Finding Hope in Data

I’m staring at my calendar looking at the date two weeks from now — the year will be 2020 and for as long as I could remember, 2020 was “the future”.

  • When we’d be zipping around in flying cars.
  • Cancer would be cured with some kind of radical gene therapy.
  • I’d have a little robot that motors around my house cleaning up after me.
  • Maybe we wouldn’t have to work anymore!

The dreams of the future were amazing! And while it’s easy to slink back in our seat and think “we got...none of that (except for cleaning robots. that’s cool). Instead we got Twitter and lots of yelling”, the reality is technology is bringing us closer to a new kind of hope (that may or may not be a wink at the last Star Wars moving coming out this weekend).

One of the most rewarding things about my job is I get to sit back and watch Secure Data Kit be used for so many wonderful, world changing projects.

  • A project to see how many clean water wells are dug in Nicaragua.
  • A near real time test to see how many people test positive for a certain disease.
  • Testing to see how many children receive life saving medication.


These are just some of the hundreds of data projects run on Secure Data Kit in 2019. Over the past 12 months, we’ve processed millions of surveys and hundreds of millions of data points. This is double the growth over this time last year and has allowed us to build out data systems that drill down to specific villages and fly out to entire continents.

The data collected in the above projects is allowing us to understand with greater specificity and clarity where disease is happening, to whom, and most importantly, how to get treatments to these populations as quickly as possible.

With better data, we can make better decisions. And with better decisions, we can help transform more lives.

Here's looking forward to 2020 and focusing on how data can make the world a better place!
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