Data Literacy

Data-Pop Alliance’s second pillar of work is designed in a multi-disciplinary approach to answer a growing call for resources and a framework to define Data Literacy. For about a decade, we have lived through the so-called Data Revolution: most of our actions and interactions as humans are mediated or captured by digital devices and services. These leave a digital trace and are translated into digital data. Our lives and societies are not just increasingly digitalized; they are ‘datafied”. In spite of being in the midst of a data deluge, and recognizing that data is said to be the most valuable resource of the century, a comprehensive understanding of what data literacy is remains undefined.

Data-Pop Alliance has defined and seeks to promote “data literacy” as “the desire and ability to constructively engage in society through or about data.”

To this end, DPA has developed a framework and tools to establish core competencies towards becoming data literate. They are defined around the ‘4 building blocks of data literacy’: Context and Concepts, Design and Strategy, Methods and Tools and Ethics and Engagement. These building blocks form the basis of our professional training workshops

Context & Concepts

Methods & Tools

Design & Strategy

Ethics & Engagement

Training Workshops

This ongoing series of training workshops have taken place in Brazil, Colombia, Kenya, Mexico, Senegal, Thailand, Tunisia, the United States, and others, with the objective of equipping participants with the tools needed to understand and leverage Big Data in their work. These workshops are conducted with 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. 

Technical Tutorials

As part of our 3-day trainings, one day is dedicated to a hands-on technical tutorial. Participants are guided step-by-step through practical applications of the stages of data use:

Examples of past Technical Tutorials include “Leveraging satellite imagery for SDG Tier II monitoring” and “Web-scraping and the square meter index – assessing purchase power in Latin America”. These sessions have also been adapted to shorter tutorials, as part of events organized by our partners.


EmpoderaData, from the Spanish word empoderar or “to empower”, is a project jointly launched by Data-Pop Alliance and the University of Manchester (UoM). It builds upon the success of the Q-Step program. Q-Step, for “Quantitative Step”, was developed as a strategic response to the shortage of quantitatively-skilled social science graduates in the United Kingdom, and UoM is one of 15 centers taking part in a £19.5 million program designed to promote a step-change in quantitative social science training. UoM, jointly with Data-Pop Alliance is looking to expand this program to Latin America.

Webinar Series

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.

Open Learning Hub

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. 

Big Data in Agriculture Online Course

Data-Pop Alliance (DPA) has joined forces with the CGIAR and TechChange to launch an Online Course on Big Data in Agriculture, aiming at equipping agriculture and food security researchers from varied social and geographical backgrounds. The first edition of the course is planned to start in late spring 2020.

Additional Materials

Take a closer look at the learning materials developed by Data-Pop Alliance to empower professionals and citizens to realize the promise of the Data Revolution and progress towards the SDGs. Stay tuned, we have more coming!