In the Maldives, a nation of half million people dispersed over more than 1,000 islands, the migration rate, both of foreign workers and people moving towards the greater Male’ area, is expected to continue to increase in the coming decades. Against this backdrop and building on the unique breadth and depth of expertise of our work in the region, DPA’s projects have focused on gaining better insights into the use of mobile data to understand mobility patterns. More recently, we are leveraging that knowledge to assess the demographic and economic impact of COVID-19 in the country.


Human Mobility and Population Density in the Maldives

In the SDG sphere, the first condition for impactful measuring is to have detailed information about a country’s population through census, which remains a challenge in many contexts, usually being time-consuming and expensive. Having an estimate of human mobility patterns and trends that reflect the temporal and geographical dimensions is an invaluable step to provide new insights for effective public policies. 

In this context, to analyze population density and movement patterns, our partners at FBK developed a prototype that leverages the use of Call Detail Records (CDRs) and new data analytics techniques by utilizing the temporal dynamics derived from mobile data, while preserving the anonymity of mobile phone users. This allowed to conduct specific analysis that revealed interesting insights on the population of Male’. To learn more, visit the project’s webpage. 


Leveraging Big Data Sources to Estimate the Demographic and Economic Impacts and Implications of the COVID-19 Epidemic in Maldives

In partnership with the UNFPA and working closely with the National Bureau of Statistics of Maldives, this project seeks to leverage big data sources, such as the mobile phone records (CDRs) and official statistics (household surveys) to provide data and study the effects of COVID-19 mobility restrictions on the population dynamics and mobility in the country. The study also analyzes the intricate relationships between attitudes, actual behaviour and socio-economic background in the Maldives by combining NBS survey data with movement patterns in a privacy-preserving manner. One of the main objectives of the project is to set a new benchmark for innovative application of mobile phone analytics in the Maldives and beyond as a way to address population needs and monitor the impacts of shocks and stressors.

The outputs of this projects include 1) an analysis and policy paper with recommendations synthesizing key insights on the population dynamics obtained through CDR analysis and outlining applications towards advancement of 5 SDGs, and 2) a capacity building toolkit and ‘how-to” guide for using innovative data analytics methodologies, collection and analysis of alternative sources of data. 

More information on the outcomes of the project will be published here soon.