DataShift’s Data for Action programme is a capacity development initiative to provide CIVICUS member organisations with free, facilitated online data courses. Our applied model focuses on training organisations to collect and use data for decision-making. We currently offer an intensive, two-week course in survey methods utilising a holistic approach to surveying and using data for action. All courses are led by a specialist facilitator, who provides targeted support to programme participants.

To encourage discussion, enhance comprehension, and improve accountability, two organisation members participate in the course where they learn, discuss, and practice core concepts delivered on our online learning platform. The concepts are then directly applied to their issue focus as they conceptualise, develop, and pilot test a survey. The entire course is facilitated by the specialist, who is in direct contact with the participants to review exercises and assignments, answer questions, and guide them towards actionable results.



Why survey methods?

Our Survey Methods course will walk you through the steps of designing a survey to inform decision-making. It will also challenge you to think critically about data, how it is currently being used in your organisation, and you can increase its value.

This course should be of interest to CIVICUS member organisations enthusiastic about:

  • Learning how data can improve their programmes
  • Increasing the value of their existing data
  • Seeking experience designing actionable surveys

Learning objectives

Upon completion of this course, participants should be able to:

  • Create appropriate SMART objectives to guide programme activities;
  • Design actionable, relevant surveys that contribute to achieving research objectives; and
  • Understand how data can be utilised for action, specifically for making evidence-based, informed decisions.

Course delivery

Courses are delivered on our Data for Action online learning platform. Participants enrolled in the course will be given access to the platform and instructions on how to access materials, submit assignments, and take quizzes. A typical day might include watching a video, group discussion, course assignments, and meeting with a specialist.

Who is this course for?

Two organisations members apply to participate and will work together for the duration of the course to learn and practice core skills.  In our experience, mid- to entry-level staff stand to benefit most from the course. No previous experience with surveys is required to enrol.

All course materials and meetings are currently conducted in English; we hope to be able to offer this course for non-English speaking CSOs in the future. A reliable internet connection is required. Priority will be given to organisations based in the Global South, as well as those working with marginalised groups.

Time commitment

Participants can, on average, expect to spend approximately five hours per day over the course of two weeks (10 working days) fulfilling course requirements. This includes reading and viewing course content, group discussions, meeting with a specialist facilitator, completing assignments, revising surveys, and conducting pilot surveys.

Course preparation

Successful applications will be requested to submit a signed agreement and complete the Virtual Team Training prior to initiation of the course. This is to ensure clear communication about expectations and to familiarise course participants with the communication tools used during the course.


Certificates will be provided to participants who successfully complete the course.


CIVICUS Membership

To be eligible to apply, organisations must be CIVICUS members. Becoming a CIVICUS member is free and it only takes a few minutes to sign up. CIVICUS membership connects you with like-minded civil society actors committed to advancing active participatory democracy and defending the freedoms of assembly, association and expression. Members access a range of benefits designed to enhance visibility, networking, and information-sharing to support your work. Learn more here.


A reliable internet connection is required to access course materials available on the online platform, to attend regular Skype meetings with the specialist, and to upload course assignments.


Language requirements

All course content is currently delivered in English. We therefore require English-language proficiency in order to complete assignments and interact with the specialist. We hope to offer the course in multiple language in the future.

Staff position

Participants must be full-time staff of the applying organisation. Staff holding the following positions (or equivalent) are preferred:

  • Monitoring and evaluation officer
  • Programme/project officer
  • Programme/project coordinator

We do not recommend management staff participating in the course due to the intensive time requirements. Special consideration will be given to small organisations that do not follow a typical organisational structure.


To ease communication, both staff participants must be in the same location.


How to apply

To apply for the course, the organisation is requested to submit the following online form. You will be requested to propose two organisation members for enrolment. Through the application, we hope to build a better understanding of your organisation, as successful applicants will be applying course content directly to their ongoing work.


Please read through the course information page prior to submitting your application. If you have any questions, please contact:

Hannah Wheatley at

If you have issues accessing the form below, fill out the Google Form version here.


Is the course available for non-CIVICUS members?

No, currently the course is only offered for CIVICUS member organisations.

How does my organisation become a CIVICUS member?

Becoming a a CIVICUS member is free and it only takes a few minutes to sign up. CIVICUS membership connects you with like-minded civil society actors committed to advancing active participatory democracy and defending the freedoms of assembly, association and expression.

Members access a range of benefits designed to enhance visibility, networking, and information-sharing to support your work. Learn more here.

Click here to become a CIVICUS member.

Is prior experience with surveys a requirement to participate?

No, course materials are applicable to participants with limited or no experience with data or surveys.

Can more than two organisation members participate in the course?

Yes, we allow more than two course participants at a time. However, only the two core participants enrolled in the course are eligible to receive a certificate.

Do both course participants need to be located in the same office?

Yes, we do ask that both participants remain in the same physical location. This is because network issues can make communication difficult and prevent productive group discussions.

Can interns participate in the course?

Interns are not allowed to be one of the two primary course enrolees, but they are permitted to sit in on the sessions and group discussions. This is because the purpose of the training is to mainstream actionable data use within the organisation and interns are typically only involved for a fixed period.

Is the course available in other languages?

Currently, the course is only available in English. We are planning to offer multiple languages, including Spanish and French, in the future.

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