Data Visualization

Blog of the Data Visualization & Communication Course at OSB-AUB

This is my favorite part about analytics: Taking boring flat data and bringing it to life through visualization” John Tukey

Understanding the Dynamics: Birth Rates and Youth Fertility Over Time

Understanding the Dynamics: Birth Rates and Youth Fertility Over Time

In our global journey towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), closely examining reproductive trends offers a window into the successes and ongoing challenges of public health initiatives. This post presents an updated analysis of birth rates over the decades and current adolescent fertility rates in key nations.

Our line graph traces the paths of birth rates in countries like Afghanistan, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Mauritania, and Yemen from the 1960s onward. While there is a shared downward trajectory, each country’s journey reflects unique socio-economic and healthcare factors influencing these rates.

Complementing the long-term view, the bar graph presents a snapshot of the current state of adolescent fertility rates. This data is critical as it highlights the fertility patterns among young women, which is a key indicator of access to education and reproductive health services. Madagascar and Cameroon exhibit the highest rates, signaling areas where interventions may be most needed.

Together, these visuals offer a comprehensive perspective on reproductive health. The historical data of birth rates inform us of overarching progress, while the adolescent fertility rates give us a focused understanding of where additional efforts are necessary, particularly in empowering young women.

These reproductive trends are intimately linked to SDGs 3, 4, and 5, which emphasize health, education, and gender equality. High adolescent fertility rates can hinder progress in these areas by affecting education completion rates for young women and impacting their health and economic prospects.

To address these complex issues, data-driven strategies are essential. Promoting comprehensive sexual education, enhancing healthcare access, and empowering young women with choices can lead to healthier societies and further progress in reducing birth rates in line with our sustainable development aspirations.

As we analyze these visuals, we’re reminded of the power of data to shape our understanding and our actions. Let’s use these insights to foster a world where every young person is equipped with the knowledge and resources to make informed decisions about their reproductive health.

Equality For Tomorrow

Equality For Tomorrow

Team: Jana Chazbeck, Olguinia El Ferzli, Josephine Kaadou, Haydar Hamdan and Rawane Ibrahim.

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“Education Cannot Wait”

“Education Cannot Wait”

Hussaini, 14, is one of the lucky ones. He escaped. In 2018, as terrorism by extremist groups crossed into Burkina Faso, his village was attacked while he was in school. First, he heard screaming, and then gunfire. “They shot at our teachers and killed one of them,” he says. “They burned down the classrooms.” Hussaini ran home and within a matter of minutes, his family set off. They left everything behind, including school. Since that day, Hussaini has not set foot in a classroom. “I used to love school, to read, to count and to play during recess,” he says. “It’s been a year since I last went…”



From the end of 2017 to 2019, the number of schools forced to close due to rising insecurity tripled. More than 9,200 schools closed across Burkina Faso, Cameroon, and others, leaving 1.9 million children without education. These children face a much higher risk of recruitment by armed groups, gender-based violence and targeting by traffickers. Most parents in Africa will tell you that their children’s education is the most important investment they can make.



Trouble Cycle

Education is the UN’s top priority because it is a basic human right and the foundation on which to build peace and drive sustainable development. Unfortunately, lack of education for the young generation remains highly present in the world.

The problem is a cycle: lack of education results in high child labor and low literacy rate thus increasing the world’s problems such as crimes. And in its turn, terrorism decreases education opportunities. Hussaini is among millions of other children that were deprived from quality education and had high chances to be part of child labor.




Poor basic education can be identified by high child employment rate. So, what are the target continent and countries?

The map shows that the Average Child Employment Rates (ages 7-14) is highest in Africa.

Having a deeper look, Cameroon ranks first for having the highest average child employment rate of 52.7% for years 2006-2015, followed by Niger, Benin, and Burkina Faso.

Referring to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal number 4:

  • What if kids will get exposed to education in early stage?
  • Can we influence their perception?

Fulfilling the Dream

Education cannot wait, and our world had enough. It is time to increase the number of education programs targeting young generation, and specifically African countries as previously mentioned, with Cameroon being a major target.

