By Adenike Aloba

Like that ninth-month pressure for a pregnant woman, for my team at Dataphyte and me, piloting a technology-enabled, citizen-powered data gathering and analytics platform to provide highly localised real-time data for journalists and researchers was a baby we had carried for a while and were ready to birth.

The Jamlab Accelerator Programme came at the right time to help us midwife with the delivery of Goloka, a tool that we hope will power decision-making in business, policy, governance, and development. The opportunity to birth this vision within the safety of the accelerator programme, with coaching and support from the programme team and valuable experience sharing with other innovators at a similar stage with us, was priceless. Like pregnant women in developing and underdeveloped countries know too well, the gift of a skilled midwife and a hospital with facilities is a privilege, and that’s how I feel about the accelerator programme.

Dataphyte is a media, research and data analytics organisation deploying data tools and technology for the socio-economic development of Nigeria. Dataphyte’s purpose is to provide a combination of digital products, data analytics and technology to power socio-economic development.

We are the first niche data journalism platform in Nigeria. We use data and technology to find answers to some of the country and continent’s challenges, especially around fiscal transparency and accountability and their impact on democracy. Dataphyte is also innovating around media sustainability, and Goloka is one such way we are doing this.

For us at Dataphyte, our target audience is the development value chain. From using data to contextualise policy actions and inactions of government and providing insight on socio-economic issues through our data journalism, powering CSOs and media with access to data through platforms like the Open Data Platform and Anfani and training on the use of data for storytelling and advocacy, producing occasional papers to influence policy, to driving open government and open data adoption for supporting supply side actors through our State Open Data Platform Initiative.

Goloka is our attempt at solving two related problems, the lacuna of available data to power decision-making, leading to news deserts in the case of media, unrepresentative research outcomes for researchers, disconnect between business and potential markets in otherwise hard-to-reach places and a lack of communication and acceptance of government policies at the grassroots level. The second problem is our sustainability and, by extension, presenting a sustainability model outside the more known subscription and membership models for other media organisations.

One thing that stands out for me of the many lessons I have learnt through the 6-month-long accelerator programme; there is safety in repetition. Reexamining my assumptions about Goloka as a product through the different classes, exercises, assignments and coaching sessions helped to crystalise Goloka’s vision. I gained a better understanding of the problem our product wants to solve, the audience it wants to serve and how it intends to achieve all of this.

I was also greatly inspired by the diverse pool of innovative media thinkers that were the members of my cohort and the unique problems their products will solve in the African continent.

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