Data analytics and data science as tools for peace and development
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Data for Good

Data analytics and data science as tools for peace and development

In Ipsos' "What Worries the World" survey results from late September to October 2022, they revealed the top 6 worries of the world right now. Read more about this survey and what interesting ideas people have tried with data to prevent, mitigate, and solve these problems.
When was the last time you had a good night’s sleep?

It’s possible that it took you a good few minutes to answer, and it’s also possible that you couldn’t even provide one. There are many reasons why a person would have trouble sleeping. Aside from health, family, and work-related concerns, there are also anxieties we have about our community. We can be nervous for our nation. We may even be worried about the world.

What tools or safeguards do we have in place against all the issues facing the planet and all the people in it? We utilize science!

November 10 is the annual celebration of World Science Day for Peace and Development. On this day, we emphasize the importance of science in our society and how crucial it is to bring scientific issues up for discussion. Globally, everyone is encouraged and mobilized—from the government and the academe to the media and private corporations—to organize their own activities. 

At Eskwelabs, aside from equipping our students with data literacy, data analytics, and data science skills, we also hope to have every single person transformed with a data-driven mindset and empowered with data-driven decision making abilities. Writing this blog post today is just one aspect of our contribution to World Science Day for Peace and Development. 

One way to help is by getting the conversation going.

What worries the world

So, what is there to talk about? In a perfect world, society would be unified by all of the joyful events in our past. But mankind’s history is colorful and oftentimes turbulent. 

In fact, Paris-based market research firm Ipsos has been conducting a What Worries the World survey for quite some time now. 

They conduct this survey monthly and what you’ll see from their chart below is that the top 6 results in the latest report from September 23 - October 7, 2022 are the following:

(Source: Ipsos, October 2022)
  1. Inflation 
  2. Poverty and social inequality 
  3. Unemployment and jobs 
  4. Crime and violence 
  5. Financial/political corruption 
  6. Coronavirus (COVID-19)

This is a very loaded list. The respondents came from 29 countries and in order to place scores in context, Ipsos draws from ten years of data.

The data is very clear. This chart is both saddening and comforting. Why saddening? With the technology that we’ve developed and how much we have grown as a society, it’s heartbreaking that we see core problems still existing such as unemployment, crime, poverty, and social inequality. 

But at the same time, what is the comfort that this chart brings? It’s the idea that we are one human race and these are what we are facing together.

  • Somewhere in a country different from yours is another human having problems focusing because they fear not being able to buy groceries because the prices are too high. 
  • In the mornings when you go to work, someone in your city, maybe just a few kilometers away, doesn't need to get out of bed because they have no job to report to—that may mean no food for them and their family. 
  • As you finish your lunch break from school, another class of students may be fearing for their lives in another continent, as violence comes upon their school unexpectedly. 
  • How about the countries we call our neighbors? It’s insane to think one country can be at peace while the one beside it is plunged into war or staging a coup. 

And don’t even get us started on COVID-19. 

How about you? 

Which one of these identified anxieties of the human race in Ipsos’ latest report worries you the most? Which one gives you the most trouble in falling asleep at night?

How data can be used for good

There is always hope. 

Not only are there people working behind the scenes to solve these problems, but we all have access to the tools to make a contribution. 

True to Eskwelabs’ core, we contribute to the conversation and World Science Day for Peace and Development by asking: 

What is the relevance of data analytics and data science in each of these 6 areas of concern? The answer in a nutshell: Extremely relevant

Let’s look at each of the 6 worries of the world this past month and let’s see how data analytics and data science can be used to prepare for, prevent, mitigate, and eventually solve these issues.


When people worry about inflation, the main struggle is the fact that the prices of goods and services have generally increased. Not everyone has the purchasing power to keep up.

Interesting ideas for how data can help:

Poverty and social inequality 

Depending on where you live, taking a look outside your window (if you’re in a building) or going around your community (if you’re in a neighborhood) can show you a sobering picture of injustice. We’ve heard the cries in real life and online about how the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

Interesting ideas for how data can help:

  • Exports data from some of the largest economies of the world are accessible. A clever use of exports data is evaluating them to see where new small businesses can pop up and grow.
  • Tech companies, government, and non-profit organizations can come together to understand and find ways to fill the needs of the urban poor.

Unemployment and jobs 

One way to secure consistent income and a humane way of living is through employment. It’s difficult to have peace of mind when you’re worried about paying bills, facing your landlord with empty pockets, or discussing with your child why they’d have to skip a semester at school. None of these scenarios are over dramatic, all of these happen to people who rely on regular, part-time, or contractual jobs to survive. 

Interesting ideas for how data can help:

Crime and violence 

There’s nothing like a crime-free country to ease citizens’ fears and worries. Back when there were no smartphones, we would get news of these crimes and larger scale violent acts through the newspaper, radio, or nightly news. But now the news reaches us faster and it can be more disheartening to read about these events happening, sometimes with real-time videos and thoughts from victims.

Interesting ideas for how data can help:

  • AI has been used by the police to predict crime (specifically gun and knife cases), but understandably there are still improvements to be made in the model and process.
  • Data mining can be used to spot trends in “theft, murder, or domestic violence.”
  • How your neighborhood is laid out can actually be analyzed. From there you’ll be able to see the streets where a person’s possibility of falling victim to a crime would be very high.

Financial/political corruption

It’s interesting to see that financial and political corruption are placed side by side with a “/” inside the What Worries the World survey results. Truly, these two are linked. There are different factors to determine the stability of a nation, and politics and finances are definitely one of the many considerations.

