In Georgia there is definitely something to celebrate! Despite difficulties coming from the new COVID19-normal, 22 participants have just completed their first training in the IT software ‘R’ at the Georgian National Statistical Office (GeoStat) as part of the EU Twinning project. A success assigned to coordination and cooperation across different sectors and domains with multiple partners and interest groups.
18 May 2021 8:00
EU Twinning projects run with a specific set of objectives and clearly defined activities. But in GeoStat something more is bustling as an IT review combined with an ongoing coordination across projects has led to supplementary and essential goals to be pursued.
Georgia - table with gear ready for Covid19 and online meeting.
Photo: Steen B. Pedersen
IT-resources are scarce in GeoStat why an IT-sector review led by the UN Economic Commission on Europe (UNECE), which the Twinning project was invited to take part in, encouraged them to develop an IT-training strategy for both IT and statistical staff. Training of IT staff will raise the skills and competence level of staff and in the long run hopefully attract new IT staff to GeoStat. Training of statistical staff will on the other hand, loosen the pressure on IT-resources.
The IT-sector review also suggested that GeoStat considers alternatives to Excel and MS-Access for statistical production processes. And meanwhile, Twinning experts on different subject areas were working with colleagues from GeoStat on implementing new statistical products and procedures – and choosing IT software was an essential part of that work. Selecting a well-known solution would of course be the easiest on the short run, but this did not happen!
The Resident Twinning Advisor and the Project leader from Expertise France implementing the EU funded project “Statistics for the Eastern Partnership” (STEP) had long been discussing opportunities for possible areas of cooperation and synergies between the two projects with ‘R’ being a top priority for cooperation. Now to build from the bricks of the IT-sector review and the parallel discussions around cooperation efforts, ‘R’ was instead added to both work plans and course materials with efforts to take the first steps towards implementing an open source software more systematically as an integrated part of the statistical production process.
Like so much else, COVID19 also challenges statistical capacity building across borders why the first R-mission in the frame of the Twinning project was conducted online. On a positive note, this allowed for more employees to participate compared to the original plan. 6 sessions, of three hours each, in a combination of plenary introductions and practical training in “breakout rooms” - covered subjects such as data manipulation, data visualisation and more advanced loops and function procedures.
The next training mission will be conducted during the summer 2021. Meanwhile GeoStat employees have the opportunity to test/put their newly adapted skills into practice.
Name: Strengthening the capacity of the Georgian Statistical system
Partner: National Statistics Office of Georgia & Statistics Denmark
Duration: April 2019 – July 2021