Tableau and Cepei incentivize Data Literacy to harness the power of Data for Social Impact

May 11, 2021

Written by: Luisa Córdoba

What is Tableau and what do we do with it? The Tableau Foundation is a philanthropic initiative led by Tableau employees that encourages the use of facts and analytical reasoning to solve the world’s problems.

The Tableau Foundation works towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), by leading and participating in initiatives in their communities and with their nonprofit partners to drive positive social impact.

The pandemic has had a transformational impact on the globe. In 2020, as we watched systems grind to a halt overnight, everything we do as humans and organizations became digital. In addition to the health, social, and economic disruption and recession affecting billions globally, the pandemic also underlined and bolded the digital divide between those -individuals, agencies, countries- with a data culture and those without. As Tableau says, “data literacy is the ability to explore, understand, and communicate with data”.

Tableau, its employees and partners are working together in multi-stakeholder partnerships. We work to contribute to recover from the pandemic, while heeding the transformational moment for data as the key element to generate information, evidence, and knowledge to support the 2030 Agenda.

The COVID-19 pandemic hit In 2020, threatening to dissolve much of the hard-earned progress achieved globally to overcome absolute poverty.

Cepei imagined and launched the Centre in 2020, together with the UN COVID-19 Multi-Partner Trust Fund (MPTF), the Tableau Foundation, and 20 other partners. As the Centre´s Secretariat, Cepei arrayed a multinational, and multidisciplinary expert group to create the platform. Our goal as a Southern platform is to bring knowledge from the South to the world.

The COVID-19  Data and Innovation Centre exists to deliver information, evidence, knowledge, innovation strategies, territorial requirements, and policy recommendations to the COVID-19 MPTF in its purpose of strengthening response and recovery actions in the Global South.

Tableau analytics and visualizations are at the heart of the Centre. They allow us to facilitate and advise alliances between global, national, and local stakeholders to face the non-health-related dimensions of the pandemic’s impact on societies. Why?  Because it makes data understandable. Because it provides the clarity policymakers need to inform their strategy. Because it allows us and them to tell the story of things done right and others that need improvement.

How do Cepei and Tableau partner to harness data and produce knowledge?

  • Data Literacy: Cepei and Tableau actively strengthen the data ecosystem in Latin America and the Caribbean. With software and services, Tableau fosters the institutional data culture of their and our  partners in the public sector, National Statistical Offices, academia, data journalism, civil society, and multilateral agencies.
  • Visualizations. Analysis and insight to inform the United Nations COVID-19 MPTF and other decision-makers. Simplicity facilitates multi actor cooperation for global recovery.
  • Bringing knowledge from the South to the world. Creative use and dissemination of analysis, visualizations and stories produce insights, knowledge and evidence that connects data users to the realities on the ground.

We are proud to bring knowledge from the South to the world. To do so, the Centre has three guiding principles:

  • To be a connector, which means that we reach out and build bridges between stakeholders to improve national and local plans for response and recovery. Currently, we are focused on the coronavirus pandemic, but the architecture is set up for providing knowledge independently from the crisis.
  • To be inclusive, meaning that we want to bring a distinct value by making sure those connections aim on leaving no one behind, by reaching deeply into the communities, at the local level. This is a unique value to our key stakeholders: the governments, the United Nations, Civil Society, Academia, philanthropy, and the private sector.
  • And third, to focus on productive partnerships, which means that those connections we pursue and manage must produce said knowledge and evidence.  

The Centre is built on two pillars: Data analytics and innovation, and Multi-stakeholder partnerships.

  • Data analytics and innovation: Cepei and partners invest in generating a sophisticated architecture that facilitates data access, analytics, and dissemination.
  • Multi Stakeholder partnerships: Because co-creation is at the core of the Centre, we are connecting to stakeholders at the community, national, regional, and global levels, who are focused on the non-health-related dimensions of COVID-19’s impact in communities worldwide.

This strategy -which is today condensed in one tool: Our Datalab- has resulted in several Tools and and a few more in our pipeline, focused on Innovation and Policy.


  1. Global Terminal: It contains a broad set of data from multiple countries and sources and includes raw data, tables, graphs, visualizations, maps, and other formats  that are available to users for downloading and analysis. 
  2. National Data Terminals: Which are platforms tracking the impact of each country’s response and recovery strategies. 
  3. Node Terminal: Where local level data and partnerships are generating insights.
  4. Country Profiles: Being the gateway to all the products derived from our collaboration with each country from the Global South.