What gets measured gets improved. If you want human rights to be prioritised and improved in your country, you probably know that robust, internationally-comparable human rights measurement data is necessary.
We are asked almost daily to expand our human rights measurement work to new countries. If you would like us to produce data for your country or region, here’s how we can work together to make that happen.
In short, we plan to expand our ground-breaking civil and political rights measurement work to all countries in the world within a few years, or as soon as funding allows.
There are two ways we can expand to your country. Let’s call them:
Option A: Data only
Option B: Full partnership: data plus advocacy
For both options, there are three things we need to expand our data collection to a new country:
- Funding for a whole geographical region
- A key person(s) to become a HRMI Ambassador
- In-country partners who are equipped to make sure local civil society and journalists can make the most of the new data, to drive change.
The difference between the two options is the level of funding needed and the extent of work with in-country partners. The full partnership option seeks a higher funding level that will be split between HRMI and one or more in-country partners. So it costs more than the data only option, but with the benefit that HRMI and the in-country partner will work more closely together to maximise the impact of the resulting data.
The story so far
We already have at least some human rights scores for 195 countries.
Our economic and social rights measurement work draws on national statistics, combined with the award-winning methodology of the SERF Index to produce scores measuring how well countries are using their resources to fulfil their people’s rights to education, health, food, housing and work. We have between one and five of these quality of life scores for 195 countries so far, and we’re constantly working to fill in the gaps.
For civil and political rights – things like freedom of speech, and freedom from torture – there are no reliable national statistics we can use. Instead, we go directly to the source of information, by asking people with first-hand knowledge of the local and national human rights situation, like human rights defenders, journalists, and lawyers. We ask these local experts to answer a detailed survey about the situation in their country, and then we use advanced statistical techniques to produce scores that can be compared across countries, and over time.
This is an intensive process to manage, and it takes an average of around USD15,000 a year for each country – this includes costs like translation, ambassador liaison, research, dissemination of country scores on our Rights Tracker, high levels of cybersecurity, and so on.
For that investment, we can produce data like the scores and images below:
Importantly, we can also show trends over time. For civil and political rights, we started collecting data in 2018, but for economic and social rights, we have around ten years of data and can show trend graphs like this one for Mozambique:
In 2019 we produced full sets of data – civil and politcal rights, as well as economic and social rights – for 19 countries, and the data produced are publicly available on our Rights Tracker.
In 2020 we are adding 20 new countries and territories in the Pacific region.
Will your country be added to the list in 2021? Read on!
Requirement #1: Can you help us find funding for your region?
We are a non-profit organisation, funded by grants and donations by people and organisations who see the need for better human rights data.
The cost of a data only expansion is around USD15,000 per country per year. For this, we produce powerful tools – freely available to anyone – to drive change and improvement for the lives of people everywhere.
It’s not practical for us to raise that money country by country – we would spend all our time applying for small grants and reporting on them to funders. We far prefer to expand to a continent or region at a time, as we have with the Pacific region – 21 countries at once in that case.
This approach also has the advantage of meaning that your country will be able to compare itself to its closest neighbours – which can give an extra incentive to governments to improve.
Do you have ideas on who in your region would sponsor our expansion to a group of five or more countries, or an entire region? If you don’t know who to approach, perhaps we can work together? It’s more powerful for funders to hear from you that you need our data, than for us to tell them our work is useful.
Funders will get excellent value for their investment. Our data can improve civic discourse in your region, allowing advocates and journalists to make stronger arguments for change and prodding governments to prioritise measurable human rights goals.
Requirement #2: Who will be the HRMI Ambassador in your country?
In each country where we run the annual expert survey, we work with a local human rights worker, our HRMI Ambassador, who helps connect us to a diverse range of knowledgeable people who can be survey respondents.
It’s a voluntary role that takes 1-2 hours a week for just a few months of the year. These amazing people make a huge difference to our ability to produce high quality data. The Ambassador needs to liaise with the HRMI team (so in most cases that means they need to speak English), and be well connected in the human rights community for their country.
Requirement #3: We need in-country partners to make the most of the data we produce
In many countries so far we have successfully expanded with the Ambassador (a volunteer position) being our only in-country partner.
We would now like to experiment with the full partnership model which will support our data to be used by more people in each country that participates.
The full partnership model makes particular sense for countries that are particularly large (like India), complex (like Palestine & Israel), or both (like China), and in countries where in-country partners are particularly motivated to experiment with new ways of using data to bring about change.
We are still in the early stages of developing the full partnership model: this will involve working with partners to attract funding for both the survey and in-country advocacy projects. Our partners will help recruit potential survey respondents, and also customise communications campaigns to the local context, and make sure the local human rights community can create powerful tools for change using our scores.
The full partnership model is more expensive, but we also expect it to be more effective.
If you are a civil society organisation who might want to partner with us to co-apply for funding to embark on this important work together, please get in touch.