Working with marginalised communities on using data and technology in advocacy

by Maya GaneshDirk Slater and Beatrice Martini.

You are welcome anytime, you’re not like others who come with their own bag of potatoes

It’s with these words that the chair of Women’s Network for Unity (WNU), a sex worker collective based in Phnom Penh, thanked Maya Ganesh and Dirk Slater from Tactical Technology Collective for approaching the work with them with no assumptions or preconceived agenda, but eager to listen and develop their collaboration together.

Mutual trust and respect, real commitment to collaboration and flexibility are all essential elements to be responsibly equipped to work with a marginalised community. And they are not even enough. That’s why, together with Maya and Dirk, we decided to write about the experience as potato-less tech capacity builders, as we think it could greatly help other practitioners planning to collaborate with groups struggling to get their rights honoured and their voices heard.

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On data storytelling – and how to make it responsibly

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetPicture from the Responsible Data Storytelling session, by Beatrice Martini (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Thanks to Nasma Ahmed, Renee Black and Sarah Moncelle for collaborating on editing this blogpost.

Stories are a key element of knowledge, and as such fuel evidence and empowerment. They can help communicate problems and challenges we might not have experienced personally, but that are key to be aware of in order to inform our understanding and agency as active members of our societies.

A compelling way to tell stories is through data. Presented as numbers, percentages and visualisations, data can transmit a message directly and sharply, often also helping going beyond misunderstandings caused by language or tone unclarity in our communication.

But are all data good (as in “not harmful”)? Is “the more the merrier” the most helpful way to work with them? Spoiler alert: no, and no.

Continue reading On data storytelling – and how to make it responsibly