Data Extraction: Sources, Justification, Expectations and Limitations


Compiled by Eunica Pabwaungana Shurugwi Community Development Trust ( SCDT )

Stakeholders from four districts in Zimbabwe gathered for an inspiring workshop on data journalism academy at Forest hills in Vumba, Mutare. The workshop was hosted by the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) from the 6th-8th of November 2019. Participants were drawn from Health Centre Committees (HCC), School Development Committees ( SDC),Data Extractors , Paralegals, Community Based Organizations ( CBOs ) , Councilors and Chief Executive Officers( CEOs ). Mr Mukasiri Sibanda (ZELA Economic Governance Officer) indicated the importance of data extraction, how to extract data  from different sectors and sources in the mining sector. He highlighted that data is not adequate without extraction, processing or packaging. Processed data needs to be disseminated to the citizens so that everyone is aware of the benefits from natural resources like minerals.

Sources of Data

Data should be extracted from reliable sources. The Government, State owned entities and organizations for instance the Central government, Local government, Environmental management Agency, Traditional Leaders and Health Centre Committees.

Why Data Is Extracted from The Local Government

Citizens should know about local, economic and social developments in their Rural District Councils (RDC) because they are the owners and custodians of  mineral wealth extracted by mining companies. Data extracted from the rural district councils should include tax collected by the RDC and how it is distributed between development projects and how it is utilized in the running of the council programs. Community participation on short, medium- and long-term budgets  should also be clearly highlighted in data extraction.

Why Data Is Extracted from Mining Companies

Citizens have a right  to know about mining contracts, realization of Environmental Impact Assessment( EIA) and Unit tax agreements to name but a few. Citizens should also take participatory roles during meetings with the mining companies.

Data extracted from the mining company should include the following :

  • Balance recruitment in mining company
  • Chances of business
  • Community share
  • How much they pay and when they should pay
  • How they extract
  • Tax agreements between mining company and the government

Why Data Is Extracted from The Traditional Leaders

Citizens should be aware of agreements on Community Share Ownership Trust (CSOT),developments in terms of infrastructure as well as sustainable projects and how they can participate during the development planning process and the implementation of the development projects.

Why Data Is Extracted from Environmental Management Agency (EMA)

Citizen should be privy of the local companies Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) document and this entails participating during EIA consultations, assist in the monitoring of the EIA provisions and agreements.

Why Data Extracted from The Central Government

Citizens would like to know about the national budget. Tax and royalties paid by mining companies to the government. The community share and distribution of funds mechanism used by the central government. Central government should publish public funds expenditure in a transparent manner.

Why  Data Is Extracted from SDC And School Heads

Communities need to know about the school budget, number of students and how they utilize the  fees. There has to be transparency on income acquired from donors, or Non-Governmental Organization. The distribution of the income, how it is shared and used in line with provision of safe water, sanitation for the children and how these resources are used to enhance service delivery at schools.

Why Data Is Extracted from The HCC And Clinic Stuff

The community needs to know the number of health providers , drugs availability ,ambulance , diseases affecting the community. Health service delivery status of the clinics, number of staff they have, sanitary equipment, health equipment.

How Data Is Extracted

It is extracted through interview discussions ( recording ) , audios , videos  cameras and writing.

Importance of data extraction

  • To promote transparency  and accountability
  • To promote the rule of law

Citizens will then make organised action to highlight on critical issues and influence other people for change on a certain targeted law or policy

Challenges Faced in Trying to Extract Data

  • Some Stakeholders do not want to disclose their information especially mining companies.
  • Distance moved in trying to extract data
  • Political threats
  • Data extractor can be given false information normally on the types of minerals , quantity and marketing of products.

Means of Sharing Data

  • Blog article writing
  • In person during meetings and community gathering.
  • Through social media i.e. WhatsApp , Twitter , Blog , Face book , Instagram, text mages etc.

How To Write A Report By Refias Sithole 

A data extractor by the name Refias Sithole gave a brief on how to write a report. He mentioned that a report is written within few days after the incident. It is important for a data extractor to keep some records for future use or evident . A report includes where , why , what , when who and how which are the  four Ws. Rephias  highlighted on the structure of a report  saying ,  a report needs a suitable  topic which motivate the reader. It has got three stages which are : the topic , the main  body and the conclusion , it is of great importance if the writer  gave the theme of the story  lastly to avoid confusion because the three steps should link to each other

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