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Document Freedom Day in Kathmandu, Nepal

- April 9, 2015 in community, Document Freedom Day, OKF Nepal

On 2015’s Document Freedom Day, Open Knowledge Nepal organized a seminar on Open Standards at CLASS Nepal at Maitighar, Kathmandu. We intended to pitch openness to a new audience in Nepal and help them learn documentation skills. As we could not hope to teach documentation and spreadsheets in less than a day, we utilized the cohort to teach them small bits of information and skills that they could take home and gather information about their current knowledge and pertinent needs so as to help ourselves plan future events and trainings. The targeted audience were office bearers and representatives of labor unions in many private and government organizations in Nepal. We also invited some students of Computer Science and Information Technology (CSIT). Few of the students are core members of Open Knowledge Nepal team and have also represented us in Open Data Day 2015, Kathmandu. We invited the students to let them know about the audience they will have to work with, in days to come. It was a lazy March afternoon in Kathmandu and participants were slowly turning in from around 2 pm. Organizers and the students had already begun with chitchats on open, tech, football and other stuffs while waiting for enough participants to begin the event formally. Participants kept coming in ones and twos until the hall was up to its limit (35+) and we started formally just after 3:00 PM (NST). The event was started by Mr. Durga of CLASS Nepal by welcoming all participants and introducing CLASS Nepal to the participants. He then invited Mr. Lekhnath Pokhrel, representative of UNI-Global Union in the event. He requested all participants to take full advantage of seminar and announced they will be organizing useful events in coming future too. Nikesh Balami, our active member and Open Government lead followed with his presentation on “Open Knowledge, Open Data, Open Standards, and Open Formats.” He started by gathering information about participants’ organizational backgrounds. This lightened the settings as everybody opened up to each other. NIkesh introduced Open Knowledge Nepal and our activities to the hall (see the slides). dfd_nepal1 Kshitiz Khanal, Open Access lead at Open Knowledge Nepal went next. This session was intended to be an open discussion and skill dissemination on documentation and spreadsheet basics. We started by asking everybody to share their experience, set of skills and the skills they would like to learn in the event. dfd_nepal2 We were in for a surprise. While we had prepared to teach them pivot tables, our audience were interested to learn more basic skills. Most of our audience were familiar with documentation packages like Microsoft Word, some were using spreadsheets in work, and most of them had to use slides to present their work. We paired our students with our target audience so that one can teach other. Based on the requests, we decided to teach basic spreadsheet actions like sorting and filtering data, performing basic mathematical operations. dfd_nepal3 We also explained basic presentation philosophy like use pictures in place of words whenever possible, using as less words as possible, and when we do – making them big, rehearsing before presenting. These sound like obvious but these are not commonplace yet because these were not taught anywhere as a part of curriculum to our audience. This was well received. We also had a strange request – how to attach a sound recording in email. We decided to teach how to use google drive. We demonstrated how google drive can be used to store documents and the links can be used to send any type of files by email. There were few female participants as well. This was a good turnout when compared to most of our and other tech / open events in Kathmandu with nil female participation. One of our female participant said that while she wants to learn more skills, she doesn’t have time to learn at home while taking care of her children, and at office she mostly has her hands full with work.
Most of the work in many offices is documentation, and this day and age makes strong documentation skills almost mandatory. While having freedom in the sense of document freedom entails having access to proper tools, it also necessitates having the proper set of skills to use the tools. We learned lessons in the status and interest of people like our audience and the level of skill that we need to begin with while preparing modules for other similar events. See the photo stream here and find further detailed account here on the Open Knowledge Nepal blog.

Open Access Week in Nepal

- October 25, 2014 in OKF Nepal, Open Access, Open Access Week

This post is part of our Open Access Week blog series to highlight great work in Open Access communities around the world. Open Access Week was celebrated for the first time in Nepal for the opening 2 days: October 20, 21. The event, which was led by newly founded Open Access Nepal, and supported by EIFL and R2RC, featured a series of workshops, presentation, and peer to peer discussions and training by country leaders in Open Access, Open Knowledge, and Open Data including a 3 hour workshop on Open Science and Collaborative Research by Open Knowledge Nepal on the second day. Open Access Nepal is a student led initiative that mostly includes students of MBBS. Most of the audience of Open Access Week celebrations here, hence, included med students, but engineering students, management students, librarians, professionals, and academics were also well represented. Participants discussed open access developments in Nepal and their roles in promoting and advancing open access. EIFL and Right to Research Coalition provided financial support for the Open Access Week in Nepal. EIFL Open Access Program Manager Iryna Kuchma attended the conference as speaker and facilitator of workshops. Skærmbillede 2014-10-23 kl. 16.37.26 Open Knowledge Nepal hosted an interactive session on Open Science and Collaborative Research on the second day of two. The session we led by Kshitiz Khanal, Team Leader of Open Access / Open Science for Open Knowledge Nepal with support from Iryna Kuchma and Nikesh Balami, Team Leader of Open Government Data. About 8-10 Open Access experts of the country were present inside the hall to assist participants. The session began a half an hour before lunch where participants were first asked to brainstorm till lunch was over about what they think Open Science and Collaborative Research is, and the challenges relevant to Open Access that they have faced / might face in their Research endeavors. The participants were seated in round tables in groups of 7-8 persons, making a total of 5 groups. After lunch, one team member from each group took turns in the front to present the summary of their brain-storming in colored chart papers. Participants came up with near exact definitions and reflected the troubles researchers in the country have been facing regarding Open Access. As we can expect of industrious students, some groups impressed the session hosts and experts with interesting graphical illustrations. Skærmbillede 2014-10-23 kl. 16.39.09 Skærmbillede 2014-10-23 kl. 16.39.39 Iryna followed the presentations by her presentation where she introduced the concept, principles, and examples related to Open Science. Kshitiz followed Iryna with his presentation on Collaborative Research. Skærmbillede 2014-10-23 kl. 16.40.14 Session on Collaborative Research featured industry – academia collaborations facilitated by government. Collaborative Research needs more attention in Nepal as World Bank’s data of Nepal shows that total R&D investment is only equivalent to 0.3% of total GDP. Lambert Toolkit, created by the Intellectual Property Office of the UK, was also discussed. The toolkit provides agreement samples for industry – university collaborations, multi–party consortiums and few decision guides for such collaborations. The session also introduced version control and discussed simple web based tools for Collaborative Research like Google Docs, Etherpads, Dropbox, Evernote, Skype etc. On the same day, Open Nepal also hosted a workshop about open data, and a session on Open Access Button was hosted by the organizers. Sessions in the previous day included sessions that enlightened the audience about Introduction to Open Access, Open Access Repositories, and growing Open Access initiatives all over the world. This event dedicated to Open Access in Nepal was well received in the Open Communities of Nepal which has mostly concerned themselves with Open Data, Open Knowledge, and Open Source Software. A new set of audience became aware of the philosophy of Open. This author believes the event was a success story. Skærmbillede 2014-10-23 kl. 16.41.08

