SABI and Microsoft: using data to tell better stories

SABI and tech giant Microsoft co-presented at a webinar to show how international development and nonprofit agencies are using the PowerBI tool for data analytics to tell better stories and make sound decisions.

SABI team leader Amanda Bangura and head of programme Saiku Bah joined Microsoft technology evangelist Sanjay Soni for the online forum, organised by NetHope, which works with humanitarian organisations and in developing countries to improve information technology.

The webinar explored how organisations and programmes like SABI can easily create and benefit from data analytics and visualisations without expensive tools or complicated data warehouses, using the Microsoft tool Power BI.

Saiku showed how Power BI dashboards could provide historical, real time and predictive analytics for SABI. Sanjay demonstrated how to use a simple excel file to build a dashboard from scratch.

You can listen again to the webinar here.

Data collection has been a critical component of SABI, with more than 40,000 submissions collected through its nationwide Citizens Perception Survey. Youth accountability volunteers brought, in by SABI partner Restless Development, collected the data in the communities using mobile phones and the KoBo Toolbox platform.

The data gathering project was an iterative process, which involved vigorous field testing of the tools.

‘Power BI has helped us to quickly analyse and communicate a huge data set related to citizens’ perceptions of services,’ said Saiku Bah. ‘We have published our Power BI dashboards on the SABI website so they can reach a wide audience, allowing interested individuals to get what they want from the data there and then.

‘This is important for our overall goal. It shows we are transparent – we practice what we preach. It gives decision makers direct access to the opinions of citizens, and demonstrates our reach, which gives credibility to the data.’