New Data Review Room Opened within Moldova’s Ministry of Labor and Social Protection Figure 1. Kent D. Logsdon, US Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova (L), and Alexei Buzu, Moldova Minister of Labor and Social Protection (R), officially launched the second Data Review Room in Moldova on February 24, 2023. March 29, 2023 By Camelia Gheorghe and Matthew LaBarbera, Data for Impact Following the inauguration of Moldova’s first Data Review Room in Ștefan Vodă, a second Data Review Room was opened on February 24, 2023, the first anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Located within the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection (MOLSP) in Moldova’s capital of Chișinău, the new facility is designed to serve as a central hub of the Ministry’s response to the refugee crisis as well as a platform to anticipate and prepare for future emergencies. The Data Review Room will support the MOLSP and its partners in providing accommodation, access to cash allowances, basic services, and support for over 100,000 refugees who remain within Moldova’s borders.[i] Much like the one in Ștefan Vodă, this Room is a manifestation of the Moldovan government’s efforts to integrate data-driven decision making more effectively into their strategic planning and emergency response. The Data Review Room in the MOLSP will allow its users to aggregate real-time information across a wide range of data sources—such as refugee databases, information systems of the Government, Blue Dots databases, and police records—and, using the Room’s analysis and visualization dashboard, to make more impactful interventions informed by available data. The central theme of the opening event was the Moldovan government’s commitment to data review and use as a critical element of the decision-making process. Alexei Buzu, Minister of Labor and Social Protection, affirmed the value of the Data Review Rooms and its potential for facilitating timely and targeted responses in the ever-shifting landscape of the refugee crisis. “I am glad that this initiative is continuing, and I appreciate the support of our partners in helping us develop tools to increase social protection for vulnerable groups. The data generated will help us to better identify the needs of refugees, host communities, and citizens in difficult situations. It will also help us better plan our response actions. We will be there for those who need our support.” He told the audience that at the beginning of the war, his Ministry had to collect most of its data by telephone, a time-consuming and inefficient process that left little time for careful assessment.[ii] Now, the Ministry is not only prepared with data but in a much stronger position to perform the necessary analysis to identify gaps in service and develop appropriate remedies. Kent D. Logsdon, the US Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova, also attended the event in Chișinău. He noted that Moldova has received the most refugees per capita of any country and recognized the compassion of Moldova and its people as they provided shelter for those fleeing violence.[iii] Additionally, Logsdon sees the Data Review Rooms and the work they reinforce as “new tangible results in the long-standing partnership between the United States Government and the Republic of Moldova.” Figure 2. Camelia Gheorghe, D4I’s Chief of Party in Moldova, spoke about how the Data Review Room will support central and local authorities in decision making to improve the lives of Ukrainian refugees and their host communities. During the launch event, the attendees watched a demonstration of the data analysis and visualization tools. Data were transformed into dashboards and maps ready for use by the Ministry officials. Moreover, the platform facilitates trend forecasting, allowing the stakeholders to prepare for likely shocks. They saw how analysts and stakeholders could interact with the data and use these tools towards regular and targeted assessment to effectively respond to a situation as it develops. By strengthening capacity to assess data and by promoting a culture of data use, the Data Review Rooms represent more than just a solution to an immediate problem. The next step for D4I is to finalize standard operating procedures and provide training and mentorship for the Rooms users, including staff from MOLSP and partner organizations that support refugees. Once the refugee crisis demands abate, the two Data Review Rooms within Moldova will become platforms for exploring solutions to other pressing concerns such as effective child protection, social aid, and policy development. Watch this recording of the Data Review Room launch event from February 24, 2023. A video with Romanian closed captioning is also available for viewing. _____________________________________ References: [i] UNCHR, Refugee Coordination Forum – Republic of Moldova. Microsoft Power BI [ii] TVR Moldova, “În premieră, Guvernul de la Chişinău a lansat o cameră de stocare şi examinare a datelor despre refugiaţii care tranzitează sau locuiesc în R. Moldova.” TVR MOLDOVA https://tvrmoldova.md/article/e5a7fb6ac8b48868/in-premiera-guvernul-de-la-chisinau-a-lansat-o-camera-de-stocare-si-examinare-a-datelor-despre-refugiatii-care-tranziteaza-sau-locuiesc-in-r-moldova.html [iii] Moldpres, “A fost lansată prima Cameră de Examinare a Datelor pentru gestionarea fluxului de refugiați.” https://www.moldpres.md/news/2023/02/24/23001529 _____________________________________ Authors: Camelia Gheorghe, MSc, has more than 25 years of M&E and social development experience in European Union countries, Western Balkans, Central Asia, Ukraine, and Moldova. She currently serves as D4I Chief of Party in the Republic of Moldova and has been with Palladium for six years. Matthew LaBarbera is an administrative support specialist with D4I, based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.