Data Analysis • Data Visualization • Reporting • Web Development • Data Integration & Management • Data Curation and Repository Management • Data Governance • Data Privacy Support • Data Literacy Training • Change Management • Communications
DevTech has been working as USAID Data Services’ prime contractor since 2018. The project is a follow-on to the Economic Analysis and Data Services (EADS) contract that DevTech held from 2007-2018.
The objective of the contract, known as ADVISE—Analytics, Data, Visualization, and Information Services—is to improve the usage of USAID data and information so that the Agency continues to ensure its development outcomes are supported by evidence. Through USAID Data Services, the DevTech team is responsible for devising, implementing, and overseeing the strategies, processes, technologies, and services required for a data-driven culture to thrive at USAID. The team also provides on demand services to respond to USAID staff needs across all phases of the data lifecycle.
Our Approach and Achievements
DevTech’s five core areas of work under the ADVISE contract include 1) Data Integration and Management; 2) Data Curation and Repository Standards; 3) Data Governance, Rights, and Privacy Standards; 4) Data Analysis, Visualization, and Reporting; 5) Communications and Capacity Building. Achievements and information about our approach to implementing activities across each of these areas of work are included below.
- Data Integration and Management
DevTech has been supporting data integration at USAID for over a decade through its role in supporting federal government-wide reporting of U.S. foreign assistance financial data. Through USAID Data Services, DevTech has also been assisting the Agency in establishing master data to further integrate databases independently built over the years by various Agency Bureaus for monitoring and reporting of USAID activities. This effort has already borne fruit in facilitating the recent reorganization of USAID’s Operating Units. The team has also assisted the Agency in introducing new software and tools to facilitate the establishment of appropriate data quality controls.
- Data Curation and Repository Standards
Through USAID Data Services, DevTech is responsible for managing the USAID Library, USAID’s Development Experience Clearinghouse, which houses half a century of U.S. international aid records, and USAID’s Development Data Library, which provides access to USAID-funded, machine-readable data. In addition to providing assistance in research and locating resources, the Data Curation and Repository Standards team works to ensure that all digital and physical information resources are properly processed and made ready for publication through the implementation of stringent data quality and risk assessment procedures.
- Data Governance and Privacy
DevTech’s Data Governance, Rights and Privacy experts at USAID Data Services support USAID on the structuring and formalizing of governance, policy, procedures, guidance, and standards on data management at the Agency with the objective of ensuring data value, transparency, security, and reliability. Whether reviewing new legislation and federal mandates for any needed adjustments to Agency regulations or providing support to the Agency’s governing Data Board, DevTech’s¬ Data Services team has played a central role in facilitating the development of policy and guidelines for the Agency’s data-related priority areas, including artificial intelligence and data privacy and security. The team has also been instrumental in establishing processes and procedures at USAID for risk mitigation measures to minimize disclosure threats in critical categories, such as personally identifiable information or sensitive financial information.
- Data Analysis, Visualization, and Reporting
As USAID Data Services’ prime contractor, DevTech is responsible for overseeing a number of authoritative, integrated reports and platforms, such as USAID’s Enterprise Reporting Portal or ForeignAssistance.gov (a collaborative effort with the State Department), which compiles official financial and foreign assistance data from across the U.S. Government to respond to Congressional and other reporting requirements. DevTech’s team of experienced data analysts, statisticians, and economists have provided Data Services with support in data selection, cleaning, analysis, and visualization for a variety of Agency research and reporting initiatives. This has entailed selecting indicators and standardizing data from third party sources, creating charts and graphics, conducting analysis, and writing reports. For example, USAID Data Services releases updated Country Profiles on a bi-annual basis. These reports contain compiled statistical information on select developing countries, which are presented in a clear and concise “Profile” format. The team also builds cutting-edge, data-supported web applications and produces interactive, easy-to-update, customized dashboards using tools like Tableau and D3 (for example, the IDEA Country Dashboard).
- Communications and Capacity Building
DevTech’s Communications and Capacity Building experts on the USAID Data Services team are driven by the understanding that awareness of data resources and the capacity to engage with data throughout the data lifecycle is what drives success. Through the coordination of essential training and capacity building with outreach mechanisms, USAID Data Services has a proven track record of supporting staff in getting the most out of their data and information. This team is behind an ongoing USAID training program on data literacy, analysis, and visualization that adopts a blended training approach utilizing eLearning, virtual, and in-person (when available) training methods and incorporates best practices in adult learning and distance learning. Specifically, this program supports building data management capacity across the Agency and fosters a culture of evidence-based learning.
— CPAR 2020
Success Story - Master COVID-19 Accompaniment Tool for Analysis (MCDATA)
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, USAID’s COVID Task Force and their COVID Analytics Team turned to DevTech’s experts within the USAID Data Services contract to produce a master dataset and resource hub to allow USAID staff to undertake analysis supporting COVID-related programmatic decision-making.
Following the successful launch of the COVID master dataset and resource hub, staff from both USAID and DevTech began to recognize the need for a product that would allow USAID staff to engage more easily and deeply with the available data. Rather than asking USAID staff to analyze the COVID dataset and resources on their own, USAID tasked DevTech’s Data Services team with developing the Master COVID-19 Dataset Accompaniment Tool for Analysis (MCDATA). The MCDATA tool is designed to allow users to visualize the data in the master dataset, providing staff with consistent and straightforward answers to commonly asked questions, such as “What are the expected economic impacts of, and key economic vulnerabilities to COVID-19 for my country?” or “How have government lockdown measures and population mobility evolved over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic?”
DevTech’s Data Services team created a series of connected Tableau dashboards with a user-friendly “Table of Contents” navigational page, hosted on USAID’s internal Tableau server. The tool directs users to dashboards designed to specifically address the common questions that Missions have, both on the first-order (direct) and second-order (indirect) impacts of COVID-19. Dashboards are updated twice a week and pull case data from Johns Hopkins University, mobility data from Google, and lockdown data from the University of Oxford.
MCDATA helps guide USAID’s COVID-related decisions, including those concerning funding and COVAX—a global initiative with the objective of ensuring equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. In keeping with USAID Data Services’ broader goals, MCDATA greatly increases the accessibility of COVID data made available through the master dataset, resource hub, and other raw data and information sources. As the needs of USAID’s Missions and Operating Units evolve in tandem with the pandemic, DevTech’s Data Services will continue to develop new dashboards and views to keep up to date with changing requirements.
Following the introducing MCDATA, DevTech’s Data Services team was asked to support on the development of the Inter-agency Dashboard, designed to track progress on five objectives laid out in the White House’s U.S. COVID-19 Global Response and Recovery Framework, as well as the Quad Partnership COVID-19 Dashboard, launched at the Quad Leaders’ Summit hosted at the White House on September 24th, 2021. The dashboard received glowing reviews from meeting participants, including heads of government and their staff, for its creative and thoughtful presentation of information.