Unlocking data and AI solutions for social impact

Data Insights for Social & Humanitarian Action, also known as Disha, is a multi-partner initiative that aims to accelerate ethical and responsible access to data and artificial intelligence (AI) solutions to unlock social impact at scale.

By facilitating the availability of reusable data through reliable models, standardised approaches and frameworks, Disha enables the creation and expansion of actionable insights. These insights are designed to support more effective and inclusive efforts in humanitarian work, peacebuilding and development. 


Disha in Action

The world is experiencing an unprecedented moment of fragility and uncertainty. Climate-fuelled natural disasters, such as hurricanes and floods have become increasingly frequent and intense while conflicts in numerous regions persist without resolution. 

After a sudden-onset disaster, the humanitarian community needs to quickly develop an accurate assessment of the situation on the ground by gathering critical data, evaluating the impact of the disaster, and identifying the most pressing requirements for affected communities. By efficiently carrying out these tasks, it is possible to facilitate more effective and targeted response efforts, ensuring that assistance reaches those in need in a timely manner. 


Our Use Cases

Disha is actively working on two use cases to develop scalable methods to enable data access, insight generation and impact for end users in this field. 

Damage Assessment

Socio-economic Mapping

Uses AI models to automatically identify damaged buildings from high-resolution satellite imagery following a disaster or conflict.  

By deploying AI-based analysis, the time needed to generate maps indicating damage to buildings and infrastructure can be significantly reduced. Additionally, the use of AI-powered damage assessment tools allows for the analysis of larger geographical areas, delivering valuable information on a broader scale.

Uses mobile phone data to estimate poverty levels by region. Known as “nowcasting”, this technique helps humanitarian organizations predict areas where people might need food or cash assistance. 

Additionally, by analysing mobile phone data, such as call patterns and top-up information, Disha aims to identify the locations of populations and detect major population movements into or out of specific regions. This real-time information assists in quickly locating affected populations during emergencies.


Our Partners

Led by UN Global Pulse, Disha brings together a coalition of partners including Google.org, the Jain Family Institute, McKinsey & Company, the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Satellite Centre (UNOSAT) and the World Food Programme (WFP).

Join Us

If you’re interested in partnering with us or learning more about Disha, you can contact us at disha@unglobalpulse.org