Tunisia’s revolutionary wave between December 2010 and January 2011 is considered by many as a digital revolution due to the important role that technology and social media played in speeding it up.
Since then, together with progress made in advancing in its democratic transition, Tunisia has also been carrying out some groundbreaking work in terms of Governance statistics. This is the case of a national piloting SDG 16 on Peace and Justice and in developing statistics on Governance. Governance was also considered to be an area that people would like to post comments about in different social media (Twitter, Facebook, blogs). This justified the choice of social media analysis rather than mobile data or other data sources.
The solution thus aimed at measuring and analyzing sentiment towards the different topics covered by the SDG 16 (corruption, human rights, public administration, crime) as a means to monitor these different targets and see to which extent this could provide a value added to other more traditional statistical analysis methods based on household surveys and administrative data.
The project started in July 2015 within the framework of a UNDP cross-regional (Europe and CIS and Arab States) initiative aimed at piloting the use of Big Data for development in cooperation with the Tunisian National Statistics Institute, the main national partner of the initiative.
The results obtained in terms of sentiment analysis towards the problem of corruption showed a correlation with those from a household survey carried out by the National Statistics Institute in October 2014 on Governance, Peace and Democracy (GPD). In effect, both the social media analysis tool and the household survey showed a negative perception of around 70% on corruption during the same period (September-October 2014). This correlation suggests that social media analysis could be an interesting complement to household surveys and administrative data to ensure real-time monitoring and measurement of the SDGs. Analysis is still ongoing in order to see whether this same correlation exists with other targets also covered by the 2014 GPD Survey.
The initiative can easily be replicated with other SDGs and targets, especially if they cover areas that people will tend to post about in public social media (Twitter, public pages in Facebook, blogs). SDG 4 on education and SDG 5 on gender equality could be interesting examples.
The initiative has allowed the National Statistics Institute to become a member of the global task force on Big Data and SDGs. It has also motivated the institution to start planning the set up of an internal unit on Big Data.
Budget: The support received through the Innovation for Development initiative involved both seed funding and in-kind contributions mainly through the expertise of the UNDP colleagues in the Regional Hubs of Amman and Istanbul and Global Pulse.
Partners: National Statistics Institute in Tunisia, UNDP Tunisia, UNDP Innovation Facility, UNDP Amman Regional Hub, UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub, United Nations Global Pulse.
Kamel Abdellaoui, Director, the National Statistics Institute
Phone number: +216 71 28 11 23