Doing Data4Good at DataKind Dublin’s 3rd DataDive

By Thomas Trolez, Senior Data Engineer

Over the course of the first weekend in February, we were delighted to host over 40 eager data scientists to our EMEA HQ so they could come together to work with DataKind on a DataDive, a hackathon style weekend using Data4Good to develop insights, analytical models and recommendations for their charity partners.

DataKind Dublin is part of the international DataKind chapter network, a non-profit organization whose main aim is to harness the power of data science for social good in order to tackle some of the world’s biggest problems. They do this by bringing together highly talented data scientist volunteers with charities who need support to analyse their data so they can have a greater impact on the people and causes they serve.

Over the past few months, DataKind has been working on a number of projects in Ireland — helping to improve impact for organisations working on areas such as literacy, child malnutrition, volunteerism and more. On this particular weekend, the third DataDive to be held in Dublin, the focus was on projects with Volunteer Ireland, the Irish Haemophilia Society, Plan International and the Irish Penal Reform Trust.

Over the course of the two day hackathon, the teams, including Nitro’s VP of Engineering Roland Tritsch; Mihai Todor, Senior Software Engineer and myself, Senior Data Engineer, worked together to develop insights, analytical models and recommendations for the organisations with some great results.

  • Volunteer Ireland — great learnings were made around how to improve the placement rate for volunteers around the country. It was found that there are a lot of high skilled volunteers available that organisations may not have been aware of, and that overall there is a better way to tell the fascinating story of volunteerism in Ireland.
  • Plan International — the team developed insights around the behaviour of the donors who support their vital work, the various types of fundraising and support activities that work best for them and provided understanding on how the organisation can better focus their efforts to generate greater support for those in need.
  • Irish Hemophilia Society — there were great developments for ongoing projects; developing insights, writing migration scripts, and further development on the system which will provide analysis of the international survey of hemophilia sufferers that they are working on.
  • Irish Penal Reform Trust — a representative joined us over the weekend to discuss the next stage of their exciting project to deploy surveys in one of Ireland’s largest prisons. This research will then be further analysed by DataKind in order to develop a picture of the relationships prisoners have with their families so that programmes and policies can be developed that will benefit society.

It was a fantastic weekend of hard work and strong analysis that will help to further the amazing work of these charities, allowing them to take a more focused, efficient and impactful approach to the great work they do. Nitro was delighted to be a part of it.

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Originally published at blog.gonitro.com on March 3, 2016.