No-one can communicate the importance of citizen-generated data better than those who are actually working with it. At DataShift, we want to highlight the civil society organisations who have told us about the tangible results they have achieved through innovative approaches to harnessing data from citizens.

Each essay profiles the objectives, challenges and targets of an organisation using data generated by citizens to achieve their goals. We hope that the essays in this collection can help more people feel more confident about asking questions of the data that affects their lives, and taking a hands-on approach to creating it.

Counting what we cannot see! A collective effort to counter trafficking in persons in Nepal – the Data Commons

It should not be acceptable in this day and age that we trade in humans, but we brazenly do, and there are no signs of it slowing down anytime soon. The estimate of up to 15,000 Nepali girls that are trafficked every year is debatable, as the figure was assessed over a decade ago. With new threats, newer trends and newer trade corridors, it is about time we rationalise the counter trafficking efforts in Nepal, with hard data and evidence.

Gathering stories to empower female survivors of sexual violence

Online magazine ‘The Ladies Finger’ asked its female readership to contribute their experiences of reporting sexual violence to the authorities. Together with human rights organisation Amnesty International, The Ladies Finger ran a ‘Ready to Report’ campaign using this information to highlight patterns of injustice within the existing system.

Taking the next steps in uncharted territory

Eyewitness media, or audiovisual content shared by individuals directly from the scene, must be regarded as another form of citizen generated data. This content may be personal, commercially lucrative, and potentially graphic. Navigating a ‘digital frontline’, Eyewitness Media Hub make the case for the proper use and consumption of this media content.

Learning about refugee learning: Five ways to make youth participatory action research work

In Conflict Affected and Fragile States (CAFS), restricted access to facilities, the invisibility of marginalised groups, and general instability is putting young people’s learning at risk. Given these challenges, how can we better understand the learning needs of children and youth in CAFS?

Making violence visible

With the rise of technology in our everyday lives, technology-related violence against women (tech-related VAW) has become an increasingly important issue for global women’s rights campaigners. Violence can take many forms, and technology communications can be a vehicle for all - including physical, sexual, psychological or economic violence.

Citizen-generated data-maps

The topographical detail of our environment and surroundings is constantly changing, particularly in fast developing urban areas or in the case of a humanitarian emergency. The global community at OpenStreetMap and Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team use citizen generated data (in the form of community mapping) to help shine a free light on the least charted quarters of the world.

How the wisdom of the crowd can help defend human rights

Engaging with citizen-generated data is the next step in Amnesty International’s ongoing campaign against human rights violations worldwide. Here, Amnesty’s senior innovations campaigner Milena Marin outlines campaigns including ‘Alternative to Clicktivism’ that show how the organisation plan to work with the forthcoming generation of technologically-proficient citizen activists.


Through the VozData collaborative data platform, Argentine paper La Nacion has conducted large-scale journalism investigations and transformed their readership into civic collaborators on projects for public accountability.

Science for Change Kosovo (SfCK)

Science for Change Kosovo is a grassroots project that uses collaborative citizen science to tackle Kosovo’s air pollution problem and simultaneously engage with a politically disenfranchised generation of young people.

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