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Introducing the 2018 Class of School of Data Fellows!

Meg Foulkes - June 22, 2018 in announcement, fellowship

School of Data is delighted to announce its sixth class of fellows. From June until January 2019, the programme will allow fellows to deepen their data literacy skills and work alongside local partner organisations to enhance the data literacy network local to them. We were really pleased to receive a large number of applications and would like to both congratulate and wish all our new fellows the very best for their fellowship! Pamela Gonzales is passionate about data visualization and bridging the digital divide for women. She is the co-founder of Bolivia Tech Hub, a collaborative space for tech projects to contribute to the prosperity of an innovative ecosystem in Bolivia. Pamela is also the Regional Ambassador for Technovation, a San Francisco based program that equips girls with the skills needed to solve real-world problems through technology. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Universidad Mayor de San Andres.       Odanga Madung is the co-founder and Data Science Lead at Odipo Dev, a data science and analytics firm operating out of Nairobi Kenya that delivers services to various bluechip companies and NGOs across the country. Odanga’s deepest interest is at the intersection between data and culture and it is through this that Odipo Dev has been able to carry out data analysis and visualisation on various activities for a wide range of clients and occurrences in Kenya and the world.Some of his work has been featured in publications such as Adweek, Yahoo, BBC, CNBC, Quartz, and Daily Nation, just to mention a few. He will be working on Open Contracting in Kenya during the period of his fellowship. You can follow him on Twitter @Odangaring and Odipo Dev @OdipoDev for more information.   Nzumi Malendeja is a Research Associate at an Independent Evaluation and Research Cell of BRAC International in Tanzania, where he leads larger-scale research projects in education, agriculture, and health. Here, he has developed mobile-based data collection platforms (ODK Collect and SurveyCTO), which replaced the traditional paper-based methods. Before this, Mr. Nzumi worked as a Field Monitor and Research Assistant at SoChaGlobal and Maarifa ni Ufunguo respectively, both in education and construction sector transparency projects. Mr. Nzumi has attended a 4 week Summer School Training on Research Methods and Teaching Skills, hosted by Hamburg University of Applied Sciences in Germany, funded by the Germany Academic Exchange Services (DAAD). Presently, Mr. Nzumi is working on his thesis towards the fulfillment of the Master of Research and Public Policy at the University of Dar es Salaam.   Sofia Montenegro A fan of nature and the teachings it hides, Sofia has dedicated herself to research in the social sciences. She studied Political Science at the Universidad Francisco Marroquin and Public Opinion and Political Behavior through a Masters degree at the University of Essex, where she deepened her interest in data methodologies in social research. Sofia is interested in academia only as long as it drives political action. She looks to help other women to be involved freely in data practice and political spaces. Sofia is also interested in network analysis, studying corruption as a social phenomenon, following electoral processes and learning research methods.   Elias Mwakilama is a lecturer at University of Malawi-Chancellor College and Coordinator of Research, Seminar and Consultancies, and Diploma in Statistics programme in the Mathematical Sciences Department, Elias Mwakilama is a computational and applied mathematician in the field of operations research. He lectures and supervises undergraduate students in Mathematics & Statistics fields. His research interests are in working with optimisation models using mathematical statistics techniques integrated with computing skills to offer solutions of industrial related problems in theoretical and practical arena. Elias holds a first upper class MSc degree in Mathematical Sciences from University of Malawi. His website is here. During his fellowship, he hopes to support the “public procurement open contract platform” for Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Malawi with Hivos.   Ben Hur Pintor is an open-source and open-data advocate from the Philippines​ who believes in democratising not only data, but ​also ​the means of utilising and analysing data.​ He’s a geospatial generalist and software developer who’s​ worked on projects related to renewable energy, blue carbon ecosystems, and participatory disaster risk mapping and assessment. ​Ben is currently pursuing an MS Geomatics Engineering degree at the University of the Philippines. As part of his advocacy for Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), he’s a co-organiser and active participant of FOSS4G Philippines and MaptimeDiliman — avenues for sharing open​ ​source mapping technologies with the community.   Hani Rosidaini is passionate about how technology can be adopted and applied for people’s needs. She combines her technical skills, especially in information systems and data science, with social and business knowledge, to help companies and organisations in Indonesia, Australia, and Japan. This includes her own ventures. Highly relevant to this year fellowship’s focus of data procurement, Hani has experience as a data specialist for public policy in the Indonesia Presidential Office, where she has analysed the national integrated data platform, data.go.id, contributed to data-driven policy making, advocated ministries and agencies, as well as engaged with civic and local communities. Flattr this!

