Who We Are
Who We Are
Data Innovators is a Social Enterprise led by a team of young Africans who are passionate about making systemic change in development through data. Data Innovators Group was founded in 2021, originated from the partnership between Advisory Services at New Leaders Foundation and Data Innovator (Pty) Ltd.
We are experienced in testing and implementing innovative, fit-for-purpose approaches to data communication and M&E across the globe. We see capability strengthening of our clients as a key value-add in all the projects we implement.
Ayanda is a social entrepreneur, strategist, and McKenzie trained management consultant with over 9 years’ experience working in the private and public sectors. He has previously held the position of Head of Advisory Services at New Leaders Foundation and now heads the Data Innovators entity as CEO.
In his commitment to transforming the South African Education system, Ayanda developed a dashboard solution on the state of Early Childhood Development readiness in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic to inform decisions and support. Currently, Ayanda also holds the position of Treasurer for the South African Monitoring Evaluation Association (SAMEA).
Jerusha is an entrepreneur, data creative, and Monitoring and Evaluation specialist. She has worked extensively in promoting the use of information for decision making and experiential sharing in the African public sector and across the globe.
Jerusha has previously been featured as an entrepreneur in publications such as, Insight Success, Entrepreneur Magazine SA, Destiny, and Destiny Man Magazines. She is passionate about telling stories with data, and teaching others to do so and is a legacy board member of the South African Monitoring and Evaluation Association.
Khotso Tsotsotso is a Strategist, Evaluation theorist, Skills development specialist, and Systems thinker with over 12 years working experience. He has worked in various sectors including corporate, education, social justice and citizen participation, enterprise development, and social development. His career history geographically spans through Southern Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, East Africa, Asia, North and South America.
Khotso has presented at the American Evaluation Association Conference as a panelist in the presidential strand on evaluating impact investing and published in multiple peer-reviewed international journals on evaluation and theory in practice. Amongst his many notable career highlights, he has also been recognised by the South African Monitoring & Evaluation Association (SAMEA) for outstanding contribution to the practice of M&E as a young and emerging evaluator in Africa.
Mary-Grace is a strategist and Technical Director for the Strategy and Business Development unit at Data Innovators. In her career that spans over 20 years, she has developed functional expertise in research, monitoring and evaluation, and policy development and implementation. She has also managed various projects involving key education sector stakeholders within the South African and international public sector.
In 2010, Mary-Grace was awarded the Institute of Education Sciences Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship in Science Education where she was instrumental in leading a randomised controlled trial in the United States of America.
Our scope of work included a baseline study, follow-up and supported the monitoring and learning of the E3 programme from 2018 to present.
The team has implemented a developmental evaluation approach to test and refine the E3 Theory of Change. In addition, we support E3 to determine whether embedding active learning pedagogies in the South African education system leads to long-lasting shifts in learner mindsets. The findings from the evaluation will inform the national scale up of the programme. E3 project commenced in 2018 and is currently active.
The South African National Department of Planning, Monitoring & Evaluation embarked on developing an integrated data system in 2019. We led the development of the business plan by driving a comprehensive and strategic process.
The process included 14 stakeholder interviews/focus group discussions, reviewing all key strategies and documents and conducting 2 design workshops. With a team of technical experts a document was developed to specify the recommended business and technical requirements of the integrated data system.
We have developed a data management solution that provides programmes with intelligence to achieve impact, called ImpactBoard.
In 2020, we worked with the Nelson Mandela Foundation and Department of Social Development to develop a dashboard to track ECD registration and identify where support was needed, and visualize progress across the country, province and district level. In addition, the platform was configured in web and mobile app formats to support data collection on registration for about 20 000 ECD practitioners. This project is currently in progress.
Data Innovators has rapidly ramped up in the ECD sector and added value to technical work such as the ECD registration framework in its early days. Its contribution has added value to the ECD Function Shift, ECD Census and ECD Employment Stimulus Relief Fund.
Our experience working with Data Innovators has always been excellent, the team has always delivered quality outputs according to SLA requirements whilst being flexible and adaptive to changing organisational contexts and needs.
Data Innovators’ technical specialists have been world-class in all my interactions. Their management of MERL approaches and tools with our programme delivery team and partners has been impactful, accurate, courteous and professional in every respect.