On September 21st Alexander de Croo announced that Belgium will cooperate with Benin and Senegal, its partner countries, to improve access to family planning services through the use of big data and satellite imagery. In 2016 1.3 billion dollars were invested by international communities in family planning programs, however, it is not clear if the entirety of the investments has reached the targeted population.
This is why, during the “She Decides” conference in margin of the United Nations General Assembly in New-York, Belgium introduced a pilot project to try to take care of that situation. Belgian data company Blue Square will be directing the project along with the universities of Brussels and Namur. The project will verify if the investments are made in the most efficient way possible, if they reach the desired aim and if they reach the girls and women who need them.
Big data and satellite imagery will be used to build up to date analyses of girls and women’s access to family planning in Benin and Senegal. The project should lead to a better availability of contraception and a better access to family planning information’s. Awa Marie Coll Seck, state minister of Senegal, commented that “With good data, we can lead good strategies. If it works, we will be able to include other programs and other indicators”. The long term vision is to build a broad data platform that can be used in other countries as well.
Here’s what Alexander de Croo says: “If we want to give girls and women more opportunities to lead the life they want, easy access to family planning is crucial. This project should lead to better availability of contraceptives and easier access to information about family planning. It shows how the use of new technologies leads to better results on the ground. Aiming for innovation to strengthen women’s rights is the pioneering role Belgium’s international development policy wants to play.”