Day 2: Responsible Data for Children Team Arrives in Mbarara

This blog by Andrew J. Zahuranec was originally published on the Responsible Data for Children blog site. Learn more about The GovLab’s Responsible Data for Children initiative at rd4c.org.

Image by bill wegener/Unsplash is licensed under CC0.

Yesterday, with the support of UNHCR, the Responsible Data for Children (RD4C) initiative, a collaboration between UNICEF and The GovLab to promote more responsible and effective management of data for and about children, hosted its first studio with national-level decision-makers in Kampala to understand how data can be better used to improve refugee mental health and provide psychosocial services. Highlights of the event will be shared shortly.

Today, the RD4C team joined by UNICEF and UNHCR Uganda arrived in the city of Mbarara to expand this solicitation to the field. We hope to solicit the ideas and opinions of stakeholders responsible for implementing data systems as well as designing them — particularly those who work directly with groups most affected by these data systems.

Since its arrival in the city, the team has had constructive discussions with the Office of the Prime Minister Regional Office, UNHCR leadership, and officials at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital about child refugee children’s mental health and the ways that data can support them. Indeed, Dr. Godfrey Zari Rukundo, Head of Department of Psychiatry of the Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital spoke, at length about the challenges he encounters. He noted, “I wish we had more data on the state of mental health among children and adolescents nationwide.” This data could be used to compare progress across regions and identify good practices to complex mental health challenges.

We will be excited to receive further insights on the value and challenges facing data systems tomorrow when we travel to the refugee settlement in Isingiro to meet with community stakeholders, volunteers, and adolescents themselves. Stay tuned as we uncover more about the data ecosystem for child refugees in Uganda. You can also contact us at rd4c@thegovlab.org for more information.

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