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Aid Agencies’ Use of Big Data in Human-​Centred Design for Monitoring and Evaluation

To increase resiliency and prevent only ad-hoc responses to crises, it is critical to identify, adapt and implement risk management practices

Both monitoring and evaluation (M&E) and Big Data approaches face structural deficits related to a lack of focus on the end user or beneficiary. Unchecked, there is a danger that this will further exacerbate the levels of mistrust in fragile contexts. To be of use in fragile contexts, Big Data approaches need to help M&E try to recapture the essential element that is being lost between organisations and governments working in fragile contexts and the beneficiaries of their work, i.e. trust.

Big Data are often characterised by the so-​called 3Vs, i.e., (i) the volume of data, (ii) the variety in types of data, and (iii) the velocity at which the data is processed. However, in fragile contexts it is becoming increasingly clear that the one common challenge facing both M&E and Big Data is that of validation. Any attempt to enhance M&E with Big Data approaches will therefore require a stronger focus on beneficiary validation through feedback loops that consistently secure beneficiaries’ participation.

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