28 Sep 2017

The Social Good Summit: What Impact Do Future Generations Have on the SDGs?

The stage opened to the first-ever Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman, reciting her original poem, “The Gathering Place.” The poem perfectly captured the importance of youth in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and what the summit was about: “gathering to do good, so the world might be great.”

On Sept 17, 2017, the United Nations Foundation, United Nations Development Programme, 92nd Street Y, and Mashable teamed up to bring the Social Good Summit back to New York City. The summit gathered together world leaders, global health advocates, social influencers, and artists from all over the world to discuss how we can positively impact future generations, and how technology and innovation can work to make the world better by 2030 through the achievements of the SDGs.

Amanda Gorman was not the only young person to present at the Social Good Summit. Muzoon Al-Mellehan, 19-years-old and the youngest UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, discussed how children are the foundation of communities and that “without education, we are nothing.” Youth Observer to the United Nations (UN), Munira Khalif, shared her thoughts on the importance of having meaningful engagement with young people and that bringing them to the table will make progress on the Global Goals.

Youth action was again put in the spotlight when 18-year-old Angela Jiang, Girl Up Teen Advisor, had a conversation with musician Madame Gandhi on using social media as a platform to control your own narrative. Khaled Khatib, a 22-year-old cameraman for the Syria Civil Defense, used film as his platform to share stories of how his organization, The White Helmets, saved over 99,000 lives.

Youth today come in many forms, from artists to advocates to leaders. The Social Good Summit showed the world that anyone, big or small, can make a change for the better.

But youth were not the only ones to bring inspiration to future generations. Jayathma Wickramanayake, the UN Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth, and Caryl M. Stern, President and CEO of UNICEF USA, reiterated the importance of giving youth a voice and unlocking their potential to making the world a better place. Even award-winning actress, Whoopi Goldberg, encouraged everyone of all ages to take part.

Not only have young people made their presence known at the Social Good Summit, but also in the data we collect. The DHS Program interviews youth age 15-24 on all DHS survey topics with a special focus on reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, gender issues, and education.

So what can you do to get started helping global youth gain a platform to speak? Get informed. Start with STATcompiler to compare trends in youth indicators across 90+ countries. Let’s continue to make progress in sustainable development through exploration of technology and digital media to make the world a better place by the year 2030.

If you missed the live event, you can relive the entire summit on Mashable’s Livestream page.

Photo caption: Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman, opens the 2017 Social Good Summit in New York with a poem. (Photo from the Social Good Summit Live Stream)

07 Sep 2017

Providing Geospatial Covariate Data for Use with DHS Datasets

When users of The DHS Program’s survey data request access to our geospatial data, they usually do so with the intention of linking survey cluster location data to outside datasets – such as rainfall measurements, population density, and distance to road networks. These additional data, when coupled with geographic location, are known as spatial covariates and may shed light on the impact of location on health outcomes. However, linking these covariates to geographic data can often be a challenge as multiple sources of these covariate data exist, often with varying quality. It can be difficult for researchers to know which data source will provide the covariate data that will best complement the GPS cluster data they acquire from The DHS Program.

Having recognized both the demand for DHS geospatial data and the subsequent challenge in linking them to spatial covariates, the DHS Geospatial team endeavored to prepare and make a freely available set of standardized geospatial covariate datasets which do away with the need for linking to clusters’ GPS location data. This allows individuals with little to no Geographic Information Systems (GIS) experience to conduct geospatial statistical analysis in software such as STATA, SAS, or SPSS. Even experienced GIS analysts may benefit from these datasets as they no longer have to take the time to source the proper covariate data and link them to cluster GPS data themselves.

After gathering data from users and experts, we identified the covariates that are most commonly used in published literature in conjunction with The DHS Program’s survey data, that included key topic areas. Further, we reached out to users to get a sense of how they would potentially utilize and benefit from a set of spatial covariates prepared in-house. As a result of these two activities, we identified dozens of potential covariates that are used or that users would like to use in conjunction with our geospatial data.

Working closely with our partners at Blue Raster, we then extracted, at each displaced DHS survey cluster, measurements of selected geospatial covariates. These covariates were selected if they: a) had global or regional extent, b) were publicly available, c) had well-documented acquisition or creation processes with detailed metadata, and d) were available for relevant time frames.

We strove to include those covariates that would be in high demand by our users, including rainfall, ITN net coverage, cases of malaria, travel times to nearest cities, urbanization, and more. A detailed methodology used to extract them can be found on the Spatial Data Repository website.

We hope the spatial covariate datasets will prove to be valuable for a wide range of DHS data users. We are continuing to look into ways to further improve the datasets, including the extraction process used to create these files and release similar extracts for other covariates that weren’t addressed in the first round of this activity. User feedback will be critical in helping us understand what is truly desired out of these datasets, so we strongly encourage those who download and use these files to email us with their thoughts, advice, and requests for future covariates.

Photo Caption: GIS participants at the 2017 Regional Health Data Mapping Workshop in Cambodia.

The information provided on this Web site is not official U.S. Government information and does not represent the views or positions of the U.S. Agency for International Development or the U.S. Government.

The DHS Program, ICF
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Anthropometry measurement (height and weight) is a core component of DHS surveys that is used to generate indicators on nutritional status. The Biomarker Questionnaire now includes questions on clothing and hairstyle interference on measurements for both women and children for improved interpretation.