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

“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?





Trading is one of the most important industries in the UAE, as this is one of the richest countries. The UAE also imports many products, among which foodstuff, machinery, and equipment occupy the first positions among the most imported products in the Emirates. The availability of food is not an issue for residents of the UAE; supermarkets carry all the food they could possibly need or want. But how can a nation with the parched territory and hot weather all year round have access to a wide variety of food? Simple: The UAE is greatly reliant on imports.


-Did you know?

UAE faces a trade deficit when it comes to its food market due to limited arable land, increasing climate issues, and acute water shortage.


-What are the challenges?

With the recent COVID-19 outbreak revealing the precarious nature of imports, the UAE is now putting a strategy in place by investing in technologies to find a solution to food security.


-How can this situation improve?

They need to reduce the imports through a new food strategy which is investing in ag-tech!!

This situation can be improved through “Magic – Breathable Sand” which is one of the solutions that was developed by the Dake Group in partnership with the Rechsand Technology Group from Beijing. This type of sand is covered with a specific technology that allows air to travel through its particles and captures the water that it contains. They believe that it could be applied to desert sand to retain water and fertilizer usage by 70% and 50% respectively.

It was then tested and it worked: they were able to grow around 28 fruit trees including mango and lemon groves.

Various institutions in the United Arab Emirates provide a range of funding options to modernize agriculture.

  • Dubai’s Food Tech Valley: It’s a new initiative that seeks to increase food production in the UAE and establish it as a major international destination for the sector. Based out of Dubai, ICBA works by assisting farmers and agricultural organizations in developing policies and methods that will maximize the management of local natural resources. They provide advice on the optimum crop varieties to harvest as well as soil and water quality.
  • Water Scarcity: To make seawater drinkable and useful for agriculture, the United Arab Emirates mainly relies on an expensive procedure called desalination.

Water is scarce. And as we already know, 90% of the water available in the UAE is desalinated water which is very costly and consumes energy,” explains Idland.

If half of the water was saved and used for agriculture, 30 tons of tomatoes could be produced every day. Additionally, there would be less need for the expensive and energy-intensive process of desalinating seawater.

  • Vertical Farming and New Technologies: The past few years have seen a lot of attention paid to Vertical Farming. The government and the corporate sector have invested millions in the technique despite the significant expense associated with it. In order to develop vertical farming facilities in the Emirate, the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) announced in April that it would invest $100 million in four businesses, one of which being AeroFarms.


-Visualization and Analysis.

By looking at the data from World Development Indicators, we get the results in Tableau as below: “Imports Vs. Exports”

The data line chart in the World Development Indicators shows the percentages of food exports and imports in the United Arab Emirates from 1999 to 2021 that led to a “Trade Deficit”.


-Things to note.

Why is it magical for Desert Farming and Food Security?

  • Breathable roots are produced by breathing sand, and they can change the forest or other green cover.
  • Given that desert soil is free of any chemical or fertilizer contamination, it encourages quicker adoption of organic farming techniques.
  • A small layer of sand can save billions of gallons of water annually by reducing water use for agriculture, farming, forestry, or gardens by 80%.
  • Additionally, the breathable sand can transform desert farming to increase production quantity and quality.




Increasing self-production within the local region and reducing the reliance on imports is what we are focusing on,” says Chandra Dake.


We [in the UAE] are only looking at a few hundred thousand hectares to be food secure, and it is not too far,” he says.





Africa – a call for clean water and sanitation

Africa – a call for clean water and sanitation

Water is a basic human need; without it, survival is not possible.
Every day, 2.1 billion people wake up with no access to clean water. In other words, millions of families around the world do not drink, cook, or shower with clean water.
Each year, 3.4 million people die from unsafe and contaminated water sources, especially in the Sub Saharan African region with the highest mortality rate average of 101 persons per 100,000 in Chad, followed by an average of 87 in Somalia.

Access to basic drinking water, safely managed drinking water, and basic handwashing facilities

On average today, only 65% of the African population have access to basic drinking water, 31% use safe managed drinking water services, and only 26% have basic handwashing facilities including soap and water.

Despite global Sustainable Development Goals and commitments made in 2015 to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, a progress was only witnessed in a few African nations over the past three to five years, according to the UN’s first-ever assessment of water security in Africa. Results show Egypt as one of the top five most water-secure countries in Africa, while Ethiopia, Somalia, Niger, and Chad appear to be the least water-secure countries in Africa.

It is also noticeable that the rural population is the one water deprived the most: only 39% of the sub-Saharan population has access to basic drinking water, in comparison to 80% from the urban population.

Effects on Women & Children

More than 70% of women in Africa are employed in agriculture including water collection. That means that instead of attending school, raising a family, or simply having a decent job, African women are obliged to spend from 3 to 6 hours walking to arrive to the closest source and collect water for their household. Women who are subjected to collecting water are more likely to:

  • Drop out of school
  • Suffer from infections and diseases
  • Die from contaminated water
  • Be sexually abused and much more.

Women are not the only ones who suffer, nearly 6,000 children die of water related diseases each day. This is why, it is time to end the water crisis.

