Season's Greetings from the GIZ Data Lab 2023

December 21, 2023

Unleashing the Power of Data: A Recap of Our Data Lab Team's Impactful Journey in 2023! 

Dear colleagues and friends, 

As the curtain falls on 2023, it's time for us to reflect on yet another exciting journey we've had this year. In a world grappling with conflicts, crises, and pressing global issues, our Data Lab team has been busy pioneering solutions and pushing the boundaries of what's possible. 

DPPD (Data Powered Positive Deviance) in Action!  
Our exciting DPPD journey continues. We've ventured into new territories, unveiling a compelling use case in Ghana, building upon our DPPD Masterclass which took place in 2022. A highlight was our workshop in Kenya, where over 50 people gathered to discuss the outcome of our joint pilot in Somalia with the UNDP Accelerator Lab. Moreover, our DPPD Atingi course is about to be launched – watch out for our new communication on this.   

Data Feminism  
In the realm of Germany’s Feminist Development Cooperation, we've spotlighted Data Feminism at GIZ and beyond. Following the principles laid out by Catherine d’Ignazio and Lauren Klein, we've sought to advocate for data-feminist approaches and published a report based on last year's Data Feminism Event Series – find all recordings on our Blog. As a reminder: Data Feminism focuses on using data to examine and challenge power, to question binaries and hierarchies when collecting and using data, to embrace multiple perspectives with priority given to local experience and experimental learning (and more!). We are exploring concrete examples of Data Feminism in our partner countries – from feminist urban planning to a feminist data science curriculum. Additionally, we are extremely happy to see more and more events and discussions around Data Feminism in Germany and beyond – we sincerely hope that this is a lasting development. We will certainly do our part to make a feminist approach to data the new normal. Stay tuned for more! 

GenAI Talk Series: Navigating AI Ethics and Reshaping Development 
When the world started to go crazy about Generative AI, we applied our three E approach: Explore – Engage – Experiment. Through interviewing and discussing with leading experts in the field – among them one of the most important philosophers our times, Professor Luciano Floridi; one of the top 100 influential people in AI (TIME magazine), Pelonomi Moiloa; the head of Governmental Relations of OpenAI, Lane Dilg; or the renowned AI and governance expert Frederike Kaltheuner, we supported GIZ in finding a positioning and strategy on AI in development cooperation. Through workshops and moderated discussion on various channels and constellations, we engaged our colleagues in finding out how these developments might shape their work – internally as well as with our partners. And last but not least, we have been experimenting with Generative AI in Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) Policy Analysis, in Support for UN negotiations or to facilitate routine tasks of our colleagues inside the GIZ. Throughout all our endeavors, we advocate for a fair and ethical use of AI, putting data security and privacy considerations in the forefront. 

Innovation at Work: Climate Policy Vulnerability Classifier and Beyond! 
Our commitment to innovation led us to create, in cooperation with the Data Service Center, the Climate Policy Vulnerability Classifier using large language models (LLMs). This tracker aids policymakers in identifying specific vulnerable groups in national climate strategy documents, and we can't wait to share more details on our blog in the coming weeks! 

Team Triumphs and New Additions: Building the Future Together 
Robin Nowok and Vanessa Hochwald have again proven an outstanding synergy and an impressive innovation power.  A warm welcome to our new members, Teresa Kroesen, Tobias Kunde, and Elias Heppner, who bring fresh perspectives and expertise to our dynamic team. Amidst the evolving dynamics, Catherine Vogel still tries to hold the place together. Our colleagues Erik Lehmann and our former intern Lea Voigt ventured to our partner Data Service Center. Here, congratulations to Lea for making her way back into GIZ as a Junior Expert! We also want to highlight the contributions of Karina Kosmukhambetova, our intern who supported us with her fantastic effort for the implementation of a Session on AI and Transport in the Future Forum, and our brilliant working student Varun Pandey with his excellence in AI ethics, who are now dedicated to pursuing their studies, with a focus on completing their master's degrees.  

While we express our gratitude to these dear colleagues who embarked on new journeys, we extend a massive "Thank you" to our partners and collaborators. Your unwavering support has been the driving force behind our success. If you have questions or ideas, reach out—let's continue this journey together! Here's to a data-driven 2024 filled with collaboration, innovation, and positive impact! 

Your Data Lab,

Catherine, Elias, Robin, Teresa, Tobias and Vanessa