Apply Now! School of Data’s 2018 Fellowship Programme

Cédric Lombion - April 16, 2018 in announcement, bolivia, fellowship, ghana, Guatemala, indonesia, kenya, Malawi, philippines, tanzania

School of Data is inviting journalists, data scientists, civil society advocates and anyone interested in advancing data literacy to apply for its 2018 Fellowship Programme, which will run from May 2018 to January 2019. 8 positions are open, 1 in each of the following countries: Bolivia, Guatemala, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, The Philippines. The application deadline is set on Sunday, May 6th of 2018. If you would like to sponsor a fellowship, please get in touch with School of Data at Apply for the Fellowship Programme

The Fellowship

Fellowships are nine-month placements with School of Data for data-literacy practitioners or enthusiasts. During this time, Fellows work alongside School of Data to build an individual programme that will make use of both the collective experience of School of Data’s network to help Fellows gain new skills, and the knowledge that Fellows bring along with them, be it about a topic, a community or specific data literacy challenges. Similarly to previous years, our aim with the Fellowship programme is to increase awareness of data literacy and build communities who together, can use data literacy skills to make the change they want to see in the world. The 2018 Fellowship will continue the work in the thematic approach pioneered by the 2016 class. As a result, we will be prioritising candidates who:
  • possess experience in, and enthusiasm for, a specific area of data literacy training

  • can demonstrate links with an organisation practising in this defined area and/or links with an established network operating in the field
We are looking for engaged individuals who already have in-depth knowledge of a given sector or specific skillsets that can be applied to this year’s focus topics.. This will help Fellows get off to a running start and achieve the most during their time with School of Data: nine months fly by! Read More about the Fellowship Programme

The areas of focus in 2018

We have partnered with Hivos and NRGI to work on the following themes: Procurement and data in the extractives industry (oil, mining, gas). These amazing partner organisations will provide Fellows with guidance, mentorship and expertise in their respective domains.

2018 Fellowship Positions

Bolivia The Fellowship in Bolivia will be focused on public procurement data through the Open Contracting Programme. For this position, School of Data is looking for someone with: Experience with and interest in community building, experience with the implementation of civic projects with a data or technical component, storytelling skills, and experience with promoting data or technical stories to a wide audience, basic understanding of the public procurement process Guatemala The Fellowship in Guatemala will be focused on public procurement data through the Open Contracting Programme. For this position, School of Data is looking for someone with: Experience in the planning, coordination and implementation of projects with civil society organisations, the ability to advise and train organisations on working with data and delivering technical projects, basic understanding of the public procurement process Ghana The Fellowship in Ghana with be focused on extractives Data through the Media Development Programme at NRGI. For this position, School of Data is looking for someone with: an interest in supporting or working within the civil society sector, experience working with financial (or related) data for analysis experience as a trainer and/or community builder, interest and/or experience in the extractives sector, demonstrated skills as a data storyteller or journalist Malawi The Fellowship in Malawi will be focused on public procurement data through the Open Contracting Programme. For this position, School of Data is looking for someone with: experience with delivering technical and data-driven projects, experience with facilitating training activities, experience with data collection projects, basic understanding of the public procurement process **Indonesia ** The Fellowship in Indonesia will be focused on public procurement data through the Open Contracting Programme. For this position, School of Data is looking for someone with: experience with delivering technical and data-driven projects, experience with facilitating training activities, experience with working with government systems or data. Candidates with the following optional interests and experience will be appreciated: experience with explaining complex topics to varied audiences, experience with user design methodologies, experience with community development The Philippines The Fellowship in The Philippines will be focused on public procurement data through the Open Contracting Programme. For this position, School of Data is looking for someone with: experience with user-centric research and design methodologies, experience with community-building activities, experience with data storytelling. Candidates with the following optional interests and experience will be appreciated: graphic design skills, experience with delivering trainings Kenya The Fellowship in Kenya will be focused on public procurement data through the Open Contracting Programme. For this position, School of Data is looking for someone with: experience with delivering data-driven projects, experience with user research and data storytelling, experience with explaining complex topics to varied audiences. Candidates with the following optional interests and experience will be appreciated: interest in or experience with supporting civic projects and civil society organisations, experience with facilitating training activities. Tanzania The Fellowship in Tanzania will be focused on public procurement data through the Open Contracting Programme. For this position, School of Data is looking for someone with: experience with delivering data-driven projects, experience with facilitating training activities, experience with explaining complex topics to varied audiences. Candidates with the following optional interests and experience will be appreciated: experience working with journalists or as a journalist, interest in or experience with supporting civic projects and civil society organisations, experience with writing pedagogical content 9 months to make an impact The two programmes will run from May to Jan uary 2019, and entail up to 10 days a month of time. While Fellows will be focused on ironing their skills as data trainers and build a community around them, Experts will focus on supporting and training a civil society organisation or newsroom with a specific project. Fellows will receive a monthly stipend of $1,000 USD a month to cover for their work. In May, both Experts and Fellows will come together during an in-person Fellowship Induction Workshop to meet their peers, build and share their skills, and learn about the School of Data way of training people on data skills. What are you waiting for? Read more about School of Data’s Fellowship or Apply now Key Information: Fellowship
  • Available positions: up to 8 fellows, 1 in each of the following countries: Bolivia, Guatemala, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, The Philippines

