By Vanessa Meadu
In November 2018 the Livestock Data for Decisions (LD4D) Community of Practice met in Hanoi, Vietnam, to discuss big questions in the livestock data sphere, assess progress to date on collaborative working groups, and map out next steps.
Working groups: progress and where next
Working groups cooperate on strategic activities and outputs for the benefit of the LD4D Community. The meeting allowed current working groups to take stock, and allowed community members the chance to explore possible new working groups. In 2019, the secretariat will be in touch with members of the community to formulate workplans.
Impact modelling: This group will work with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation projects to gain a fuller understanding of their impact and identify ways to better target interventions. The initial impact modeling work involves GALVmed and Land O’Lakes International Development. The work will be a collaboration among GALVmed, Land O’Lakes, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), with funding from the University of Edinburgh’s Supporting Evidence Based Interventions (SEBI) program. Read more about this collaboration. will also engage an impact assessment exercise in 2019.
Demand study: This pilot study was initiated to develop a methodology to measure stakeholder data demand in Ethiopia’s dairy sector. The study is currently being paused, but the LD4D secretariat acknowledges the important need for LD4D to consider the needs of decision makers and will explore how we can meet this demand.
Making an impact: A new working group has been proposed to assess demand for impact assessment guidance. Possible work includes developing guidelines for pathways to impact in the livestock, engaging with other sectors for best practice. The guidelines could support the donor community and provide clarity to grantees.
Data quality: This working group will explore elements of data quality by considering fitness of purpose of data obtained from secondary sources and practices to generate good quality primary data. A number of potential tasks for the group were suggested including developing a data quality handbook for people outside the livestock community; linking with groups working on big data and socio-economic data; and developing topical info sheets that explore complexity in data collection, as a resource for the wider livestock data community.
Livestock Modellers: Bringing together modellers who work within the livestock sector under the LD4D banner, this group seeks to share and consolidate information and approaches to modelling livestock production as an input to partial equilibrium foresight models. Plans are in place to hold a livestock modellers technical group meeting in 2019.
Livestock Fact Check: An initial eight factsheets have been developed and published, investigating the data and evidence behind popular livestock-related facts. The group will continue to monitor, evaluate and learn from existing Fact Checks, to assess their impact and use (including among decision makers in LMICs), and identify additional user groups to target. A communications strategy will be developed for 2019, to continue to extend promotion and engagement on these products.
LD4D communications: This working group focuses on connecting community members as well as promoting LD4D activities and products to a wider external community. Working group members collaborate and coordinate on specific campaigns in conjunction with other active working groups e.g. Livestock Fact Check.
There were good discussions on the future of LD4D. The Secretariat will use the outputs from the live polling to develop a draft strategy and roadmap for next 5 years.
This includes the development of Livestockdata.org: The secretariat has made it a top priority to develop a livestock data platform to support the community, in collaboration with community members.
LiveGAPS, a set of apps designed to explore productivity gaps has been shared with the community, and in 2019, work will begin to explore how to make LiveGAPS more accessible and ensure wider use. There is potential for running training webinars with the wider community to encourage uptake and feedback. The updated apps could be added to livestockdata.org
There was strong feedback that the next LD4D community meeting should ensure more space for networking and social interactions. There should be at least one year between meetings to allow working groups to make progress on developing products and outputs, and develop relationships with decision makers. The timing and location of the 2019 meeting will be communicated in the new year.
Image credits: J. Palmer (CSIRO) and V. Meadu (SEBI).