Latest LD4D meeting strengthens collaboration for improved livestock data


Active participation by livestock data community members helped make the recent meeting a success

What’s needed to ensure that those making decisions in the livestock sector have access to useful data? The Livestock Data for Decisions (LD4D) Community of Practice (CoP) addresses a spectrum of challenges, from ensuring basic data is collected and made available, to enabling farmers, practitioners, policy makers, and investors to effectively use data to improve livestock health and productivity. LD4D strengthened its efforts to drive better decision making through effective use of livestock data during its latest meeting which took place from 20-22 February in Naivasha, Kenya.

More than 40 people from 18 organizations participated over the three days, bringing a range of views and expertise to the discussions including modelling, analysis, data management, program implementation, communication and grantmaking. ‘Data producers’ and ‘data users’ worked side by side to discuss progress to date on key initiatives, give practical input on tools and applications, and decide on the next set of joint activities to be delivered through working groups.

Updates from current working groups

Demand study

This pilot study aims to identify and address the data needs of Ethiopian dairy sector stakeholders. The team working on the pilot demand study will commence work in April 2018, starting with the development and implementation of an effective methodology. The findings will be shared towards the end of 2018. The study will inform recommendations on how modelling and data analyses can be more effective in supporting livestock sector development in target low and middle-income countries.

Key Livestock Facts

An initial eight factsheets have been developed, investigating the data and evidence behind popular livestock-related facts. These will be finalised based on feedback from CoP members, and be published in the coming months. There are opportunities to coordinate release to complement the outreach activities of the Global Livestock Advocacy for Development (GLAD) project. The release will be accompanied by a communications and engagement campaign to stimulate discussion on these issues. A plan will also be developed to identify and review more key facts.


The team at CSIRO shared the latest versions of the apps with CoP members, and will work with potential users to refine and improve the apps.

Knowledge Platform and Data Portal

This group will develop a questionnaire survey focused on helping to identify what datasets are held by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grantees. The ultimate aim of this exercise is to increase knowledge sharing within the community.

New working groups

The meeting sparked ideas for new working groups, which will lead on strategic activities and outputs for the benefit of the LD4D Community. The following areas were identified for future work:

Data visualisations and dashboards

This group will consider how we can move toward the forecasting of livestock disease through the use of data visualisations. This group will also consider the potential to collect and share real-time data using dashboards.

Data quality

This group will explore elements of data quality by considering fitness of purpose of data obtained from secondary sources and practices to generate good quality primary data.

Modelling Impact

This group will bring together modellers and BMGF grantees to model productivity gains brought about as a result of BMGF grantees work.

Livestock Modelling Group

This group will bring together modellers who work within the livestock sector under the LD4D banner. This group could offer a useful contribution to Big Data in Agriculture.


This group will plan and deliver communications and engagement activities that support knowledge sharing within the community, and help inform livestock discussions more widely.

Moving ahead

Follow up discussions will be scheduled in the coming weeks to appoint leaders, define the scope, objectives and outputs of these new working groups, and map the way forward.

Updates on current and planned working groups will continue to be shared on this website.

“Community of Practice members have demonstrated their interest and commitment to working towards shared goals,” said Professor Andy Peters, Director of the Supporting Evidence-Based Innovations (SEBI) program, which facilitates the Community of Practice “We believe real innovation can come from this collaboration among experts and practitioners, which will improve the way livestock interventions are designed in the future,” he said.

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