  • Application deadline: May 6th, 2018, midnight GMT+0
  • Duration: From May 14th, 2018 to January 31st, 2019
  • Level of activity: 10 days per month
  • Stipend: $1000 USD per month
Key links About diversity and inclusivity School of Data is committed to being inclusive in its recruitment practices. Inclusiveness means excluding no one because of race, age, religion, cultural appearance, sexual orientation, ethnicity or gender. We proactively seek to recruit individuals who differ from one another in these characteristics, in the belief that diversity enriches all that we do. Flattr this!

Ten Cool Things I Learned at DataJConf

Yan Naung Oak - August 18, 2017 in Events, fellowship

I had a fantastic time at the European Computational and Data Journalism Conference in Dublin on 6-7 July in the company of many like-minded data journalists, academics, and open data practitioners. There were a lot of stimulating ideas shared during the presentations on the first day, the unconference on the second day, and the many casual conversations in between! In this post I’d like to share the ten ideas that stuck with me the most (it was tough to whittle it down to just ten!). Hopefully you’ll find these thoughts interesting, and hopefully they’ll spark some worthwhile discussions about data journalism and storytelling. I’d really love to hear what you have to say about all of this, so please do share any thoughts or observations that you might have below the line! image alt text The European Data and Computational Journalism Conference, Dublin, 6-7 July 2017
  1. ‘Deeper’ data journalism is making a real impact
Marianne Bouchart – manager of the Data Journalism Awards – gave a presentation introducing some of the most exciting award winners of 2017, and talked about some of the most important new trends in data journalism today. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the electoral rollercoasters of the past year, a lot of great data journalism has been centred around electioneering and other political dramas. Marianne said that “impact” was the theme that ran through the best pieces produced last year, and she really stressed the central role that investigative journalism needs to play in producing strong data-driven stories. She said that impactful investigative journalism is increasingly merging with data journalism, as we saw in projects shedding light on shady anti-transparency moves by Brazilian politicians, investigating the asset-hoarding of Serbian politicians, and exposing irresponsible police handling of sexual assault cases in Canada.
  1. Machine learning could bring a revolution in data journalism
Two academics presented on the latest approaches to computational journalism – journalism that applies machine learning techniques to dig into a story. Marcel Broersma from the University of Groningen presented on an automated analysis of politicians’ use of social media. The algorithm analysed 80,000 tweets from Dutch, British and Belgian politicians to identify patterns of what he called the ‘triangle of political communication’ between politicians, journalists, and citizens. The project wasn’t without its difficulties, though – algorithmically detecting sarcasm still remained a challenge, and the limited demographics of Twitter users meant that this kind of research could only look at how narrow certain segments of society communicated. Jennifer Stark from the University of Maryland looked at the possibilities for algorithms to be biased – specifically looking at Google Image Search’s representations of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s photos during their campaigns. Through the use of an image recognition API that detects emotions, she found that Clinton’s pictures were biased towards showing her appear happier whereas for Trump, both happiness and anger were overrepresented. Although it’s still early days for computational journalism, talks like these hinted at exciting new data journalism methods to come!
  1. There are loads of ways to learn new skills!
The conference was held at the beautiful University College Dublin, where a brand new master’s program in data journalism is being launched this year. We also heard from one of the conference organisers, Martin Chorley, about Cardiff University’s Master’s in Computational and Data Journalism, which has been going strong for three years, and has had a great track record of placing students into employment. But formal education isn’t the only way to get those cutting edge data journo skills! One of the conference organisers also presented the results of a worldwide survey of data journalists, taking in responses from 180 data journalists across 44 countries. One of the study’ most notable findings was that only half of respondents had formal training in data journalism – the rest picked up the necessary skills all by themselves. Also, when asked how they wanted to further their skills, more respondents said they wanted to brush up on their skills in short courses rather than going back to school full-time.
