Drowning in Data, Searching for Information: The Role of Funders

25 September 2017
Funders have an important role to play . . .
Data and information are important for the development of inclusive financial systems. Funders need to approach support for data initiatives based on thorough analysis. They need a clear sense of what they want to achieve and what they want to leave behind after their investment ends. Too often funders get excited about the development of a new data source or platform and fail to pause and ask basic questions, such as 
 
How will the data initiative serve actors in the financial system? 
Is the information merely a temporary injection, intended to have a catalytic effect that triggers wider change?
Or, is it supposed to be a recurrent permanent feature of a financial system that needs to continue functioning without on-going aid? 
 
Unclear answers to these questions can lead to an unnecessary plethora of data initiatives, some of which are ineffective or unsustainable. Funders need to ask whether data initiatives sufficiently address the underlying reasons why the data were missing or inadequate in the first place. They need to think about the broader data ecosystem and not only one-off, often unsustainable, data solutions when funding data initiatives. This Brief outlines key points funders should consider as well as 26 key data initiatives supported by funders.