Icebreakers Uganda (IBU) with support from Digital Human Rights Lab (DHRL) and GIZ concluded a two-day data and digitalization workshop in Kampala. The workshop under their Data Management and Digitalization Project that has been running since September 2020 took place on Tuesday 23rd February 2021.

It was attended by several participants in the fields of research, data management, monitoring and evaluation from different LGBT+ and sex workers' led organizations across the country.

In his introduction remarks, Elvis Ayesiga, the Programs Director IBU said that the goal of this initiative is to develop and promote better data collection and storage practices for LGBTI/ Sex Workers' led organizations.

"The world has transitioned and not many people want to read long blocks anymore. We intend to learn from one another the best ways that we can visualize our data as we pool more partners and allies to get involved or engaged in our work through evidence and documentation in a country where it has been a widespread perception that we are non-existent," Elvis said.

Brant Luswata the Executive Director Icebreakers Uganda, noted that even though key populations have collected data over the years, there is lack of this information as it has been misused and displaced due to lack of ownership.

"As Key Populations, we have collected data but we don't own it. We want to make sure that each and every stone has been turned as we come together to figure out ways in which we can achieve ownership of the data we collect, put out there and share. This will help make each one of us accountable to the marginalized communities we serve." Brant further mentioned that through a unanimous vote, Uganda Key Populations Consortium (UKPC) will be the data hub for Key Populations in Uganda.

The two days training was facilitated by Policy Uganda, I Freedom Network Uganda, Defenders Protection Initiative and Icebreakers Uganda who took participants through sessions on research interview skills, International Research Board (IRB) ethics, data collection, data clearing and analysis tools, data visualization, online safety, digital safety storages and how to use data for programming/ advocacy.

One of the things that was drawn to the forefront is the importance of protection of human rights for all target individuals including LGBTQ persons and sex workers without any form of bias. It was also noted that the legal and social constraints faced by key populations can impede or frustrate research studies in Uganda thus recommended TASO Uganda and MildMay as IRBs that are comfortable working with marginalized communities.

To conclude the event, attendees were urged to share the knowledge gained through the training with their respective communities. Participants also shared some reactions about the training and what they hope to achieve with the information dispersed.

Participant from AWAC: "Enhancing progressive realization and evidence based advocacy for integrated UHC for Key and mainstream populace is certainly possible when we have well researched data. We would like to commend @IbuUganda for organizing this informative & engaging data digitalization workshop."

Michael Semakula: "Data safety and security is critical in the data management, but this is more effective with responsible data usage."

Participant from Mbarara: "As an M&E Officer, this workshop has been fruitful for me. The tools I have learnt will not only help me as an individual but also the organization I work with to come up with better documentation of our activities in the rural parts of Mbarara."