Webinar Series
Open Learning Hub
Additional Materials

Data-Pop Alliance’s professional training program focuses on knowledge and capacity-building on Big Data, sustainable development and the digital economy. The program includes a series of training workshops, dedicated to professionals involved in development work and policymaking in the Global South, a webinar series,and an e-library of curated resources to be launched early 2018.


This program is an operational effort to promote data literacy and tools to engage in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We define data literacy as the “the desire and ability to engage constructively in society through and with data”. To this end, Data-Pop Alliance seeks to foster a people-centered Big Data revolution by helping to shape the emerging Big Data ecosystem in ways that promote social progress and citizen empowerment across the globe.


This series of training workshops is taking place through 2016 to 2018 in Brazil, Colombia, Kenya, Mexico, Senegal, Thailand, the United States, and others, leveraging the resources of our extended network of partners, Research Affiliates, team members and leadership at MIT and Harvard, as well as bringing in local experts from academia and other sectors.



Data for Sustainable Development
Developed and delivered in partnership with the UNSSC Knowledge Centre for Sustainable Development, as a part of its SD Talks Special Series initiative, this webinar series aims to examine the critical role that data can play in achieving sustainable development.

Learn more about the webinar series here.


Data-Pop Alliance is developing new resources to empower professionals and citizens to realize the promise of the Data Revolution and progress towards the SDGs. In 2018 we will be launching an e-library of curated resources about Big Data and Sustainable Development. In addition, we are leading the capacity building and community engagement components of the Open Algorithms (OPAL) project pilots in Senegal and Colombia.

Learn more about OPAL Project here.

These three-day workshops are dedicated to policy makers and development practitioners,
including UN staff, public officials, and civil society representatives; as well as professionals from the private and academic sectors.


Designed for professionals who have a role in defining how data can drive social progress, the workshops challenge participants to engage with data through policy, public services and programs, technology products, and more. We aim to better equip attendees to work with data scientists and other stakeholders to design and execute data-driven interventions towards sustainable development projects, and as private citizens. Over the course of three days, participants, faculty and workshop facilitators work together to understand how to build and contribute to inclusive Big Data innovation projects, policies, partnerships, and innovations in their work and daily lives.


The workshops are structured around 4 key dimensions of data literacy:

  1. Decode key terms and buzzwords in the Big Data and development landscape
  2. Discuss Big Data within the broader political context of the post-2015 sustainable development framework and data for social good
  3. Translate development problems into specific data objectives
  1. Understand existing methods and tools used to leverage Big Data
  2. Assess data representativeness, biases, and insights within Big Data approaches and methods
  3. Identify applicable tools by assessing the value add of Big Data for specific development problems
  1. Identify individual and organizational objectives towards a Big Data strategy
  2. Understand how to operationalize Big Data as projects, partnerships, and policies
  3. Recognize organizational and individual next steps towards Big Data applications
  1. Identify models for prioritizing inclusivity, transparency, and accountability in data public-private-people partnerships
  2. Articulate and assess ethical, privacy, and legal implications of Big Data applications
  3. Understand key principles for effective data communication and storytelling


Leveraging Big Data for Sustainable Development, with the United Nations System Staff College (UNSSC)

In partnership with UNSSC, this series of courses aims to help practitioners and policy-makers to develop and implement Big Data innovation projects, policies, and partnerships in support of sustainable development objectives. Three editions have been delivered in Cambridge at MIT (June 2016), Bogotá (December 2016) and Nairobi (June 2017). Next editions include Dakar (March 2018), Bangkok (March 2018), Addis Ababa, Istanbul and MIT.

Big Data and the Digital Economy, with the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)

In partnership with ECLAC, we offer a series of workshops more squarely focused on Big Data and the Digital Economy in the Latin American and the Caribbean region for UN and governmental staff and civil society members. Three editions have been delivered in Santiago de Chile (March 2016), São Paulo (September 2017) and Mexico City (October 2017). A fourth workshop will be held in Bogotá (Q1 2018).

