Using Digital Dashboards to Inform Decision-Making
Advanced technologies for data management are an essential tool for ensuring informed decision-making. Data is usually created and reported from many different sources. Effective tools for synthesizing data improve accuracy, good analyses, and the ability to visualize what the data means, enhancing evidence-informed decision-making. Digital “interactive’” dashboards are one such tool, providing an excellent vehicle to visualize data. A dashboard can accurately summarize all the findings to properly communicate results to decision-makers.
ME&A has provided data collection, management, analysis, and visualization solutions for USAID operating units across the world through ESRI Geographic Information System (GIS) technology. Collecting primary and secondary socioeconomic and environmental data linked to USAID activities is of great importance, especially for monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL). Presenting data through interactive visuals (including maps and statistical graphics) allows USAID operating units to assess evaluation questions to better inform decisions for planning/programing activities.
By using web-based digital dashboards, ME&A has recently provided USAID with interactive tools for MEL purposes in El Salvador, Bangladesh, Tanzania, and Rwanda. These instruments are based on GIS technology and relate spatial data with context indicators, such as crime incidents, health facilities and services, schooling, irregular migration, forestry and agriculture, labor force, etc. The use of interactive maps linked to statistical graphics, such as bar charts and pie charts, has helped bring understanding to the spatial distribution of given indicators and how they performed over time. In this sense, USAID can make decisions for allocating resources and programming interventions in a manner that best provides solutions to countries’ challenges.
Following are a few examples of ME&A’s products that supported USAID Missions’ decision-making in El Salvador, Bangladesh, Tanzania, and Rwanda.
ME&A through its home office and field offices worldwide is committed to continuing to support USAID decision-makers in improving evidence-based decision-making. We will continue to provide accurate data management and visualization to support USAID in making more effective decisions in allocating resources and programming interventions.
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Ricky Perez Leon brings to ME&A more than 20 years of geospatial expertise. A GIS analyst in ME&A’s Monitoring, Learning, and Adapting (MEL) practice area, he provides geospatial services to ME&A’s clients as well as training and capacity-building within ME&A. He holds an M.S. in Management and Conservation of Tropical Forests from the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza or CATIE) in Costa Rica.