  1. Want good government data? Be smart (and be charming)!
One of the most fascinating parts of the conference for me was learning about the different ways data journalists obtained data for their projects. Kathryn Tourney from The Detail in Northern Ireland found Freedom of Information requests useful, but with the caveat that you really needed to know the precise structure of the data you are requesting in order to get the best data. Kathryn would conduct prior research on the exact schemas of government databases and work to get hold of the forms that the government used to collect the data she wanted before making the actual FOI requests. This ensured that there was no ambiguity about what she’d receive on the other side! Conor Ryan from Ireland’s RTÉ found that he didn’t need to make FOI requests to do deep investigative work, because there was already a lot of government data “available” to the public. The catch was that this data was often buried behind paywalls and multiple layers of bureaucracy. Conor stressed the importance of ensuring that any data sources RTÉ managed to wrangle were also made available in a more accessible way for future users. One example related to accessing building registry data in Ireland, where originally a €5 fee existed for every request made. Conor and his team pointed out this obstacle to the authorities and persuaded them to change the rules so that the data would be available in bulk in the future. Lastly, during the unconference one story from Bulgaria really resonated with my own experiences trying to get a hold of data from governments in closed societies. A group of techies offered the Bulgarian government help with an array of technical issues, and by building relationships with staff on the ground – as well as getting the buy-in of political decision makers – they were able to get their hands on a great deal of data that would have forever remained inaccessible if they’d gone through the ‘standard’ channels for accessing public information.
  1. The ethics of data sharing are tricky
The best moments at these conferences are the ones that make you go: “Hmm… I never thought about it that way before!”. During Conor Ryan’s presentation, he really emphasized the need for data journalists to consider the ethics of sharing the data that they have gathered or analysed. He pointed out that there’s a big difference between analysing data internally and reporting on a selected set of verifiable results, and publishing the entire dataset from your analysis publicly. In the latter case, every single row of data becomes a potential defamation suit waiting to happen. This is especially true when the dataset involved is disaggregated down the level of individuals!
  1. Collaboration is everything
Being a open data practitioner means that my dream scenarios are collaborations on data-driven projects between techies, journalists and civil society groups. So it was really inspiring to hear Megan Lucero talk about how The Bureau Local (at the Bureau of Investigative Journalism) has built up a community of civic techies, local journalists, and civil society groups across the UK. Even though The Bureau Local was only set up a few months ago, they quickly galvanized this community around the 2017 UK general elections, and launched four different collaborative investigative data journalism projects. One example is their piece on targeted ads during the election campaign, where they collaborated with the civic tech group Who Targets Me to collect and analyse data about the kinds of political ads targeting social media users. I’d love to see more experiments like The Bureau Local emerging in other countries as well! In fact, one of the main purposes of Open and Shut is precisely to build this kind of community for folks in closed societies who want to collaborate on data-driven investigations. So please get involved! image alt text Who Targets Me? Is an initiative working to collect and analyse data about the kinds of political ads targeting social media users.
  1. Data journalism needs cash – so where can we find it?
It goes without saying these days that journalism is having a bad time of it at the moment. Advertising and subscription revenues don’t pull in nearly as much cash as the used to. Given that pioneering data-driven investigative journalism takes a lot of time and effort, the question that naturally arises is: “where do we get the money for all this?”. Perhaps unsurprisingly, no-one at DataJConf had any straightforward answers to this question. A lot of casual conversations in between sessions drifted onto the topic of funding for data journalism, and lots of people seemed worried that innovative work in the field is currently too dependent on funding from foundations. That being said, attendees also shared stories about interesting funding experiments being undertaken around the world, with the Korean Center for Investigative Journalism’s crowdfunding approach gaining some interest.
