Gathering information about the well-being of a community is almost always an extractive process. People from outside the community, whether they are from the government, or researchers, or institutions such as the World Bank, engage the time and resources of those living in poor communities to collect data but rarely ensure that this information flows back into the hands of the participants. In an effort to reverse this process, Participatory tracking develops ICT tools, and systems of data visualization developed jointly with communities, to enable members of the community to the design, collect, and – importantly – analyze their own data. This allows them to track changes in their well-being, and the impact of programs that affect them and thus allow them to make more informed individual and collective decisions.
Related to a forthcoming paper: “Democratizing Data: Participatory Tracking in Tamil Nadu” by Nethra Palaniswamy, Vijayendra Rao, Smriti Sakhamuri, R.V. Shajeevana and Cassandra Xia.