Developed and delivered in partnership with the UNSSC Knowledge Centre for Sustainable Development, as a part of its SD Talks Special Series initiative, this webinar series aims to examine the critical role that data can play in achieving sustainable development.


UNSSC and Data-Pop Alliance have launched the Data for Sustainable Development webinar series as a step towards increasing data literacy against the backdrop of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The aim is to build capacity of relevant stakeholders and development practitioners to effectively use data to measure progress on the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The series will equip participants with knowledge and understanding of the concept of Big Data, global partnership mechanisms for sustainable development data and best practices for data innovation. It also intends to provide useful insights to UN country teams and partners for strengthening statistical capacities of National Statistical Offices (NSOs).


SESSION 1 // Emmanuel Letouzé

‘Big Data: What is it and how can it contribute to Sustainable Development?’
Data-Pop Alliance founder and co-director, Dr. Emmanuel Letouzé unpacks the theory and concept behind Big Data and explore the role of Big Data for achieving sustainable development.

More information here.

SESSION 2 // Claire Melamed

‘Partnership for Sustainable Development Data’
Dr. Claire Melamed, Executive Director of Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data (GPSDD) disusses the importance of partnering around data to strengthen inclusivity, trust and innovation in the way that data is used to address the world’s sustainable development efforts.

More information here.

SESSION 3 // Nuria Oliver

‘Leveraging (Mobile) Data to Predict and Prevent Crime’
Data-Pop Alliance Chief Data Scientist, Dr Nuria Oliver introduces a novel approach to predict crime in a geographic space from multiple data sources, particularly from mobile phones and demographics. Law enforcement officers can also effectively prevent crimes by using aggregated and anonymized human behavioural data derived from mobile network infrastructure.

More information here.

SESSION 4 // Rebecca Furst-Nichols & Bapu Vaitla

Bapu Vaitla

‘Big Data and the Global Gender Gap: The Promises and Perils of Digital Information’
The webinar featured Rebecca Furst-Nichols (Deputy Director) and Bapu Vaitla (Fellow) of Data2X, a collaborative technical and advocacy initiative hosted by the United Nations Foundation that works to improve production and use of global gender data. The webinar introduced the concept of gender data, explaining how data on women and girls can be leveraged to promote gender equality, alleviate poverty, and advance development progress. It explored the opportunities and risks of gender data use, and its implications for girls’ and women’s lives and realities. The webinar was moderated by Ugo Caruso, Digital Team Lead, UNSSC Knowledge Centre for Sustainable Development.

More information here.

SD Talks Special Series on Data for Sustainable Development: ‘Big data and the global gender gap - the from UNSSC on Vimeo.

Additional sessions will be announced shortly.

The “Big Data & Sustainable Development Open Learning Hub” is an open platform created by Data-Pop Alliance and the Knowledge Center for Sustainable Development of the United Nations Staff College (UNSSC). Our goal is to cultivate a global community of practice through an open and free interactive learning platform, to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and capacity-building about Big Data and Sustainable Development.


  1. Click HERE
  2. Register and create your profile
  3. Look under the section Invited Boards to access the learning hub


This is an open and free social learning environment. It will build on regular contributions from fellows from our previous professional training workshops as well as our academic advisors and team members. The first module, ‘Data-Driven Society’, was developed with inputs from Prof. Alex ‘Sandy’ Pentland, MIT [Media Lab | Sloan Business School | Institute for Data, Systems and Society] and Data-Pop Alliance Academic Advisor. The following modules scheduled for the first year of the platform are as follows:

training schedule

The Toolkit

The Toolkit Leveraging Big Data for Sustainable Development" is a comprehensive learning material developed by Data-Pop Alliance, addressing all the topics covered during the workshop. It is structured around the four key dimensions, or “building blocks” of data literacy, for developing practical data literacy skills for practitioners and policy-makers to build inclusive Big Data-driven innovation projects, policies and partnerships. You can download the full Toolkit here.

The 3Cs of Big Data