  1. Has data journalism been failing us?
In the era of “fake news” and “alternative facts”, a recurring topic in many conversations was about whether data journalism actually had any serious positive impacts. During the unconference discussions, some of us ended up being sucked into the black hole question of “What constitutes proper journalism anyway?”. It wasn’t all despair and navel-gazing, however, and we definitely identified a few concrete things that could be improved. One related to the need to better represent uncertainty in data journalism. This ties into questions of improving the public’s data literacy, but also of traditional journalism’s tendency to present attention-grabbing leads and conclusions without doing enough to convey complexity and nuance. People kept referencing FiveThirtyEight’s election prediction page, which contained a sophisticated representation of the uncertainty in their modelling, but hid it all below the fold – an editorial decision, it was argued, that lulled readers into thinking that the big number that they saw at the top of the page was the only thing that mattered. image alt text FiveThirtyEight’s forecast of the 2016 US elections showed a lot of details below the fold about their forecasting model’s uncertainty, but most readers just looked at the big percentages at the top. Another challenge identified by attendees was that an enormous amount of resources were being deployed to preach to the choir instead of reaching out to a broader base of readers. The unconference participants pointed out that a lot of the sophisticated data journalism stories written in the run-up to the 2016 US elections were geared towards partisan audiences. We agreed that we needed to see more accessible, impactful data stories that were not so mired in party politics, such as ProPublica’s insightful piece on rising US maternal mortality rates.
  1. Data journalism can be incredibly powerful in the Global South
Many of the talks were about data journalism as it was practised in Western countries – with one notable exception. Eva Constantaras, who trains investigative data journalism teams in the Global South, held a wonderful presentation about the impactfulness of data journalism in the developing world. She gave the examples of IndiaSpend in India and The Nation in Kenya, and spoke about how their data-driven stories worked to identify problems that resonated with the public, and explain them in an accessible and impactful way. Election coverage in these two examples shared by Eva focused on investigating the consequences of the policy proposals of politicians, engaging in fact-checking, and identifying the kinds of problems that were faced by voters in reality. Without the burden of partisan echo-chambers, and because data journalism is still very new and novel in many parts of the world, data journalism could end up having a huge impact on public debate and storytelling in the Global South. Watch this space! image alt text Kenya’s *The Nation has been producing data-driven stories more and more frequently, such as **this piec*e* on Kenya’s Eleventh Elections in August 2017*
  1. Storytelling has to connect on a human level
If there was one recurring theme that I heard throughout the conference about what makes data journalism impactful, it was that the data-driven story has to connect on a human level. Eva had a slide in her talk with a quote from John Steinbeck about what makes a good story: “If a story is not about the hearer he [or she] will not listen… A great lasting story is about everyone, or it will not last. The strange and foreign is not interesting – only the deeply personal and familiar.” Embed youtube video: https://youtu.be/lFEHt_gOcwo “I want loads of money” — Councillor Hugh McElvaney caught on hidden camera video from RTÉ Conor from RTÉ also drove the same point home. After his team’s extensive data-driven investigative work revealed corruption in Irish politics, the actual story that they broke involved a hidden-camera video of an undercover interview with one of these politicians. This video highlighted just one datapoint in a very visceral way, which ultimately resonated more with the audience than any kind of data visualisation could.
I could go on for longer, but that’s probably quite enough for one blog post! Thanks for reading this far, and I hope you managed to gain some nice insights from my experiences at DataJConf. It was a fascinating couple of days, and I’m looking forward to building upon all of these exciting new ideas in the months ahead! If any of these thoughts have got you excited, curious (or maybe even furious) we’d love to hear from you below the line. *Open & Shut is a project from the **Small Medi*a* team. Small Media are an organisation working to support freedom of information in closed societies, and are behind the portal **Iran Open Dat*a*.* Flattr this!

