White Ribbon Alliance: Natural Language Processing for Non-Profit

The White Ribbon Alliance (WRA) is a Washington, DC-based charity with the goal of making sure every woman survives childbirth, worldwide. WRA is supported by a range of celebrities from Naomi Campbell to Sarah, Duchess of York.

The WRA ran a survey, called What Women Want, of over 1 million women asking them about their top requests for maternal and reproductive healthcare. The survey focused on eight countries: Mexico, Cameroon, Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Malawi, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. The responses came back in text format (instead of categorical responses), in a variety of spellings and even languages, which made the survey difficult to analyse on a global scale.

LogoSize WRA 1

founded in 1999

1,197,006 girls and women surveyed

114 countries participated in the survey

wra screenshot

The majority of text responses were manually translated and categorised by the WRA team and the remainder could be assigned to topics using deep learning algorithms.

Fast Data Science was then able to run a number of analyses of the survey responses, identifying common trends across countries and age groups. For example, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) is a common request in some regions, and using natural language processing we were able to drill down to identify what kind of WASH facilities were lacking in individual regions.
The team at White Ribbon Alliance have been able to use the results of our analyses in their policy briefs and plan to present findings to the relevant national governments and the UN.
We have also been designing a public-facing dashboard, allowing anybody to drill down into the data and explore the individual responses, view them on a map, and generate graphs dynamically.
To our knowledge, the dashboard is a first for transparency at non-profits, allowing donors, policymakers and employees alike to analyse the results of a charity’s research in detail.