Making Sense Of Data Analysis

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It’s placement time across India. Amidst times of demonetisation and the Trump regime, Rajesh decides to go for a job and postpones his plans for a master’s for another ‘x’ years. Here, the value of ‘x’ is dependent on the probation period. But, yes, Rajesh previously wanted to join core companies for a job offer but now he prefers the job of an analyst because of two reasons: lucrative offers and since it’s more popular these days. The analytical abilities required for being a data analyst are possessed by all up to a certain extent. But, yes, Rajesh believes he has an edge as he has published a paper in statistics.

The above scenario is one of the most common phenomena happening these days. The number of people enrolling for online courses on data analytics has increased exponentially. From what was once considered as a branch of computer science engineering, data analytics now finds its place even in the areas of electrical engineering, mechanical engineering. So let’s first understand each fragment of this area one by one.

Data is a piece of information to be put into simple words. It can be numerical, example — age, weight, cost of an item, etc. or even categorical like skin colour, the flavour of cheesecakes. So what’s the use of data? Well, data needs to be processed just like the food you eat. After the processing, we can have some results which can be used for deducing suitable inferences. Sounds like those lab experiments! Let me explain to you with an example — there’s a famous restaurant opposite VIT University, Tom’s Diner. They make the most amazing cheesecakes in Vellore. So what do I do? I collect the sales record of the different flavours of cheesecake sold in a week.

Now, I process it using simple statistics that we all know — bar graphs. The results clearly depicted the sales by flavour. So what are our conclusions? The most popular flavours and the total number of units sold per week. We can suggest that the chef should make more of these flavours as they’re popular.

So yes, whatever we do after the collection of data is called ‘analysis of data’. Our neighbours, relatives are actually more popular for doing the analysis of our data — Facebook check-ins and WhatsApp stories, etc. But yes, like the above example, data analysis can be biased too. Surprising, right? Like supposedly, your relative sees a glass of Appy Fizz in your glass and he assumes it to be alcohol and says he saw it on your wall for say, around five times. There you go, officially a drunkard pronounced by your relatives. But say for the next 10 posts it never happens, so yes you may have drunk occasionally say in an office party, but still, people assume you to be drinking like every time. So that’s a bias created (weird but technically the same word is used to explain this abnormality).

There is also a need to understand the importance of making sense of the data. Biases are possible to make favourable views, but we need to eliminate bias for a successful analysis for most cases. Example — while planning a city, we should primarily take in views from educated citizens and city developers. Here, we created a bias to simplify our understanding but this may not be the case in all the instances, example — measuring awareness about diseases and their spread. Bias and its need depend on the problem.

By now you must’ve got a clear understanding of data and analysis of data. So what does a data analyst do? Well, like our relative, their job is to analyse the data and suggest some possible inferences. This does not imply that statistics alone is used, there are other optimisation methods like genetic algorithms, neural networks too. Statistics essentially form the foundation of analysis but like Rajesh, we cannot say that statistics alone can help us land a job as a data analyst. We need analytical skills with the ability to correlate to certain areas or problems or practical applications.

But, yes, we do have a large volume of data available at all times. Yet, it is never analysed.  For example, we all want to become data analysts but very few understand what they want to analyse. Data analytics can help in making better decisions but yes we need to make sense out of the data. The average rainfall can help us design better water harvesting systems in a city. The money spending break-up can make us visualise where we need to cut down our budget. There is a strong need to make sense of the data. There can be an issue regarding verification of data, that’s why we need a unique verification method, like a digital fingerprint to verify the data at all times.

Probably this article would make some sense in understanding the essence of data analytics and how it works. More importantly, simplify the understanding the foundation of Industry 4.0. In my next article, I’ll explain Industry 4.0 and its implications or as I say decode it for simple minds. So, stay tuned and keep making sense of the data.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

• Mobilising young people between the age of 18-35 to become ‘Eco-Period Champions’ by making the switch to a sustainable menstrual alternative and becoming advocates for the project
• All existing and upcoming public institutions (pink toilets, washrooms, schools, colleges, government offices, government buildings) across East Delhi to have affordable provisions for sustainable menstrual product options

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.