How Can We Use Data as a Tool for Social Impact?
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Data for Good

How Can We Use Data as a Tool for Social Impact?

Basty’s Notebook

Hi, everyone! My name is Basty, and I’m a data scientist and educator from Metro Manila. If there’s something I value so much, that is education. Education has allowed me to not only dive into the amazing world of code and data, but also to encourage and inspire others to do the same. Read more about me here.

Outside of work and school, I love playing video games like Valorant and League of Legends. I also love listening to Broadway musicals (HAMILTON, DEH, TICK TICK BOOM ALL THE WAY!). Lastly, I LOVE watching Friends, New Girl, HIMYM, and The Big Bang Theory.

Now, let’s take a look at my notebook!

August 2023 Notebook entry

We are now living in the age of technological advancements brought upon by the capabilities of Generative AI. Things that were impossible before are now possible with the use of Large Language Models. Aside from businesses adapting this new kind of technology, there are also individuals and organizations utilizing this technology to create social impact. 

The intersection of data science and social impact presents an opportunity for us to drive positive change on a global scale. With the theme of this month being “With every step you take, we hope you find your voice and use it to stand up for what you believe in”, I invite you all to discover your unique voices and leverage data to advocate for causes that you passionately believe in. 

So, in this blog, we’ll delve into the journey of using data as a tool for social impact and the potential of it for driving change. Let’s get started! 

Finding your voice

When we get into data science, it’s important to tackle the question “what makes you do what you do?” What drives our motivation to work on data? Now, not everyone is in it for social impact, and some focus on creating business impact. It’s also completely fine to be a generalist in data, rather than focusing on a specific domain or speciality. However, for those that dream of changing the world through data, it’s essential to identify the issues that you deeply resonate with. 

Just like with a data science project, it always starts with a problem statement, and just like any data science project it can pose some difficulties defining that statement. Discovering your own voice involves understanding your own personal values, and connecting with causes that spark genuine passion, but once you hit that sweet spot, everything will follow through. Whether it’s sustainability, healthcare, education, or any other pressing concerns, aligning your passion with data can create a powerful driving force for change. 

Using data for social impact

Alright, now let’s talk about how you can use data for good! Data isn’t just numbers and graphs, it’s actually a superhero that can actually make the world a better place. No capes required! Think about the healthcare industry. There are tons of places where people don’t get the medical attention they deserve. But with data, we can analyze health records, spot patterns and gaps in the industry that will arm us with insights that can help improve the medical services. 

Let’s take a look at environmental problems, specifically deforestation. A lot of our forests are getting chopped down faster than we can name all the marvel movies. With the help of data, we can use satellite images to keep an eye on our forests, spot deforestation hotspots, and let different organizations know. 

Network with like-minded people

While there’s no problem with embarking on a solo journey towards social impact, joining a vast group of people that share a common passion and cause can further strengthen the driving force. Again, just like in any data science project, teamwork makes the dream work! There are a lot of organizations out there who specialize in social good, and one of which is Omdena. Omdena is a global platform that brings together data scientists, domain experts, and social organizations to collaboratively tackle real-world challenges using data-driven approaches.

Through partnerships with local governments and NGOs, members engage in projects that address issues such as poverty, climate change, and humanitarian crises. Remember the example I gave regarding deforestation? They have tons of projects that tackle that issue, and you can check them out here

From passion to advocacy

The journey of using data for social good is a dynamic and ongoing process. It’s about becoming an advocate for change! You’d need to continuously be a catalyst for change that uplifts the underserved and amplifies marginalized voices. In an era where technology and AI have the power to transcend boundaries, I hope you utilize the potential of data for good. Find compelling ways to find your own voice and stand up for what you believe in. With every step you take with data, you’ll have the chance to empower change in others, leaving a mark in the community or even the world. So, find your cause, grab some data, and let’s team up to make the world a better place, one data at a time!

Never stop learning!

If you belong to an NGO or a social impact organization that appreciates the significance of data-driven decision-making and recognizes the potential of technology in enhancing advocacy endeavors, we are eager to collaborate with you! Whether you are interested in team training or supporting a project centered on data, we are at your service. Please contact us at: