Facebook and Preneur Lab launch Bangladesh Analytics Lab as Bangladesh turned 50

Facebook Data for Good has partnered with Preneur Lab to bring together data experts and developers for training sessions to tell the story of Bangladesh through data-driven models. This initiative is supported by leading academic institutions, including BUET Data Lab, BRAC University Computer Club, United International University Robotics Club, Dhaka International University, and Independent University Bangladesh Fab Lab.  

Launched on the 50th anniversary of the country’s independence, the bootcamp, titled Bangladesh Analytics Lab, will give participants the opportunity to unpack, analyze, and visualize Bangladesh’s story over the years. It will offer skills training by data researchers and academic partners with the aim to inspire data-centric solutions for a variety of issues related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as gender equality, poverty reduction, and disaster response. 

At the virtual kickoff event on March 26, Omari Sefu, Public Policy Associate Research Manager of Facebook’s Data for Good program led a training session on Facebook’s publicly available datasets. He said, “Our Data for Good program builds privacy-preserving data products to help solve some of the world’s biggest problems. By working together with Preneur Lab and Bangladesh’s academic institutions, we are excited to bring our public datasets to the community through this bootcamp so that we can ultimately help build tools that address real world problems in a responsible way. We look forward to seeing creative ideas of young researchers as they use data to tell the story of Bangladesh.”

Bangladesh Analytics Lab will help participants learn the stages of problem-solving, visualization, and data-driven modelling through regular sessions on pitching, coding, and designing using publicly available datasets over the next 10 weeks. The training will be led by experts from University of Dhaka, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) and BRAC University. 

Dr. Mohammad Eunus Ali, Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at BUET, joined the kick-off event and provided an overview of data projects of Bangladesh. There were other speakers, including Arif Nezami, Trustee of Preneur Lab, who delivered the closing remarks. 

Nezami said, “Bangladesh has made tremendous economic growth in the last 50 years. Through this bootcamp, we want to come up with innovative ways to visualize the progress over the years, especially as they relate to the SDGs. It is exciting for us to bring the insights from Facebook’s Data for Good program together with our leading academic institutions and give our participants an opportunity to use different kinds of data modelling that will encourage actionable insights about Bangladesh’s future.” 

This platform also gives participants the opportunity to present their findings to policymakers, senior academics and development professionals. The bootcamp will end with a Demo Day in May, and their models will be showcased on a separate microsite