UNESCO Institute for Statistics
Left Behind
Launch Website
Launch Website

Launched to coincide with International Women's Day 2015, Left Behind allows users to explore the education situation for girls worldwide before diving down to the classroom level in sub-Saharan Africa. Girls continue to lag behind boys in terms of education access, participation and outcomes.

Left Behind is the latest in a series of campaign-oriented data products created for UNESCO Institute for Statistics.

With compelling data visualization laid over evocative photos, the site aims to communicate a narrative that is clear enough for the general public while also providing solid data for journalists and researchers. Part of FFunction’s mandate was to ensure it was visually compelling, easy to navigate, easy to share on social media and to embed on 3rd party sites and blogs. The interactive has several pre-written tweets embedded, making it simple for users to share advocacy messages.

Because the interactive was about being left behind, the FFunction team wanted to create visual contrast between the photos, the data and the narration. A key part of this was to show that real people are behind the numbers by using photos chosen from the World Bank’s library of images. The sandy, dusty tones of the photos are characteristic of sub-Saharan Africa, whilst the font and chart palette were kept minimalist with touches of white, neon yellow and black.

Elements on the left-hand side provide data points of interest, and charts and data selectors are interactive to encourage exploration. Charts also point back to their original sources, both for transparency and to enable further research.

Using integrated social sharing at every level of the interactive and the hashtag #leftbehind, the site encourages the public to request that policymakers devise a more effective plan to ensure the “Education for All” movement is met when the UN rewrites its Millennium Development Goals. Left Behind received retweets and social media interactions from high profile influencers including the Gates Foundation, Sue Desmond-Hellman, Global Partnership, and the United Nations.

The main message here was simple to understand and to share: without more investment in basic resources, new global commitments will be meaningless.