Home Opinion Halima Imam: Data as the superhero in the fight against social issues

Halima Imam: Data as the superhero in the fight against social issues


By Halima Imam

I was listening to a senior member of government talk at a conference over the weekend about data, and how much of it we need, it reiterated the fact that with the right data, zero corruption and the proper mindset, we indeed have a saviour. In a world where social issues are as persistent as that pesky sock-eating, rotten teeth monster hiding in our laundry rooms, we find ourselves in dire need of a superhero. But fear not, for in the battle against societal woes, ‘data’ has emerged as the unlikely hero. Armed with its formidable powers of insight and analysis, data is swooping in to save the day! So, grab your capes and prepare to delve into the importance of data in combating social issues.

Imagine this: Spider-Man without his web-slinging abilities or Batman without his trusty utility belt. Just as these superheroes rely on their unique strengths, data is the secret weapon that enables us to tackle social issues head-on. Now, seat back, relax and let’s explore some mind-boggling statistics that demonstrate the incredible impact of data-driven approaches.

Firstly, its education’s Arch-Nemesis: Illiteracy. Did you know that approximately 750 million adults worldwide are illiterate? Shocking right? That’s like having an army of super-villains working against education! OK, maybe not super-villains, but just an army.  However, data doesn’t back down from a challenge, cool right? It comes to the rescue by collecting information through surveys, assessments, and research studies. By analyzing this data, we gain insights into the factors contributing to illiteracy, such as lack of access to quality education, poverty, or gender disparities. Armed with this knowledge, organizations can develop targeted programs and allocate resources efficiently, ensuring no one is left behind in the pursuit of education.

Its also poverty’s Kryptonite (if you don’t understand, then you are hereby fine for not watching superman), well,to cut long story short, it leads to economic empowerment, some of you might ask, but how? Now here’s how it will work. Poverty is a formidable adversary, affecting over 700 million people globally. But fear not, for data is here to level the playing field! Data collection takes many forms, including household surveys, income assessments, and socioeconomic indicators. Through rigorous data analysis, we uncover the root causes of poverty, such as limited job opportunities, inadequate social support systems, or systemic inequalities. This invaluable insight allows governments and organizations to design effective poverty alleviation programs, promote economic empowerment, and pave the way for a brighter future, easy peasy!

Our incredible superhero is also discrimination’s Nemesis(thunderous evil laughter, with a touch of giggle), it serves social justice. Discrimination, like an evil mastermind, divides societies and undermines progress. But wait, there’s data! Data collection comes to the forefront, capturing information on various forms of discrimination based on race, gender, or other factors. Surveys, focus groups, and observational studies help researchers gather valuable insights into the prevalence and impact of discrimination. Armed with this knowledge, policymakers and activists can craft evidence-based solutions to address systemic biases, promote equality, and pave the way for a more inclusive and just society.

Data is power, it is food for a hungry man on a very sunny day, it is information in your ears, data my friends is, environmental destruction’s Foe, because it leads us down the beautiful and everlasting path to sustainability. Picture this: a world drowning in plastic waste and gasping for fresh air. But fret not, for data is on the scene! Data collection takes on a crucial role in assessing environmental challenges. Through methods like satellite imagery, sensors, and field surveys, we collect data on carbon emissions, deforestation rates, pollution levels, and more. By crunching these numbers, data provides a clear picture of the environmental issues we face. Armed with this information, environmentalists and policymakers can develop strategies to combat climate change, preserve biodiversity, and ensure a sustainable future for generations to come.

With data in existence, healthcare has a guardian, and we can all beat our chest and rest assured that there won’t be another global lockdown, because a ‘covid19 lookalike’ won’t be visiting our planet ever again, as a result of disease prevention. In the battle against diseases, data plays the role of a vigilant guardian. Data collection encompasses a wide array of sources, including health records, surveillance systems, and clinical trials. By analyzing health trends, monitoring outbreaks, and tracking the efficacy of interventions, data empowers healthcare professionals to prevent the spread of diseases and improve public health. From the eradication of smallpox to the ongoing fight against COVID-19, data is an indispensable ally in the quest for a healthier world.

Just like a superhero with extraordinary powers, data has the ability to illuminate the darkness and guide us towards a better tomorrow. With its analytical prowess, data helps us understand the challenges we face, identify effective solutions, and ultimately conquer social issues. So, let us embrace the power of data and unleash its full potential to create a more just, equitable, and prosperous world. Together, we can be the heroes we’ve been waiting for! Although we must never forget, with great data comes great responsibility.

Halima Imam writes from axk4lima@gmail.com