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Data Responsibility is our duty

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Technology is only adding value when it is not doing harm

The month of May has been a very intense one, with engagements, implementations, strategy development and new partnerships emerging at a rapid rate. As we strive to deliver a better product that will support teams and programmes to deliver better results for children, we must also be conscientious of the risks that gathering and managing sensitive data inherently entails. Working to do better while mitigating these risks is why we are here. A belief in the power of technology to good can drive us, inspire us and motivate us to create. But a desire and a commitment to do no harm - directly or indirectly - must be the mantra of our movement.

The Primero Team was invited to attend a UN OCHA-convened Wilton Park event - Data responsibility in humanitarian action: from principle to practice - in early May. The event provided a space for thought leaders and subject matter experts from a variety of fields and disciplines to come together and talk about strategies for moving from good practice principles to collective action. Check out this blog from OCHA's Center for Humanitarian Data Director, Sarah Telford, where she examines the notion of trust, and lays out the Center's strategy for promoting data responsibility across our humanitarian interventions.

Seeing the solidarity among peers at Wilton Park and taking part in the earnest exchange of ideas and opinions was a reinvigorating experience. Yes, the challenges are daunting. Yes, the needs are immense. But there are also some amazing people dedicating their lives to solving these challenges, and some great forward-looking institutions that are rallying organizations around more responsible data practices.

The Economist's Ken Cukier was also at the event to record an episode of the Babbage podcast: Data to the rescue: how humanitarian organisations use information. Worth a listen!

Finally, keep you eyes on this space... A new initiative is underway: Responsible Data for Children (RD4C) looks at data protection and data privacy through a child rights lens. RD4C aspires to generate easy-to-use public goods that will support those working with children to understand and mitigate risks and to protect children's privacy. Website and resources coming soon.

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