Creating education programs would:

  • Have education camps with volunteering and non volunteering teachers all around the world
  • Use workshops and fun trainings to later voluntarily engage kids
  • Involve underdeveloped countries in globalization
  • Introduce the diversity of cultures
  • Work on making education a need and will for every kid and parent- representing a lasting impact environment


Many past programs were successfully implemented in Cameroon such as Open Dreams, which already funded more than 200 scholarships and mentored more than 1000 students.



Is it Time?

Targeting Cameroon, and implementing it as a first stage project, would be a start to then expand into other countries.

Finally, from another perspective, how about looking at equalizing educational opportunities as a solution to many other issues? and working on SDG 4 for quality education will strongly and positively affect other goals such as ending poverty and hunger?



Changing Demographic Composition: The Arab World Case

Changing Demographic Composition: The Arab World Case

The demographic composition of the Arab world has been changing as birth rates have decreased drastically. The birth rate per 1,000 people in the Arab world has gone from around 42% in 1979 to around 24% in 2020, which is close to half.

The potential reason behind the birth rate decrease is the increase in literacy rates among adult females aged 15 and above. Continuing education, or even gaining basic reading and writing skills, is leading Arab females to slightly shift their focus away from childbirth and more towards personal care and self fulfillment. This can be seen as literacy rates in adult females aged 15 and above in the Arab world has more than doubled from around 30% in 1979 to around 66%. This has happened in the same period where the birth rate went down by almost half.

On average, females that are literate are more aware of contraceptive devices, which allow them to make a conscious decision on when they prefer to get pregnant. These females also know about the difficulties of raising a large family, the amount of investment and commitment needed, and the benefits of having a family that is within their financial and emotional providing abilities. Females are currently also more integrated in the workforce and they’re climbing up the hierarchy which is leaving them with less time for pregnancy and childcare.

Quality Education, as a Sustainable Development Goal is crucial, as it is the glue that sticks all the Development Goals together. Education helps decrease poverty and gender inequality. In this case, education and literacy are helping women take control of their lives. They’re now deciding if and when they prefer to get pregnant.

Adolescents out of school in Africa

Adolescents out of school in Africa

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” —Malcolm XSDG 4

Asia, my helper at home is from Ethiopia and dropped out of school at lower secondary school age because of poverty,and she once told me “If it was up to me, I would choose to get educated. However, this is my life.”236 million children and youth in the world are Asia where 57 million are in the Central and West Africa region. These adolescent need all the help they can get in order to get out of the conditions they are living. They have the right like every child to have access to education.

Adolescents who can afford it are sent to private schools in several African countries. But many people in rural areas and poorer households do not have that option.

The above map shows the average of Adolescents out of school on all over the world from 2000 till 2021 where the African region has the highest average from all the others.

The increase in dropout rates is due to several reasons. According to UNICEF, adolescents dropout rates are influenced by child marriage, conflicts and disasters, and gender discrimination. Also, Poverty plays a major role in increasing the rates of adolescents out of school where they are forced into employment at a very young age to accommodate the living demands.

There is a positive correlation between Average % of poverty headcount ratio at national poverty line & average % of Adolescents out of school throughout the years for all countries. The highest average percentage of poverty is in the African region such as South Sudan having 82.3% which leads to have high average percentage of adolescents out of school (51.18%)
Also, there is a positive correlation between Average % of child marriage at the age of 15 & average % of Adolescents out of school throughout the years for all countries. The highest average percentage of early marriage is in the African region such as Niger having 37.38% which leads to have high average percentage of adolescents out of school (83.03 %).

All countries, especially those with low levels of education, should restrict early marriage.

Due to the several factors mentioned, Adolescents are forced in employment where Niger for example has the highest Average of Adolescents in employment (50.23% ) compared to other African countries as shown in the above graph.

Actions to be taken:
• Raise awareness on the importance of education
• Provide financial support for poor families
• Provide flexible, affordable, high-quality school options
• Improve the access to education
• Ensure that all adolescents complete free, equitable secondary education.

All the above factors are important in guaranteeing a better future for children. However, it is recommended that they be accompanied by the right laws that prevent child employment and provide equal opportunities for females to participate in the workplace.