Living on less than 5 dinars a day, mapping the poverty rate in Tunisia

Country/area: Tunisia

Organisation: inkyfada

Organisation size: Small

Publication date: 23/09/2021

Credit: Monia Ben Hamadi, Malek Khadhraoui, Haïfa Mzalouat, Marwen Ben Mustapha, Bilel Ben Houssine, Farouk Ali, Hayfa Mzoughi and all the other collaborators who worked in any way on this project


This article was a close collaboration between the members of the editorial team: 
– Malek Khadhraoui (executive director of the association)
– Monia Ben Hamadi (editorial director)
– Haïfa Mzalouat (responsible for the French edition) 

And the members of inkylab :
– Marwen Ben Mustapha (Head of design)
– Bilel Ben Houssine (developer)
– Farouk Ben Ali (data scientist) 
– Hayfa Mzoughi (webdesigner)

And all the other collaborators who worked in any way on this project.

Project description:

Inkyfada uses maps, infographics and interactive technologies to visualise and compare data. This article takes the form of an interactive map, visualising the poverty rate in Tunisia. Our data scientists have also conducted extensive research to be able to find data on existing correlations. Using these numbers, it was then possible to identify the distribution of inequalities within the population.

These inequalities stem from various causes, such as unemployment, level of education or access to public services. Inkyfada was able to identify several significant correlations by comparing the various data.

Impact reached:

This work is based on data from the National Institute of Statistics, published in September 2020. Through this interactive map, inkyfada has created a way to visualise the poverty rate and inequality in Tunisia, which was further exacerbated by the economic crisis. This map allows for a better understanding of inequalities across the country, and the dissemination of national data of public interest.

The data science work that was conducted to find correlations, allowed for a better understanding of the variables that impact our living standards. Access to water, infrastructure, school dropouts… All of these elements were compared to the poverty rate to better understand the different factors affecting the daily lives of people living on less than 5 dinars per day.

Techniques/technologies used:

inkyfada works primarily with inkube’s in-house CMS, which was developed with native PHP and overrides the WordPress workflow to make journalists’ jobs easier. inkube has more advanced article creation tools with its powerful Wysiwyg editor developed with reactJs, and its templates engine for creating custom article templates.

inkube templates can be created using HTML, CSS, Javascript and even in reactJS. For backend and data provisioning services we use php or python. For articles, we use some of those technologies and libraries:
D3.js,GSAP, Highcharts, jquery, OpenLayers, WebPack, WebGl, three.js

For the correlations part, we also used data mining techniques with sklearn on python.

What was the hardest part of this project?

As inkyfada is a small structure, it was fairly complicated to realise this project. In Tunisia, it is the first time that an interactive article of this scale has been created.

One of the main challenges of this project was to find the best way to visualise all of the data. We had data from 264 delegations in 24 governorates. We comtemplated how to make this data both accessible and relevant for a long time, making the research and brainstorming phase of the project lengthy and challenging.

During the design and development phase, it was complicated to display all of the information and make the transitions smooth. Moreover, it was necessary to make sure that the map was adapted to all types of desktop and mobile screens, forcing the designers to adapt the format.

Lastly, the developers encountered several difficulties in displaying all of the delegation point on the map correctly on all screens. A balance had to be struck between the density and fluidity of the project. The developers had to use various tricks and methods to make it all cohesive and work.

What can others learn from this project?

This project is a good example of how journalists, designers, developers and data scientists worked together to produce an interactive article. With the evolution of technology, data journalism is becoming an extremely powerful tool in order to disseminate information and data in a captivating, storytelling manner.

This type of project also goes one step further than the simple dissemination of statistics. In addition to making inventory, inkyfada has done considerable internal work on correlations, which allows certain information to be highlighted, and makes it accessible. 

Institutional reports are generally not very accessible to the general public, whereas this type of visualisation work makes the data more user friendly. Moreover, thanks to the data science work, it was possible for inkyfada to go one step further than the INS (National Institute of Statistics) and refine the level of analysis based on the data. Thus, based on the large-scale work that was made possible due to the work already conducted by the INS, inkyfada provided a form of complementary work, similar to a public service.

Project links: