Bridging Data Gaps at Sub-National Level: A Case of Kayunga and Masindi Districts, Uganda

April 30, 2024


Eubert Espira

Monitoring, Evaluation and Data Systems Specialist


The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure universal peace and prosperity by 2030 for all people. Goal 8 promotes sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all, while goal 10 promotes reduced inequality within and among countries.

While most African countries have made progress over the last decades towards achieving SGD 8 and 10, much of the work to monitor the advancement of these goals has focused on strengthening national statistical systems that provide data for national-level decision-making.

In most of these countries, service delivery for critical social sectors is devolved to sub-national administrative units. Here, budget and program implementation decisions are made, including personnel recruitment, purchase of goods and services, and actual service delivery, with the national level providing policy direction and financial resources. Given this decentralized form of service delivery, monitoring progress and tracking performance for evidence-based decision-making, particularly at sub-national levels, which automatically have similar effects at national levels, is important.

Since 2020, APHRC, in collaboration with Development Initiatives, has been implementing the Gates Data System project, which aims to strengthen national and sub-national data systems to address the data demand and supply needs in Burkina Faso, Niger, Senegal, and Uganda.

In Uganda, efforts to enhance sub-national data systems have borne positive results through initiatives such as the design and implementation of NextCloud, a cloud computing platform, that has helped address challenges related to data management and accessibility. Additionally, a dashboard that provides access to easy-to-use data analytics and infographics for key indicators in Kayunga and Masindi districts has helped to bridge the data gaps.

Several staff members in Kayunga and Masindi have benefited from the capacity-building and skills activities implemented as part of this project. So far, two training phases have been completed, including basic and advanced skills for data analysis and management using MS Excel information technology (IT) skills for data systems administration and technical management for district IT staff. 

Kiiza Monica, the District Education Officer in Kayunga, stated, “The implementation of NextCloud has enhanced collaboration between the education department and other agencies, contributing to improved coordination and information exchange. Furthermore, the project has sparked discussions on expanding the platform to involve school headteachers, thereby enhancing data collection and dissemination at the grassroots level.”

Babyesiza Robert, a Parish Chief, noted that NextCloud is helping reduce the stress associated with daily requests for data/documents, including those he previously submitted. He can now store data in NextCloud, where it is accessible to people who make repeated requests for the same files. Parish chiefs and Community Development Officers in Masindi who are at the forefront of data collection are now better positioned to collect and use the data they collect at the parish and sub-county levels. 

Kaahwa Andrew, the acting Community Development Officer for the Bulima sub-county in the Masindi district, shared that the Datahub dashboard helps show users where the visualization of analyzed data resides without looking for it in hard copy records. The Gates Data System project has also supported districts with capacity building for staff, interns, and university students on the data life cycle: collection, cleaning, management, and analysis.

Dr. Mugabi David, Kayunga District Production Officer, said, “With the new skills and knowledge on pivot tables and data analysis using Excel, I am confident in data  analysis.” 

The Gates Data System project has indeed made significant strides in helping to bridge data gaps and improve data processing efficiency across various stakeholders in Uganda.