Interactive visuals improve aid provision
In response to these data analysis challenges, DFID turned to Tableau as the state-of-the-art solution for information analysis and visualisation.
Bergeth and his team use Tableau Desktop to create interactive visuals concerning aid provision. Data is blended from the disparate data sources provided by partners—in just a few clicks. Bergeth again: “The speed we can visualize data is phenomenal. With Tableau, you don’t need programming skills; you just drag and drop the sources you want to analyze. Then, once you have a visualization, you can switch instantly between views—to a pie chart, a bar chart or plotter or whatever you choose.”
Three DFID users analyze in Tableau Desktop and share visualizations via Tableau Reader with up to 15 other users on the aid coordination teams in London. “It only took a day or two to learn how to use Tableau,” says Bergeth. “We mainly taught ourselves using videos on the Tableau website, and if we had any questions, the Tableau forums were a fountain of knowledge and expert advice.”
Ensuring aid reaches the right people, faster
The interactive visualizations enable DFID to pinpoint quickly and accurately where to target aid. Bergeth explains, “With Tableau it’s apparent very quickly what the humanitarian crisis is, where it is happening, and what response we need to put in place.” The situation on the Syrian border crossing points, for example, is visible now. Multiple Excel files are pulled into Tableau, giving the team in London a more complete view of individual circumstances. For example, whether a sub-district is within safe reach of implementing partners, the care taking place on the ground, and the status of refugees.
Tableau’s geocoding is transforming the way the DFID looks at data. In a few clicks, Bergeth and his team can zoom into a map of any one of the sub-districts of Syria and analyze a wide variety of scenarios. For example, age and gender of refugees, number of primary healthcare cases, return on investment for sanitation and hygiene programs, and accessibility of clean water sources.
DFID can also incorporate third-party datasets to enrich their insights. For instance, weather data from publicly available meteorological sites helps DFID plan measures to provide more blankets, tents, or additional water supplies in extreme weather conditions.
DFID is not only using Tableau to support the humanitarian emergency in Syria. In Turkey and Iraq, analysis of the registration of arriving Syrian refugees also enables the provision of basic humanitarian assistance including food, shelter, and relief packages. Using Tableau dashboards, the DFID helps improve the quality of education for early grade primary school children in Jordan. And in Lebanon, insights from the data help provide humanitarian assistance, strengthens the resilience of refugees in a sustainable way.
All photos courtesy of UK Department for International Development (DFID).