Parsons School of Design partners with UNDP Africa

Nov 21, 2016

Parsons School of Design is currently working on a data visualization site for UNDP Africa’s report on economic inequality in Africa scheduled for release in early 2017. Photo: Parsons School of Design

The New York-based school will provide data visualization tools for the Regional Bureau’s upcoming report on economic inequality in Africa

New York —  UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Africa and New York’s Parsons School of Design have announced their intention to launch a partnership under which data visualization tools designed by Parsons students will power UNDP Africa’s flagship reports.

This announcement formalizes a relationship that began in early 2015 as Parsons School of Design students set out to work on UNDP’s 2016 Africa Human Development Report. As part of that project, they created striking visualizations exploring gender equality and women’s empowerment; linkages between gender equality, human development, and structural transformation; equal opportunities for economic, sociocultural, and political advancement; the influence of social norms; and legislative policies for achieving Africa’s development agenda.

This exciting partnership is a win-win for all. It exposes the Parsons School of Design students to real life issues while the data visualization tools help to effectively communicate complex issues among a wider audience. And this ties in well with UNDP’s goal to make our work accessible to a large group of experts, policymakers  and the  public  and at the same time contribute to developing skills and discovering talents” says UNDP Africa Chief Economist Ayodele Odusola.

Launched in the fall of 2015, the Data Visualization M.Sc. is a multidisciplinary programme that enables students to explore and develop skills across the dynamic intersection of visual design, computer science, and statistical analysis.

“In today’s world, as the presentation of data has become increasingly important to shaping opinion, policy, and decision making in all sectors, data visualization is an essential tool,” says Aaron Hill, the director of the programme. “The rising demand for experts to turn vast amounts of data into insight and action gives graduates of this program a very competitive edge.”

As Hill points out, the fields of data science and visualization are growing at a rapid pace as an estimated 1.5 million data interpretation–related jobs in the United States are currently waiting to be filled.

As the partnership has now been integrated into the Data Visualization curriculum, Parsons School of Design confirmed that its students are currently working on a data visualization site for UNDP Africa’s upcoming report —Growth, Poverty and Inequality Interactions in Africa—, scheduled for release in early 2017.

“We are optimistic that the lessons from this partnership will shape our approach to communicating research findings to policymakers and the public in the years ahead” added Odusola.

 

For more information please contact:

Ayodele Odusola, ayodele.odusola@undp.org

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