New York, April 27, 2020 – To help governments and organizations in the region to combat COVID-19, the United Nations Development Programme in Latin America and the Caribbean and Grandata just launched a platform that facilitates the analysis of people's movements outside their homes.
A key foundation of containment policies to restrict the spread of COVID-19 is encouraging people to stay at home. Social distancing, lockdowns, and quarantine related policies have become essential in the fight to “flatten the curve” of this disease. But, in Latin America and the Caribbean, a region with higher poverty rates and over half the workforce employed in the informal sector—staying at home presents an even starker challenge for many.
In that context, the good design of policies and programs requires the ability to monitor citizens' mobility in real time. This monitoring is necessary to adequately design the response of governments, and to direct aid from the private sector and civil society, so that they effectively contribute to containing the sources of the pandemic.
UNDP and Grandata online tool shows the activity of anonymous mobile users – with their consent - outside of their homes compared to any reference date. The platform provides the percentage of variation of mobile activity at country, state and municipality levels to aid governments assess how their citizens respond to containment policies.
“With this alliance we put at the service of both governments and researchers a tool that, in combination with other geo referenced data, will inform policy design to contain poverty while lockdowns and other social distancing measures are in place. Compliance with confinement will also be informative about the sustainability of these measures”, said Marcela Melendez, Chief Economist for UNDP in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The platform also describes, in smaller hexagons, the total number of events carried out by mobile users outside their homes on any given day. These hexagons have configurable dimensions to facilitate different study objectives.
"Grandata is committed to supporting governments in Latin America to minimize the effects of COVID-19, leveraging its know-how and data tools. This partnership with UNDP enables policymakers to assess the impact of public policies, to help make data driven decisions to protect their citizens", said Mat Travizano, CEO of Grandata.
The tool uses anonymous location data collected - with permission of users - through mobile applications. On average, it works with a coverage of between 2% and 5% of the population of each country. The details on the methodology is here.
The platform processes data for 9 countries in Latin America, and more figures for other countries will be available soon.
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