“Extracting Stories from Data” – 1 day hands-on training on basics of Data Journalism

- May 20, 2014 in Events, Featured

Open Knowledge Nepal organized a 1 day hands-on training on basics of Data Journalism on May 17, 2014 at Class Nepal,  Maitighar, Kathmandu. The sessions took a total of 3 hours, 9.00 AM to 12.00 Noon.   The event was planned as a result of the internal learning sessions. Members of Open Knowledge Nepal took hands on training sessions on the following topics:
  1. Basics of Spreadsheets – Sorting, Filtering, Formulation, Pivot Tables. (Suraj Bohara)
Suraj Bohara, on Basics of Spreadsheets

Suraj Bohara, on Basics of Spreadsheets

  1. Introduction to DataWrapper. (Nikesh Balami)
Nikesh Balami, on Introduction to DataWrapper

Nikesh Balami, on Introduction to DataWrapper

  1. Mapping data with Fusion Tables and basics of Google Docs. (Kshitiz Khanal)
Kshitiz Khanal, on Data Mapping with Google Fusion Tables.

Kshitiz Khanal, on Data Mapping with Google Fusion Tables.

  1. Demonstration of Tabula (Manish Dangol)
Manish Dangol (sitting) demonstrating Tabula.

Manish Dangol (sitting) demonstrating Tabula.

A total of 10 participants of the session gave positive feedback and comments for improving similar sessions in the future. Participants included journalists, students of Computer Science and Engineering, and an engineering professional.
Participants, and Rajesh Khadka (standing) in technical support team.

Participants, and Rajesh Khadka (standing) in technical support team.

Participants keen on learning.

Participants keen on learning.

  Positives from the event: Open Knowledge Nepal is capable of giving useful trainings on basic data analysis,  visualization etc. Increasing number of people are interested to learn new data skills in Nepal.          

OKF Nepal Meetup: March 13, 2014

- March 14, 2014 in Meetup

It was one fine Thursday evening and OKF Nepal had its meeting scheduled. There was much to discuss. Good news, plans, ideas, and more. Activities previously done by OKF Nepal like Open Election Data Week, City Spending Data Party, involvement in events that supported openness in Nepal like Open Nepal Hackathon etc. were catching attention of other communities of Open Knowledge Foundation. Such recognition boosts our morale to do more. The meetup’s main agenda was Open Spending Nepal. A beta version had recently been released. It is aimed to present open data about budgets and spending in Nepal in a way that is easy to understand, and is interactive.Only budgets of Nepal Government and of Kathmandu Metropolitan City for the running fiscal year are openly available. We are looking to gain more open data by contacting relevant government offices. Project co-ordinator Manish Dangol also elaborated his plans to go further, and also the problems that he has faced. The set of problems that he has faced so far includes: problems in scraping data available in Nepali typefaces, unavailability of spending and budget data of Nepal etc. Manish also raised a point about need of tutorials in the OKFN site. An idea about running an internal learning and sharing session about data scraping, visualization, etc. was also discussed. The plan is to meet 2 hours every Saturday evening to share and teach skill one has related to data to rest of the community members. In this process, we also plan to gain experience about teaching, developing course content and methodology. It will help when we will teach those skills to people outside the community. Another valued community member, Nikesh Balami came up with an idea of creating an open data hub for Nepal. On such datahub already exists in opennepal.net. Different tools like CKAN, datahub.io etc. can be used. An idea of creating a repository of sources of open data was also discussed. It was an overall productives session with discussion of ideas and presentation of progress of OKF Nepal. The meetup included with a conclusion of starting the data inter learning sessions from the Saturday after next one, and also releasing OpenSpendingNepal.org in 1st of Baisakh next year. okfn meeting