The Genesis of The School of Data Fellowship

Katelyn Rogers - July 20, 2017 in fellowship

In 2013, data literacy was, and in many ways remains, a nascent field. Unsurprisingly, finding reliable trainers to carry out School of Data missions around the world was a struggle. We started our Fellowship programme, as a way to address the lack of data literacy trainers throughout the world. Even in 2013, it was clear that while short term data trainings were effective at raising awareness of potential uses of data for storying telling and advocacy, more long term interventions were required to actually build data skills in civil society and the media. We designed the School of Data Fellowship to address these two primary challenges that we had identified and were regularly confronting during the course of our work:
  1. there is a severe shortage of data trainers able to work with local communities and adapt training to local needs and/or languages.
  2. organisations and individuals need to engage with data over a long period of time for data activities to become embedded within their work.

Building the foundations

Our Fellowships are nine-month placements with School of Data for existing data-literacy practitioners. We identify high potential individuals with topical expertise and help them mature as data literacy leaders by working alongside School of Data and our global network. At the start of the Fellowship, we create an individualised programme with each Fellow, designed to equip them with the skills they need to more effectively further data literacy in their community. This programme is built around the core competencies required for furthering data literacy: community building; content creation; and knowledge transfer (see Data Literacy Activity Matrix) for more details on these competencies). From the outset, we were successful at recruiting high-potential individuals to participate in the programme and throughout the years the applicant pool has only grown. We have worked with the Fellows to adapt and translate materials, develop original learning content and provide training to local civil society. Each year, we make tweaks in the programme to reflect learnings both from where we are achieving our goals as well as where we have fallen short.

An evolving process

Over the years, we have fine-tuned the goals of the programme to reflect what we have found the Fellowship programme to be most effective at achieving as well as what is needed to advance data literacy. These goals are as follows:
  1. identify, train and support individuals who have the potential to become data leaders and sources of expertise in their country and/region;

  2. kickstart, or strengthen, data literacy communities in the countries where current and former Fellows are active
Prior to 2016, we had not clearly articulated that kickstarting data literacy communities was one of the goals of the Fellowship programme but it had become obvious that this was a critical component to the sustainability of our work. Given that data literacy is such a nascent field, it was always important, in each new city/country, for the Fellows to do substantial awareness raising work. The Fellows who were most successful would provide trainings and organise meet-ups not necessarily to build individual skills but to start sensitising local communities to the idea that data is a powerful tool for civil society.

A successful approach

In late 2016, we conducted interviews with two dozen School of Data Fellows to better understand whether we were achieving our goals as a programme. These interviews formed the basis of our first Fellowship Outcomes Mapping. Some of the highlights of these interviews can be found below.

The Fellows:

We found that the Fellowship has been successful in achieving its initial goal, creating a community of qualified local trainers knowledgeable in School of Data methodologies and actively spreading data literacy in their respective countries:
  1. Better Understanding of the Data Needs and Challenges of Civil Society: Over the years, we have recruited a number of developers, data analysts and entrepreneurs, who, prior to the Fellowship, had little understanding of the specific challenges faced by civil society in using data. Through working with local NGOs, governments and newsrooms, these Fellows gained an understanding of how they could use their skills to serve civil society more effectively.

  2. New Methodologies & Approaches for Training: Through the Fellowship programme, Fellows were able to tap into a network of data literacy practitioners and learn from the best about how to build an effective training programme for any audience.
  3. International Visibility & Connections: Finally, through the School of Data programme, Fellows were introduced to an international community, increasing both the visibility of their work and providing them with a number of new and exciting opportunities to train and to be recruited for consultancies and jobs. Fellows have gone on to work for large newsrooms, international organisations, development agencies and governments.

The local communities

In addition to supporting Fellows to achieve their own goals and personal development, the Fellowship programme also seeks to strengthen data literacy within local civil society. The potential of the Fellowship to have a meaningful impact on local civil society groups was formally acknowledged in 2016, with the inclusion of a specific programmatic goal relating to community-building. As seen in School of Data’s research on the value of different formats of data literacy activities, the Fellowship format is most successful in achieving outcomes related to awareness-building (understanding of data uses, awareness of data skill gaps, knowledge of the data pipeline) as well as the kickstarting of data-related activities locally. This awareness raising work is required in every sector. It is not necessarily because there is an emerging data community focused on transparency and accountability in public finance or extractives that the local health or water CSOs will be sold on the idea of integrating more data into their work. To reflect these learnings, in 2016, we started recruiting Fellows with a particular topical interest or expertise who would work on data literacy in that specific sector.

Next Steps

We are continuously working to improve the Fellowship process and are overjoyed most of our past Fellows go on to become active members of the School of Data network. Over the next few months, we will be posting a series of articles about the Fellowship programme including:
  • Steps we have taken to ensure diversity in each Fellowship class as well as the challenges we still face in terms of inclusivity
  • Funding the low-visibility infrastructure-building work that is a critical part of the Fellowship process
  • How and where we have struggled to make the Fellowship model work and plan we have for changing that
We welcome any thoughts and feedback that you have. Get in touch on twitter @schoolofdata or via our contact page. Flattr this!

