Big Data to Address Global Development Challenges (Paper Series)

These 4 research papers were developed in collaboration with and funded by the Agence française de développement (AFD) between 2016 and 2019 under a joint program with Data-Pop Alliance and research partners. The aim was to strengthen the evidence-base for leveraging Big Data to address global development challenges in local contexts. Individually, the papers show specific cases and examples of how computational analysis of behavioral data, combined with other datasets, can paint a finer-grained, more complex and dynamic picture of human reality than ‘traditional’ data allows, while also calling for prudence when attempting to draw system-wide conclusions on the basis of their findings. Collectively, they sketch the contours of a world where public decisions, in the form of policies and programs, may someday be designed, implemented and evaluated using the best available data and approaches.

Paper 1: Socio-Physical Vulnerability To Flooding In Senegal: An Exploratory Analysis With New Data & Google Earth Engine

Paper 2: Characterizing and Analyzing Urban Dynamics In Bogota

Paper 3: Understanding The Relationship Between Short and Long Term Mobility 

Paper 4: The Impact of Crime Shocks Across Gender and Socioeconomic Groups: A Large-scale Mapping Of Behavioral Disruption



Bessie Schwarz, Beth Tellman, Jonathan Sullivan, Catherine Kuhn, Richa Mahtta, Bhartendu Pandey, Laura Hammett, Gabriel Pestre, Marco De Nadai, Emmanuel Letouzé, Martha C. González, Bruno Lepri, Sveta Milusheva, Elisabeth zu Erbach-Schoenberg, Linus Bengtsson, Erik Wetter, Andy Tatem, Rodrigo Lara Molina, Alejandro Noriega, Eaman Jahani, Julie Ricard, Alex "Sandy" Pentland

Partner Organization(s)

Cloud to Street,, French Development Agency - AFD, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, MIT Media Lab



Project Report

Stratégie Nationale des Données du Sénégal – Résumé

En 2023, DPA a fourni un soutien technique à l’élaboration de la

Project Report

Community-Based Social Protection Mechanisms in Africa’s Borderlands – Liberia and Sierra Leone Case Study

The report on “Community-based social protection mechanisms in Africa’s borderlands – Liberia

Annual Report

Overview and Outlook 2022-2024

10 YEARS IN REVIEW: A LETTER FROM OUR DIRECTOR Finding appropriate metrics

Project Report

Review of Technology-Based Interventions to Address Child Marriage and Female Genital Mutilation

The need to end child marriage and FGM with innovative and impactful

Journal Article

Using Facebook Advertising Data to Describe the Socio-Economic Situation of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

While the fighting in the Syrian civil war has mostly stopped, an