Statistics Without Borders Grows in Membership, Project Diversity
Statistics Without Borders (SWB), an ASA outreach group, provides free statistical consulting to organizations and government agencies, particularly from developing nations that do not have the resources for statistical services. In support of nonpartisan and secular activities, SWB promotes the use of statistics to improve the health and well-being of all people. The group’s vision is to achieve and implement the best statistical practice in the service of others.
From its beginning in October 2008 until August 2011, SWB grew to a membership of about 325. SWB now counts more than 600 statisticians among its all-volunteer membership. Members continue to be diverse, ranging from high-school students to highly experienced retired statisticians, and include statisticians from universities, industry, and government, as well as retirees. SWB also is becoming increasingly international, with many new members from every continent except Antarctica
One of SWB’s current projects is a study with UNICEF on acute malnutrition in children in multiple West African countries, including Niger, Mauritania, and Senegal. SWB’s project team is advising UNICEF on modeling seasonal accounts of new admissions and number of children in treatment and providing suggestions for improved methods for annual estimates of caseload. At present, the group’s team is working with survey data from multiple countries with varying levels of coverage. It also is working with the International Medical Geology Association to link existing community epidemiological databases with environmental data to develop an index of cumulative pathogenic exposure.
Examples of other projects in which SWB has played an important role include the following:
- Studies of early childhood mortality for UNICEF
- Work with local Haitian authorities and representatives of other organizations in Haiti to assess the situation and potential difficulties for data collection following the 2010 earthquake
- Surveys in India and Nepal and a series of initiatives in Africa to increase the number of girls going to school (through CARE)
- Sample design for an evaluation of community case management for sick children in Rwanda (with the International Rescue Committee)
SWB strives to promote sound statistical practices so international health projects and initiatives are delivered more effectively and efficiently. Ultimately, volunteers want to make a difference in the daily lives of people throughout the world. Members of the outreach group are always eager to hear from organizations in need of statistical help or who wish to become partners. For further information, visit SWB’s website.