Civil Society Data & Technology Accelerator Programme


The Data for Development lab is an initiative developed by the Cropper Foundation in collaboration with TTLAB which seeks to bring together civil society organizations, students and industry professionals to create a ‘Think and do’ culture to assist civil society organizations in using data driven methodologies in their daily operations.

Why Data Science and Technology?

Data Science is a multidisciplinary field that combines Computer Science and Statistics to aid organisations in making decisions. Both Data Science and technology have become more and more prevalent over the past century. Technological advances, such as social media have allowed persons from different parts of the world to communicate seamlessly.

Over time, data science has helped improve many functions of every day life: from businesses better able to predict the prices of certain products, make tailored recommendations to customers and reduce overall operating costs; to NGOs and other CSOs being able to provide lower cost goods and services to impoverished and marginalised persons; improve their ability to rapidly generate public opinion, and more systematically analyse data to increase their impact on their beneficiaries. Overall, Data Science and technology have helped to make life much easier and have improved the operations of many sectors of society. Therefore, the Data for Development lab seeks to empower civil society organizations in the use of Data Science and innovative technologies so that they too can enjoy the many benefits that they have to offer.

CSO Technology Accelerator Programme

The Data for Development Lab has designed an 8-month accelerator programme, in partnership with Microsoft (Caribbean), that will enhance the abilities of 10 CSOs, which will be selected following a competitive application and selection process. The Accelerator Programme will:

  1. Educate civil society organizations on several topics in Data Science/Technology.
  2. Encourage the adoption of such technologies within civil society organizations, thereby facilitating improved business operations.
  3. Stimulate the generation of data-driven ideas and solutions that will allow civil society organizations to further streamline their business operations.

Primary Outcomes

10 CSOs will be selected to take part in the 1st CSO Accelerator Programme and will:

  1. Significantly build their capacity and understanding of the applications of data science and technology to their work in Trinidad and Tobago
  2. Co-build a pilot/prototype data science or technology solution targeted at improving a selected element of their work and impact
  3. Co-create a knowledge product for the annual CSO Data Science and Technology Review to be launched at the end of the Programme.

Eligibility criteria

  1. Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) must be registered under the Companies Act (1995) or the Non-Profits Organisations Act (2019) or any other recognised legal classification.
  2. CSOs must be in operation for at least one (1) year with some demonstrable impact on their beneficiary communities related to their vision and mission.
  3. CSOs must have access to an internet connection and to a tablet, laptop or desktop computer with, at minimum, audio capability, for the duration of the programme.
  4. CSOs must be willing to have two (2) representatives take part in the programme for its duration.

Deadline for application: 8:00 am (AST), Monday 28th February.

Programme Outline

A public call for CSO applications will be made during the month of February. Applications will consist of general demographic data, current interest and programmatic areas of the CSOs, and existing competency levels and understanding of data science and technology
From March – May 2022, 6 seminars will be hosted with each one focusing on key data science and technology trends and approaches, facilitated by a local expert drawn from academia/industry. Themes and trends will be informed by the interest areas of participating CSOs.
From June – August 2022, the accelerator programme will host a 3-month internship programme that will pair the participating CSOs with current computer science students at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus, to produce a data driven solution informed by the CSOs’ interest areas, current work and knowledge gained over the previous months of the programme.
At the end of the Accelerator programme, CSOs and interns will collaborate on the production of a knowledge product that encapsulates the work of the CSO and the contribution of their technology solution to increasing their impact.

Deadline for application: 8:00 am (AST), Monday 28th February.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I receive a certificate of participation?

Both participants and the CSO will receive a certificate of participation on completion of the programme.

Are there any costs associated with signing up for this program?

No additional costs are expected for participation.

What materials am I required to have to sign up for this program?

Participants should be able to use basic applications such as Zoom meetings and other teleconferencing applications, as well as be comfortable using email and Microsoft Office applications such as Microsoft Word.

I do not think I have what I need to sign up for this program. Can I sign up next year?

Yes, we expect to host the 2nd cohort of the programme in 2023.

How many computer science interns will be assigned to my organization?

Between 1-2 interns will be assigned to a CSO. This will depend on the task at hand and the availability of interns.

Will the programme be virtual or in-person?

The programme is being designed to be fully virtual, including the internship elements. This may change based on the prevailing conditions and legislation regarding the ongoing pandemic.

What is the expected start and end date of the internship program?

The internship period is expected to run for approximately 10-12 weeks between June and August 2022.

Are interns expected to report to a supervisor within the CSO?

Yes, one of the CSO participants in the programme must be identified as the primary liaison between the CSO and the interns for supervision.

Is the CSO expected to produce a report at the end of the internship?

The internship programme is intended to produce at minimum a knowledge product – an article, academic paper, technical paper – on the application of a named technological approach to a social/environmental problem.

Will I be financially compensated for participating in this program?

No, the programme will not be able to provide a stipend or cover any additional costs for participation.