The idea

Category: About us

The idea for the came to Jeremy Webb in June 2010 when he first arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from New York.  After several weeks in Addis Ababa, Jeremy realised that for anyone wanting to make a difference in this world, it is sometimes difficult to know where to start – but data might be able to help us work out where the biggest needs are in a country or sector – and this could be a good starting point for anyone looking to make a difference.  After putting down some initial ideas regarding the while travelling with his family in Europe and later in India, there was a hiatus in activity until June 2013.

In June 2013, Jeremy decided to make the a reality and embarked on a process of:

  • developing a classification of human and development needs (Classification of Needs document),
  • selecting and processing indicators of need for key sectors, and
  • developing the website and data for download.  

Along the way, friends have joined the effort and helped in this process, including Daniel, Mike, Begizew and Bruk.  Daniel has a background in IT and has been leading the website development and has been essential to the process of making the Good-Guide a reality. 

Mike and Begizew have reviewed the classification of needs and helped in the identification of indicators, and Bruk has kept the team up to date with innovations being made by other non-profit data providers.  In addition, Jeremy and the team have been catching up with close friends and family and getting feedback on ideas, and we are very grateful to all involved so far.


Category: About us

Assessing levels of need 

The methodology of the good guide is simple.  The aim is to start by assessing levels of need, and to do this,  an overarching indicator is selected to represent the state of need in a  sector.  Based on the indicator, the countries of the world are ranked from the greatest need (ranked 1) to the least need.  This is how the levels of needs are assessed between countries for a specific sector. 

Comparing needs in countries 

The also needs to compare different types of needs within countries (i.e. compares sectors within a country).   To do this, the compares the  country's world rankings for each sector.  If a country is rated as having high need for health (e.g. ranked 5) and this is followed by a lower need in the area of research (e.g. ranked 28) then health is considered the greatest need.  By doing this comparison of rankings across all sectors it is possible to compare and rank different types of need. 

Filling data gaps (i.e. imputation) 

It is very rare that an indicator covers all countries (the research indicator being the exception).  When a country lacks data we have to decide whether the country should be ignored just because there is no data for an indicator, or whether we should try to estimate a value for the country (i.e. impute a value).  We have decided to impute values for countries without indicator values.  The method the Good-Guide has used is basic.  The simply looks at the correlation between GDP per capita and the indicator (e.g. life expectancy at birth for health), and then selects a curve that best fits the data.   The formula for the curve is used to impute values, by entering the GDP per capita of the country into the formula to calculate a value for the indicator.  The imputed indicator value is used along with other measured and imputed values to estimate the rank of the country in terms of need. In reality imputed values only give a general sense of where the country might be in terms of need, and it would be ideal to find better imputation methods for each indicator.  The Good-Guide is very eager for feedback in this regard.

For more information on the sectors assessed, please see The Classification of Needs for the Good Guide.

For more information on data sources and indicators, please see data sources.


Next Steps

Category: About us

Next steps include completing the phase one beta testing and then simultaneously improving the classification and measurement of needs while also including information on the website about various non-profit providers that are addressing these needs. Beyond this, next steps for the include:

  • identifying and providing information on national development goals for each sector
  • identifying non-profit providers in each sector and country, and
  • investigating other innovative ways of addressing human and development needs