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Trends in Humanitarian Data: Data Availability and Quality during COVID-19 and Effects on Humanitarian Organizations - COVID-19 Situation Analysis Project

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Executive Summary

The global spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has had devastating impacts on populations already in the grips of humanitarian crises. In Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, and Syria, the pandemic has multiplied threats to civilian populations, exacerbated humanitarian needs, and impacted the availability of rigorous data from which to plan effective aid responses.

To reduce public health risks, governments and humanitarian organizations have had to adhere to strict guidelines that have resulted in halting or slowing down the movement of aid workers and supplies. This has forced data collection teams to adapt their methodologies to ensure they can get timely and accurate information on the pressing needs of the communities they aim to serve.

This report analyses how the COVID-19 has altered the humanitarian data landscape in each of the six case study countries and explores the challenges faced by organizations in terms of impacts on data collection, data quality, and data availability. This report is informed by a rigorous review of secondary data and a series of semi-structured key informant interviews conducted between July – September 2021.

The paper highlights that COVID-19 has presented obstacles and challenges that, despite best efforts, have prevented organizations from producing the same amount of quality data as they did prior to the outbreak of the pandemic.