I’m excited to announce the first live HelpMeViz Hackathon event. On Saturday, June 28th, HelpMeViz will bring together coders, data scientists, and data visualizers in Washington, DC, to help Bread for the World Institute with two data visualization challenges for its 2015 Hunger Report, which focuses on why women’s empowerment is essential to ending global hunger.
Bread for the World Institute is a nonpartisan organization based in Washington, DC working to fight hunger in the United States and abroad. The Institute aims to educate opinion leaders, policymakers, and the public about hunger in the United States and around the world.
For this Hackathon, the Institute has developed two data visualization challenges for which they need help. Below are summaries of the two challenges (here is a more detailed description).
Exposing Gaps in Data on Women’s Empowerment
Over the past few decades, we have learned a lot about the marginalization of women around the world and its costs to human development. Data authorities such as the World Bank and the United Nations have set out to develop holistic ways of measuring women’s empowerment and gender equality across countries, defining a minimum set of 52 indicators for doing so. But even the most advanced women’s empowerment indexes available today still miss critical elements of what it means for women to be empowered in the developing world. Far too many of the indicators that compose women’s empowerment indexes depend on largely unreliable, old, or inconsistent data for far too many countries. This significantly compromises the accuracy and integrity of the index and makes it much less reliable for policy makers who base decisions on it. In our upcoming 2015 Hunger Report, Bread for the World Institute will identify key missing data in current women’s empowerment indexes and explain why better data are essential to continued progress. We’ll need help from hackathon volunteers to visualize where those gaping holes in the data lie.
Women’s Empowerment and Stunting
Childhood stunting (far below average height for one’s age) is a condition that indicates long-term malnutrition. It currently affects one in four of the world’s children. When a child is stunted, she is prevented from growing, learning, and later earning to her full potential. As we begin to explore years of data on women’s empowerment from the World Bank and United Nations, we want to ask the question: Do countries that significantly improve the status of women also eventually see lower rates of stunting? Research from countries around the world has shown that when women are empowered to earn more and have a greater say in home finances, they are more likely than men to invest additional income in promoting the welfare of their children—through nutritious food, for example. Are there data that support a relationship between women’s empowerment and improvements in stunting?
HelpMeViz and Bread for the World Institute are inviting up to 25 guests on Saturday morning, June 28, from 9 a.m. –1 p.m. to work on these two challenges. The Institute will provide the data for the two challenges and space for attendees to work; they will also provide breakfast and lunch during the event. Participants will also receive a printed copy of the 2015 Hunger Report, to be released in November 2014.
The event will be blogged live on HelpMeViz. We hope that interested people all over the world will want to lend their voice and their skills to these challenges. Data will be made available when the event begins, and visualizations, conversations, and comments will be posted to the site in real time.
If you would like to attend the event in Washington, DC, email HelpMeViz with a short paragraph that describes your interest and your skillset (statistics, programming, design, etc.) with the phrase “Bread for the World” in the subject line.