian sector. The vision is to create a future where all people involved in a humanitarian situation have access to the data they need, when and how they need it, to make responsible and informed decisions.

The Centre is a key contribution towards the Secretary-General’s Agenda for Humanity under core commitment four -- changing the way we work to end need. As such, the Centre will support humanitarian partners and OCHA staff in the field and at headquarters with their data efforts. It will be part of the city of The Hague’s Humanity Hub, a dedicated building for organizations working on data and innovation in the social sector. The location offers OCHA and partners a new, neutral setting where a hybrid culture can be created around data collaboration. The Centre’s activities will accelerate the changes required for the humanitarian system to become data driven.

The Centre will have four primary focus areas:

Data Services

The Centre’s data services work will include: a) direct management of the Humanitarian Data Exchange and support to other platforms; b) data standards adoption, including for the Humanitarian Exchange Language and the International Aid Transparency Initiative; and c) data visualization and reporting.




Data Literacy

The Centre will offer in-person and remote training programmes for technical and non-technical users of data. The Centre will also manage a data fellows programme that will place data scientists and design researchers in partner organizations and OCHA offices to work alongside staff to build capacity




Data Policy

The Centre will lead OCHA’s data policy work and offer support to partners on using data responsibly. Safeguarding privacy and ensuring sensitive data is handled appropriately are critical issues for the humanitarian community as it becomes more data driven.




Network Engagement

The Centre will further build and engage an active community in support of its mission and objectives. We will do this by creating physical and virtual spaces to work together on data challenges and creating a transparent collaboration model for people, organizations and companies to engage with us.