Small Data helps Big Data solve Big Problems

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data image

A recent article in the New York Times describes how organizations are using small survey based datasets to enrich the big data sets that usually get all the hype. Alex Peysakhovich and Seth Stephens-Davidowitz argue that survey data goes hand in hand with big data:

Big data in the form of behaviors and small data in the form of surveys complement each other and produce insights rather than simple metrics.

In fact, in the face of a proliferation of large datasets the utility of survey data has increased. When understood in conjunction with big data, the small data of surveys can have a multiplier effect on understanding.

Human experts can also help data analysts figure out what to look for.

Ona’s data platform builds structure around surveys to make sure that our users are positioned to take the crucial step of turning raw data into actionable intelligence.

Most important, while big data can tell us whether certain teachers are helping their students, small data gives us the best hope to answer a crucial question: How are they doing it?

In addition to how, we’ve seen our clients use surveys to answer what as well. For example, in Sierra Leone UNMEER has asked “What is a the status of Ebola Care Facilities?” and received real-time answers using Ona.

Image from Tim Lahan, NY Times.


Assessing the quality of adolescent health services in Brazil

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Workshop participants visited a local health facility on the last day

In 1960, the national capital of Brazil re-located from Rio de Janiero, on the Atlantic coast, to Brasilia, which is in the central-west highlands of Brazil. Even though Oscar Niemeyer’s masterpiece in modern urban architecture doesn’t boast the beaches or invoke the same image of Brazilian life and culture as Rio does, Brasilia is still a city to be reckoned with. For one, Brasilia houses the federal government, including the Ministry of Health (MoH), which has the distinct responsibility of overseeing healthcare in the entire country and setting health policy for the 275,000+ public health facilities, or Unidades de Saúde, that cater to adolescents in Brazil.

I recently traveled to Brasilia to take part in a very special workshop hosted by the Brazil MoH. Government health officials from across the country were invited to the workshop for a lively 3-day discussion on the status of adolescent healthcare in the country and strategies for improving the quality of care that adolescents receive when visiting these public health facilities. During the workshop, I led a training on using an online monitoring tool that Ona built for the Brazil MoH to better assess the quality of adolescent health services in the country.

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Ona at the Nairobi Functional Programming Meetup

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Okal Otieno and Roy Rutto from Ona were the featured presenters at the inaugural Nairobi Functional Programming meetup. The meetup was conceived by Okal and Roy to "discuss the core concepts of functional programming, why use it, and experiences using it." The iHub UX Lab graciously hosted.

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Introducing Custom RealTime XLS Reports

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A new year and a new service from Ona!

In addition to fixing the last few bugs before we release Ona v2, we’ve been working on an exciting new analytics product called RealTime XLS Reports. For the first time, Ona users can access a beautiful Excel report of up-to-the-minute Ona data, complete with customized metrics and indicators.

Now it’s easier than ever to user your data to make timely decisions and actions. Read more about it, email us if you’re interested in a report, or download an information sheet to email to someone you think might be interested.


GitHub Usage in Africa 2015

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Map of GitHub Users in Africa

We're excited to announce the release of an updated map of GitHub Users in Africa. Since 2013 when we created the first map the amount of GitHub users in Africa has increased from roughly 4,000 to 12,000! That's still quite small compared to other regions of the world but exciting growth in the right direction! If you are a developer in Africa and want to ensure you are counted in this map update your profile to include an African country and/or city in your user profile.

This is a part of the CodeAfrica Initiative that Ona supports. We will announce more about the CodeAfrica initiative in the upcoming coming.

Special thanks to our close friend Renaud Gaudin of Yeleman in Bamako, Mali who helped us generate the data to create this map.

The full map with country by user stats can be seen here.