Sustainable development is built on the foundations of a peaceful, just and inclusive society and institutions. New types of war, conflict and violence challenge traditional ways of doing analysis to support peace and security efforts. Small data and methods of analysis used with small data cannot respond to these new challenges. We need to strengthen our analytical capacities, use new types of data and develop new methods.
Pulse Lab Kampala and partners explored the utility of analysing data from social media and public radio broadcasts to extract insights to feed early warning systems and inform peace and security processes.
The first test case used data extracted from social media, namely posts from public Facebook pages and groups, to analyse how influencers and fake news might be shaping discussions among online users in Somalia and to identify trending topics relevant to SDG16 – peace, justice and strong institutions. The second case study analysed public discussions on radio shows to detect instances of rumours and misconceptions, and of social tensions as reported by listeners in Uganda.
These initial studies showed that analysis of big data sources from social media and radio shows can provide rich and timely information for effective conflict mitigation by identifying trends as they emerge and monitoring contexts as they evolve.