The Genesis of The School of Data Fellowship

Katelyn Rogers - July 20, 2017 in fellowship

In 2013, data literacy was, and in many ways remains, a nascent field. Unsurprisingly, finding reliable trainers to carry out School of Data missions around the world was a struggle. We started our Fellowship programme, as a way to address the lack of data literacy trainers throughout the world. Even in 2013, it was clear that while short term data trainings were effective at raising awareness of potential uses of data for storying telling and advocacy, more long term interventions were required to actually build data skills in civil society and the media. We designed the School of Data Fellowship to address these two primary challenges that we had identified and were regularly confronting during the course of our work:
  1. there is a severe shortage of data trainers able to work with local communities and adapt training to local needs and/or languages.
  2. organisations and individuals need to engage with data over a long period of time for data activities to become embedded within their work.

Building the foundations

Our Fellowships are nine-month placements with School of Data for existing data-literacy practitioners. We identify high potential individuals with topical expertise and help them mature as data literacy leaders by working alongside School of Data and our global network. At the start of the Fellowship, we create an individualised programme with each Fellow, designed to equip them with the skills they need to more effectively further data literacy in their community. This programme is built around the core competencies required for furthering data literacy: community building; content creation; and knowledge transfer (see Data Literacy Activity Matrix) for more details on these competencies). From the outset, we were successful at recruiting high-potential individuals to participate in the programme and throughout the years the applicant pool has only grown. We have worked with the Fellows to adapt and translate materials, develop original learning content and provide training to local civil society. Each year, we make tweaks in the programme to reflect learnings both from where we are achieving our goals as well as where we have fallen short.

An evolving process

Over the years, we have fine-tuned the goals of the programme to reflect what we have found the Fellowship programme to be most effective at achieving as well as what is needed to advance data literacy. These goals are as follows:
  1. identify, train and support individuals who have the potential to become data leaders and sources of expertise in their country and/region;

  2. kickstart, or strengthen, data literacy communities in the countries where current and former Fellows are active
Prior to 2016, we had not clearly articulated that kickstarting data literacy communities was one of the goals of the Fellowship programme but it had become obvious that this was a critical component to the sustainability of our work. Given that data literacy is such a nascent field, it was always important, in each new city/country, for the Fellows to do substantial awareness raising work. The Fellows who were most successful would provide trainings and organise meet-ups not necessarily to build individual skills but to start sensitising local communities to the idea that data is a powerful tool for civil society.

A successful approach

In late 2016, we conducted interviews with two dozen School of Data Fellows to better understand whether we were achieving our goals as a programme. These interviews formed the basis of our first Fellowship Outcomes Mapping. Some of the highlights of these interviews can be found below.

The Fellows:

We found that the Fellowship has been successful in achieving its initial goal, creating a community of qualified local trainers knowledgeable in School of Data methodologies and actively spreading data literacy in their respective countries:
  1. Better Understanding of the Data Needs and Challenges of Civil Society: Over the years, we have recruited a number of developers, data analysts and entrepreneurs, who, prior to the Fellowship, had little understanding of the specific challenges faced by civil society in using data. Through working with local NGOs, governments and newsrooms, these Fellows gained an understanding of how they could use their skills to serve civil society more effectively.

  2. New Methodologies & Approaches for Training: Through the Fellowship programme, Fellows were able to tap into a network of data literacy practitioners and learn from the best about how to build an effective training programme for any audience.
  3. International Visibility & Connections: Finally, through the School of Data programme, Fellows were introduced to an international community, increasing both the visibility of their work and providing them with a number of new and exciting opportunities to train and to be recruited for consultancies and jobs. Fellows have gone on to work for large newsrooms, international organisations, development agencies and governments.

The local communities

In addition to supporting Fellows to achieve their own goals and personal development, the Fellowship programme also seeks to strengthen data literacy within local civil society. The potential of the Fellowship to have a meaningful impact on local civil society groups was formally acknowledged in 2016, with the inclusion of a specific programmatic goal relating to community-building. As seen in School of Data’s research on the value of different formats of data literacy activities, the Fellowship format is most successful in achieving outcomes related to awareness-building (understanding of data uses, awareness of data skill gaps, knowledge of the data pipeline) as well as the kickstarting of data-related activities locally. This awareness raising work is required in every sector. It is not necessarily because there is an emerging data community focused on transparency and accountability in public finance or extractives that the local health or water CSOs will be sold on the idea of integrating more data into their work. To reflect these learnings, in 2016, we started recruiting Fellows with a particular topical interest or expertise who would work on data literacy in that specific sector.

