Data Challenge Leverages Local Expertise in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao

April 14, 2021 — Twenty-one unique data-driven solutions for a range of development challenges in the Philippines’ Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) were recognized during the BARMM Virtual Data Challenge 2020 Awards Ceremony held on April 7 via Zoom. The Bangsamoro Data Challenge invited Filipino data science enthusiasts to produce insights, solutions, or strategies using authentic and reliable publicly available data to solve development challenges in the BARMM.

“Data is key to development. Secondly, quality data is essential for getting to the heart of understanding development challenges, and it is really essential for creating effective solutions. Thirdly, the BARMM region needs these 21st-century skills to chart its own pathway to development,” said Asia Foundation Philippines Country Representative Sam Chittick in his opening remarks.

The initiative addressed key development challenges the BARMM is facing, including:

  1. Better access to quality and inclusive education
  2. Models for moral governance
  3. Bridging economic opportunities to communities
  4. Community-level response to health crises specifically for Covid-19

During the keynote speech on civic participation and its impact, BARMM Cabinet Secretary Asnin Pendatun highlighted that data science can assist the BARMM government for data-driven policies and interventions. “The main challenge, however, is how to make this potential into a reality and in the process, make it a regular aspect of the decision making in the region. It is in this light, that this activity such as the BARMM Data Challenge is of high importance. It gives us opportunities to discover and adopt new technologies to cope with the change and overcome the current and future challenges of the Bangsamoro.”

“It is exciting because we see young people using technology, using available data to come up with solutions, applications and research that would be applicable to the BARMM” says Maria Teresa Robielos, representing the Office of Economic Development and Governance of the United States Agency for International Development, Philippines.

The eight winners will receive cash prizes and a chance for their solutions to be implemented with relevant BARMM agencies and local governments. The BARMM Data Challenge comes at an opportune time when it can support this crucial and foundational phase in Bangsamoro’s transition from conflict to peace.

This activity is supported by the United States Agency for International Development under the Forward Bangsamoro Project of The Asia Foundation, and in partnership with Data Ethics PH and CirroLytix Research Services.

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia. Informed by six decades of experience and deep local expertise, our work across the region addresses five overarching goals—strengthen governance, empower women, expand economic opportunity, increase environmental resilience, and promote international cooperation.

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Related locations: Philippines
Related programs: Conflict and Fragile Conditions, Good Governance
Related topics: Open Data

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