Reporting live from the GA on the Data Mural, this is Jenny Abrams.
A group of 14 participants gathered with their box lunches to answer the question, 'What is a data mural?'
Emily and Rahul Bhargava helped explain that it's a process of taking information and data, turning it into visual media, and ultimately making a mural to communicate a theme. That task of the day was to take on this project for our community partners. We started out with three possible topic areas: education, health expenditures, and women's issues, all of which are essential to overall health and wellbeing. In the typical DGH democratic process, the group wanted to focus on multiple topics, so we split up into two groups to carefully examine the data.
The processs started with breaking down the data presented to us, and turning it into a story. We were asked to break down the data like this:
The data say ___. This is an interesting story because _______.
From the women's issues group, a few themes were identified (source: World Bank):
- The rate of adolescent fertility rate is higher in the US (33/1000) than in Burundi (20/1000), and much higher than comparable countries (5/1000 in Italy, and 6/1000 in France). This may reflect the lack of comprehensive sexual education and access to contraception in our country.
- In many countries with higher adolescent fertility rate, they also have higher maternal mortality ratio, speaking to the importance of adolescent education and resources.
- The rate of materal mortality ratio is 800/100,000 in Burundi despite nearly 1/3 of parliamentary and ministerial seats being held by women in that country. This may speak to the need for resources targeting women's health in addition to political representation. This may also speak to the fact that Burundi has the highest level of poverty out of all the countries cited.
- The proportion of seats held by women in the US (17%) is the lowest compared to other countries. All countries examined have 37% or less seats held by women which may speak to the lack of voice for women in governments around the globe.
From the health issues group, the themes identified were:
- Europe and the US have 10 times as much health expenditures as other countries, which does not correlate to having 10 times as much improved outcomes.
- Not everyone in the US has access to an improved water metric.
- There is a large range in health expenditures per capita among various countries, ranging from $20-$8,000.
- Rates of preventable deaths appearsto be clustered by regions--US, Europe, Africa--and that this split was largely correlated with per capita expenditure, water, sanitation, but not with percent of GDP.
- The US spends significantly more money on health but there is significantly less hospital beds than France. The rates of death were correlated with per capita spending.
In discussing which one of these concepts to chose for our mural, we all had doubts about how we could draw such dramatic conculsions from the data. An astute participant offered to phrase the above coments in the context of 'Why do we live in a world where... ?'
We then sat down and put these ideas into pictures. Each person started a visual story, and then passed their paper to the right, each person continuing the story as we passed the papers around. We then collectively examined the finished products and identified visual themes and elements that we wanted to see in the finished product. We settled on an image of a two-headed woman with a backdrop of a world surrounded by a global community of people and flowers. Each woman image will represent different maternal realities and resources, highlighting the incredible disparity around the world in maternal health and mortality.
Come join us at our fundraiser tonight to help us paint, and turn this idea into reality!
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