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Skills-Based Volunteering case study - Data visualization with Mobile Pathways

Skills-Based Volunteering case study - Data visualization with Mobile Pathways
Cynthia Lo image

Cynthia Lo @csmlo

Program Manager, Skills-Based Volunteering, GitHub Social Impact

October 4, 2021 // Tech for Social GoodSkills-Based Volunteering

Published on: October 4, 2021

Mobile Pathways’ mission is to use mobile technology to bridge the gap between vulnerable immigrants and legal advocates and services. Composed of immigrant attorneys, technology experts, and immigrant advocates, this California-based organization uses SMS, MMS, and voice communications through mobile phones to raise awareness around immigration law— helping immigrants receive fair access to justice to live better lives.

Developing a Skills-Based Volunteering project

Mobile Pathways’ co-founder Bartlomiej Skorupa and head of technology and innovation, Poesy Chen, reached out to GitHub’s Skills-Based Volunteering Program looking to better understand a data set they recently collected in a California statewide survey on migrant and immigrant rights. Their hope was that GitHub could help analyze the data, uncover patterns, and create a data visualization to illustrate how emergency funds have helped the immigrant community in California. This would inform Mobile Pathways and their stakeholders on where they should focus their future funding and resources.

How GitHub employees supported the project

GitHub’s project lead and Senior Software Engineer, Chanakya Bhardwaj, and Abdul-Qadir Ali, the project team member and a Manager for Trust and Safety, tackled the work by reviewing the survey data, which was anonymized to ensure any personal identifying information (PII) was excluded. Bhardwaj used GitHub Codespaces and the Jupyter notebook extension to manage the project and to facilitate communication with the Mobile Pathways team. Bhardwaj and Ali connected with Mobile Pathways on a bi-weekly basis to discuss the different ways of visualizing the data, starting with graphical representation of the demographics of the beneficiaries.

With gaps in the data and 800,000 survey data points from over 30,000 immigrants, it was a challenge determining what was statistically relevant. But after analyzing the raw data based on demographics, the project team was able to build a number of different data visualizations to identify patterns—and collaborated with Mobile Pathways to understand the best solution. After multiple iterations, the team developed an interactive map that captured the impact of migrant rights organizations in California.

Interactive map to demonstrate the impact made to migrant rights holders in California

Project results

This analysis culminated in an interactive map that allows the user to see where beneficiaries are located and additional information about that data point, such as the gender and age of the recipient. This interactive map has helped Mobile Pathways clearly identify how their current impact is distributed in California and where more resources are needed. The data visualization has prompted further conversations into where Mobile Pathways and other migrant rights organizations can expand their programs to, and ultimately help secure funding in the future. This project would not have been possible without the diligent work of the GitHub volunteers and Mobile Pathway teams!

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