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Health and Policy Research in Africa: Gathering opinions using interactive radio and SMS in East Africa

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact ma665.

Format of the session: presentation (one hour) and discussion (one hour) This session will explore the ethical challenges of working with citizen-generated data in the African context, with a particular focus on projects involving radio discussions and data gathering using SMS and digital platforms. We will discuss issues around informed consent, data privacy and modelling security threats using some examples of a community consultation on oil and gas extraction in Turkana, Kenya and a large-scale data gathering on beliefs and misconceptions on polio and routine immunizations in Somalia.

Africa‚Äôs Voices Foundation provides detailed insights into the views and priorities of remote, under-served and bottom-of-the-pyramid social groups mainly in East Africa. We work on behalf of social service providers and policymakers to engage communities in inclusive ways on broadcast and new media, such as through local language radio discussions. We then analyse the multitude of conversational data for insights into the community’s views and opinions. This unique service enables organisations to build a deeper understanding of target groups, which can be used to design services and evaluate effectiveness.

Please note, spaces are limited and participants are encouraged to apply early to secure a place.

This session is open to researchers by application and discussion will be conducted under Chatham House rules. If you are interested in attending please register at and express your interest with a 100 word statement, explaining how your research will benefit from participation in the session

During Lent Term the Ethics of Big Data group will explore the challenges of applying ethical reasoning in different contexts connected with Big Data research. Our invited speakers will present and discuss case studies from data-driven health and policy research in Africa, administrative data research in the UK, the implementation of eHospital, a new digital platform linking patient records across Cambridge University Hospitals and research using social media data, including a study of the Islamic State organisation.

The term’s programme will finish with a public session on 9 March where an invited panel of experts from a range of different disciplines will be invited to consider a ‘mock’ research proposal which brings together a variety of the challenges from the real life case studies and present their reasoning to the audience for discussion.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact the Session Convenor: Anne Alexander Open to all but registration is required and a 100 word statement to participate in any of the first four sessions.

Background reading:

1. Guide developed by the Responsible Data Forum with best practices and resources for responsible data in development projects:

2. DataShift/Engine Room report on models of collaboration between governments and civil society on citizen-generated data:

Part of the Ethics of Big Data Research Group, series

Administrative assistance:

This talk is part of the Centre of Governance and Human Rights Events series.

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