A call for help

How can we make safe water available for all? This can be done by installing sustainable water points in the most impoverished areas of the world. Our focus should be first on rural villages in Africa, where the walk to collecting clean water is on average 3.7 miles.
Previous drilling solutions have proven beneficial to the needed regions: over 9 million people have now access to clean water, and a good example is a rural primary school in southern Kenya. This school used to spend its entire government budget purchasing water for students and teachers. This budget was intended to cover teacher salaries and purchase required books and supplies, but water was determined to be a much greater need. After drilling water wells and obtaining clean water onsite, the school witnessed a knowledgeable 30% increase in attendance, and budgets were re-allocated for teachers salaries and books. This plan is a proven solution that helps increase education opportunities for girls and women, improve health and sanitation, and have more opportunities for development. Therefore, we urge you to donate now on allowing WHOlives organization to install new water points each month. You can change lives!

Tackling Lebanon’s Trade Deficit

Tackling Lebanon’s Trade Deficit

Lately, Lebanon has been overwhelmed by hyperinflation: the value of the Lebanese Pound is plummeting as compared to the United States Dollar. More and more Lebanese Pounds are needed to purchase a dollar. The devaluation is partially caused by the fact that outflows of foreign currency from Lebanon are greater than inflows of foreign currency. Part of the problem is that for decades, Lebanon has been operating with a trade deficit, which means that it is paying more foreign currency for its imports than it earns from its exports. This means that there is a leakage of foreign currency from the Lebanese economy. So how can we improve the net trade balance to prevent leakages of foreign currency that result in further devaluation of the Lebanese Pound?

Well, the government can manage trade policies to interfere with foreign trade activities. Two potential instruments that a government can use are subsidies and tariffs.

When a government subsidies a locally produced product, the supply curve related to this product shifts from S0 to S1. This results in the price of this product decreasing from P0 to P1 which then leads to an increase in the quantity demanded from Q0 to Q1. By doing this, governments can incentivize their local producers to increase their output at lower prices which then makes the locally produced product more attractive to consumers than a more expensive imported alternative. If the local suppliers are able to fully satisfy local demand for their product, they could go on to produce excess amounts that could then be exported to other countries.

When a government introduces a tariff on an imported product, the supply curve related to the imported product shifts from S0 to S1. This results in the price of this imported product increasing from P0 to P1 which then leads to a decrease in the quantity demanded from Q0 to Q1. The tariff applied by the local government sets a markup to the price of the import product making it more expensive and thus less attractive to consumers as compared to locally produced products. This encourages consumers to buy local products instead of imported ones.

At an aggregate level, if local production levels across more and more product types increases to satisfy a bigger proportion of demand, the need for imports will decrease. Suppliers could even begin to export products. Increased production levels can also increase employment opportunities. At the same time, if at an aggregate level, consumers are willing to switch from imported products to locally produced products, the aggregate demand for imports will decrease which means fewer quantities of these products will be imported. The decrease in total import levels and or the increase in total export levels will result in a higher net trade position, or in other words a decrease the trade deficit or even result in a trade surplus if the total import level is lower than the total export level.

It’s worth mentioning that tariffs and subsidies should not be used as long term solution. Imposing tariffs on imports can result in retaliation from other countries in which they impose tariffs on Lebanon’s exports. Also, constantly subsidizing local production, requires funds that the government may not always have available. However, doing so on the short run motivates local suppliers to increase production which can help improve employment and development of domestic industries for future sustainability.

You may be thinking that this sounds like a lot of theory. Let’s take a look at an example of a country that used these policies. The Brazilian government imposes tariffs on imports and subsidizes local production. Additionally, the Brazilian government entered into several trade agreements with other countries to facilitate its exports. By doing so, Brazil was able to overcome its trade deficit and even operate at a trade surplus for many years.

The Lebanese Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Economy and Trade, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs should work together to enter into trade agreements with other countries to promote Lebanese exports, impose tariffs on imported products to shift local demand away from imported products toward domestic products and subsidize the production of local goods and services. By decreasing the net outflow of foreign currency from Lebanon, the Lebanese government can better manage the exchange rate and reduce inflation levels. This leads to more sustainable economic growth and more productive employment.

Impact of Education on Suicide Mortality Rate

Impact of Education on Suicide Mortality Rate

Suicide is a severe public health problem that affects people all around the world. Every  year,    703 000 individuals die by suicide over the world. It is one of the most common causes of death. Suicide kills more people around the world than any other cause (Malaria, HIV/AIDS, breast cancer, and other diseases). Suicide claimed the lives of more than one death in every 100 (1.3 percent) of people in 2019.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has made suicide mortality reduction a global priority and included it as an indicator in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under target 3.4, as well as in WHO’s 13th General Program of Work 2019–2023 and the WHO Mental Health Action Plan 2013–2020, which has been extended to 2030. Suicide prevention requires a comprehensive and coordinated response to ensure that the tragedy of suicide does not continue to claim lives and touch millions of people via the death of loved ones or suicide attempts.

WDI-DATA shows that the suicide mortality rate is decreasing at low rates from 2000 to 2019.



Taking Action!

Action should be taken to reduce the suicide mortality rate worldwide. What if we raised the educational level in each country? Will the suicide mortality rate decrease?

Data from the WDI (World Development Indicators) are used to study the impact of education level on the suicide mortality rate.


From the visualization, we noticed that the higher the level of educational attainment, the lower the suicide mortality rate, such as in the US and vice versa.

Final Recommendations:

Data demonstrates the importance of education and its  effectiveness in decreasing the suicide mortality rate.

Education assists people in becoming better citizens, obtaining a higher-paying career, and demonstrating the distinction between good and wrong.

That’s why the law of compulsory education should be enforced worldwide.