Learning Exchange for SDG Local Data Action SI: Micro Grants to Share Your Knowledge

Written by Sandra Ruckstuhl

The Local Data Action Solutions Initiative (LDA-SI), launched by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network in the summer of 2017, considers data to be a means by which to encourage action on SDG implementation and to engage diverse local communities. A focus on data is particularly helpful to ensure local activities align with national and international efforts and reporting. LDA-SI will provide a library of tried and tested local data approaches, will promote global lessons and emerging best practices, and act as a convener and networker for organizations and individuals looking for technical knowledge and peer collaborators. LDA-SI is designed to serve local SDG implementers, including governments, universities and civil society partners.

LDA-SI focuses in on a primary objective: promoting sound, replicable technical methods for sub-national SDG monitoring that facilitate local action in support of the “leave no one behind” principle (LNOB).  Durable, long-term progress toward the SDGs cannot be achieved if strategies, policies and investments do not consider the needs and aspirations of all stakeholders.  For this reason, Agenda 2030 articulates a universal commitment to leave no one behind in the pursuit of global targets.  Now, in implementation, highly granular data and monitoring systems are integral to inclusive, evidence-based decision-making and action.  Efforts to localize SDG data, for example in SDSN’s US SDGs Cities Index and USA Sustainable Cities Initiative, has revealed a need and a demand for real, practical lessons to be shared so that implementers can apply these to their own sub-national SDG endeavors.  For this reason, to achieve its stated objective, LDA-SI aims to harness knowledge from actual local experiences, and will use this to generate technical guidance and inform a learning exchange.

LDA-SI, and its effort to build a resource library, is focused on four primary topics of inquiry:

  • National-local data integration: What are methods for aligning national SDG indicators with existing sub-national monitoring methods and systems?

  • Additional local indicators to drive action: Are there additional sub-national data indicators / indicator sets that can be used to promote SDG action and achievement?

  • Data platforms: How can data platforms and/or dashboards provide more granular (e.g., block level or geo-tagged MSA level) data on SDG or SDG-aligned indicators?

  • Third party data: How can third party data (from NGOs, citizen groups, academia, private sector) be used to fill gaps in local ‘official’ data (e.g., citizen generated data, telecom data)?

LDA-SI Micro Grants: The Opportunity, Objectives and Outputs

During 2018, LDA-SI will provide a limited number of micro grants as part of its objective to promote sound, replicable technical methods for sub-national SDG monitoring that facilitate local action in support of the “leave no one behind” principle (LNOB). Micro grants in the range of $2,000-$10,000 will be given to organizations that have built (or are building) innovative sub-national SDG data solutions. These examples will each provide a replicable or adaptable model that can be applied in SDG initiatives in other locations.

Micro grants will support select organizations in their development and implementation of data solutions. The funds can be used by grantees to finance the purchase of datasets and data software, for convening learning events and workshops, or for covering staff time. The grantees will represent a range of methodological examples and contexts from around the world.

At the conclusion of their grant, each grantee will be required to submit two short outputs for general learning, which will be posted on the SDSN website and circulated through its newsletter and social media accounts:

  • A guidance brief: LDA-SI will release a series of knowledge briefs that will answer the general question: “What sub-national SDG data monitoring methods facilitate action that supports LNOB?” Each of the grantees will be required to produce a brief to share their own data solutions and to help others to adapt those for their own purposes (click here and scroll to bottom of page to see previously prepared briefs as an example). Each individual brief in this grantees’ series will provide: (i) a description of the sub-national SDG data solution the grantee has developed (e.g., data collection and analysis, indicator selection and data management platform design), (ii) a step-by-step guide on that method so that others can adapt or replicate it, (iii) a critique of the strengths and weaknesses of the method, and (iv) a summary of how that method informs local action and promotes the LNOB principle. The briefs will be written for audiences of diverse technical backgrounds so that they can be used and their guidance adapted to different contexts.

  • Web blog: Each of the grantees will prepare a blog to accompany their guidance brief. Keeping the focus on local action, each blog will summarize how the methodology in the brief is relevant and adaptable to existing stakeholder monitoring systems and processes, and how it is being/will be used by local governments.

Proposal Requirements and Timeline

NOTE: Applications are no longer being accepted.

Grant applicants should complete the short online proposal application form found here.

A first round of micro grant proposals will be reviewed beginning on February 19, 2018.  Submissions should be made before this date to be considered in this round.  Any additional future opportunities for grants and partnerships will be announced as they become available.  Micro grants must be disbursed and final drafts of guidance briefs and blog posts must be submitted to SDSN by October 31, 2018.

Questions or technical issues with the online application? Please contact the team at this email: lda-si@unsdsn.org.

Originally published at UNSDSN.org on January 27, 2018.