Interesting ideas for how data can help:

  • What is the likelihood of winning elections based on online personas and a variety of social media metrics? Our Fellows discuss how social media is used as a campaign tool.
  • Fake accounts and mischievous accounts affect the severity and spread of financial and political corruption in subtle and obvious ways. On Twitter, an account’s tweets can be evaluated. We can use data science to develop a model that will determine if an account is a Twitter troll or not.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We don’t want to drag on and recall bad memories from the intense COVID-19 pandemic era. It’s not totally over, but it’s definitely better today. 

Interesting ideas for how data can help: (These are the titles of our Fellows’ capstone projects)

  • Helping policymakers identify viruses before they become epidemics (Heide - Cohort 7)
  • Answering Metro Manila's COVID Vaccination Questions by creating “TalkingVac” (Fatima, Kaye, Mikee, Phoemella - Cohort 6)
  • Predicting the rise of dengue cases using time series modeling (Eric - Cohort 6)
  • Optimizing Medical Check-ups using Machine Learning (Beverly, Eunice, Bym, Dan - Cohort 7)
  • Analyzing the accessibility of health-care facilities using Spatial and Non-Spatial Measures (Jeriesa - Cohort 2)
  • Tackling Senior Citizens COVID-19 Vaccination Distribution Prioritization with Machine Learning (Generoso - Cohort 6)

We’ve unearthed just a few of the many capstone projects done by our Data Science Fellowship students. Capstone projects are the final output produced in the 15-week Data Science Fellowship by the Fellows. It is the culmination of all that they've learned and worked hard for during the Fellowship. The counterpart of this in the Data Analytics Bootcamp is the Company Business Review.

Aside from getting the conversation going about how important data skills are in solving world issues, we also contribute to solving them by equipping our students with data analytics and data science skills. These are the leaders we empower to use data for good!

Why data skills are relevant for all ages

Data literacy is a skill that will never go out of style. In fact, as time passes and society grows older, we need analytical thinking and data literacy as core life skills. 

How are data skills relevant for every stage of life as children, teens, adults, and elders remain aware of these areas of concern?

First of all, data literacy is the ability to read, write, and communicate data. This means that a person who is data literate would have a good understanding of data, and will make decisions based on what the data says. No matter how old we are and regardless of what decade we are in, there will always be decisions to make.

In the case of the What Worries the World survey and in light of World Science Day for Peace and Development, here are the decisions we can make as data-driven children, teens, and adults:

  • “What information is real versus fake? How should I go about sharing or not sharing certain things online?”
  • “What areas of society and issues of concern can I help in solving? Where do I put my focus and energy?”
  • “What changes can we make in our circles of influence to impact the areas of society in need of the most help? Which issues of concern or worries of the world will these mitigate?”

The data-driven child

Children and young teens are exposed to all kinds of information throughout their day and for the entirety of their formative years. Imagine what it must be like for digital natives who are bombarded with an influx of news, graphics, videos, and posts from social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Tiktok, etc.

The list of info sources is long but the times or instances we educate our young people are very few. 

  • Do our young people know how to detect fake news? 
  • Have they been resharing materials made by fake accounts? 
  • Have their anxiety levels been rising due to quick reactions to stats and charts they see online? 

Let’s make data literacy education available to our young people. It can be as simple as having a conversation with them and asking them critical thinking questions about what they see on their screens. Intentional actions like this can already help them build their data literacy muscles to join the fight in solving the issues of the world as they grow older.

The data-driven teen

Take a look at the activists and energized teenagers all around the world and you might just get teary-eyed, feeling proud and hopeful that our young people are fiercely fighting for our future.

Imagine if the Ipsos chart were made more visible to the people who have a heart for volunteering. You know the ones who contribute their talents, time, and energy in various organizations. Mobilizing forces and resources would be very data-driven indeed if we were to use this kind of chart as our basis. If applied in the local context, what would be the biggest issues of your neighborhood? What are the concerns of your city? What are the cries of the people in your country?

There is a lot of potential in this data-driven kind of volunteer work and we are placing our bets on the youth right now. They are inspiring us to do better and dream bigger every single day.

The data-driven adult

You can be a changemaker wherever you are. Whether you own your own business or work to support one, you can make data-driven decisions that design a better future for all. 

  • How might you use data to determine which aspects of your team need more manpower support? A healthy work/life balance gives more opportunities for the team to explore volunteer initiatives. They would have more time and energy to do so, if they wanted!
  • How might you design a production process that cuts out waste? Data can tell you what is creating the most waste. Imagine all the good this would do to the environment if we were more mindful.
  • How might you approach and evaluate your team’s salary matrix in a data-driven way? When you compare it to what is being offered by the competition and when you also look at the rising cost of living, how might you incorporate these reflections and data collection into your thought process as a leader?
There is so much potential in each person when they unlock this artistic and scientific skill set.

All our lives we’ve been exposed to information. Some data may have been very informal and scattered like our favorite childhood memories and our most embarrassing moments as teens. Other data we’ve collected may be more formal and organized like grades on our report card or marks in our performance reviews at work. 

One thing is for sure…

The future looks bright in the hands of those with data skills and a data-driven mindset!

Data for Good with Eskwelabs

If you are interested in joining the ‘Data for Good’ movement, join the community by upskilling yourself with Eskwelabs. We can help you create your own data for good capstone project, too!

  • If this is your first time reading about the Data Science Fellowship, get started by learning more about it here.
  • Aside from our data science program, we also have one that focuses on data analytics. If this is your first time reading about the Data Analytics Bootcamp, get started by learning more about it here.