Next Steps

We are continuously working to improve the Fellowship process and are overjoyed most of our past Fellows go on to become active members of the School of Data network. Over the next few months, we will be posting a series of articles about the Fellowship programme including:
  • Steps we have taken to ensure diversity in each Fellowship class as well as the challenges we still face in terms of inclusivity
  • Funding the low-visibility infrastructure-building work that is a critical part of the Fellowship process
  • How and where we have struggled to make the Fellowship model work and plan we have for changing that
We welcome any thoughts and feedback that you have. Get in touch on twitter @schoolofdata or via our contact page. Flattr this!

Welcoming our 2017 Fellows and Data Experts!

Meg Foulkes - June 21, 2017 in announcement, fellowship

We’re delighted to welcome our new Fellows and Data Experts to School of Data! We wish them all every success for the year ahead.

Fellows

Idriss Kone, Cote D’Ivoire

Idriss is a statistician and  economist at the Ministry of Budget in Cote d’Ivoire where he is responsible for monitoring and evaluating customs activities including the analysis of foreign trade statistics and measuring the  impact of tariff reforms and trade agreements. Furthermore, Idriss has experience in Education and Financial Inclusion having worked as the MTEF(Medium Term Expenditure Framework)  specialist at Ministry of Education and served as a principal investigator for “Women, Monetary Practices and Technological Innovation” project in Côte d’Ivoire. He  holds an engineering  diploma in statistics and econometrics from the National Advanced School of Statistics and Applied Economics of Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire). He will be joining the 2017 Fellowship class to work with the Publish What You Pay coalition in Cote d’Ivoire on extractives data.


Pascal Elie, Haiti

Pascale Elie holds a BA in Mathematics and Economics from the University of Montreal and specializes in statistical and actuarial analysis. She worked as a statistician and actuarial adviser for various Canadian and Haitian companies, particularly for the Auto Insurance Fund for the State Employees in Haiti. She also participated in launching a start-up insurance company in Haiti, UniAssurance S.A. Currently, she is a consultant for HaitiPay S.A., where she leads the company by proposing and implementing financial product using strategic mobile payment solutions. With HaitiPay, she is also responsible for marketing a mobile wallet service operated by the National Bank of Credit, by developing and implementing distribution strategies and leading elaboration of new products and services related to mobile banking. She will be working to develop the data literacy community in Haiti as part of the Going Global: Digital Jobs and Gender programme.  

Lyse Marie-Carlie Ladouceur, Haiti

Lyse is an engineering student at the Ecole Supérieure d’Infotronique d’Haïti (Port-au-Prince). She served as a GIS and Data Entry Intern for UNOPS where she used data to created maps that detailed the road conditions in the south of Haiti following Hurricane Matthew. She will be working to develop the data literacy community in Haiti as part of the Going Global: Digital Jobs and Gender programme.

Yan Naung Oak, Myanmar

Yan is passionate about civic tech, open data, and the power of new technologies to empower communities and civil society. He is currently work at Phandeeyar, an ICT Innovation Hub in Yangon, Myanmar, which is spearheading the use of technology to accelerate change and development in Myanmar. He is a native of Myanmar but studied and worked in Singapore and the United States, before coming back to Yangon in 2014. He will be joining the 2017 fellowship class to work with the Natural Resource Governance Institute on data literacy and data availability in the jade mining sector.  

Sebastián Oliva, Guatemala 

  Sebastián Oliva was born in Guatemala and got into computers since his early childhood. Although he majored in engineering and physics, he kept an interest in social science as well as for the multidisciplinary realm of exact science. Sebastián has worked both for tech companies and for social tech projects. He also develops free software and hardware. He was a in intern for Google, in the “cloud” division, where he gathered knowledge of programming language Python. Sebastián was member of the winner teams in the Latin American development challenge Desarollando Latinoamérica 2014 and was a finalist in the Space Apps Challenge 2014. His interest in School of Data comes naturally when you align his social impact interests with his technical skills in data extraction, processing and presentation. Amongst his other interests you can count documentary photography and, why not, role and strategy games. You can send him a tweet at @tian2992  

Data Experts 

Nuru Magwaza, Tanzania

Nuru is a data trainer and researcher from Dar es Salaam Tanzania. After graduating with a Bachelors degree in Computer and Information management, she has worked as a research assistant and data consultant in Tanzania including with the Open Data Institute. As a data enthusiast, she is now working as a data fellow in the Data Zetu project under Code for Tanzania which helps citizens in addressing their problems by using data. She will be joining the 2017 data expert programme working with the Tanzania Media Foundation and NRGI to clean extractive sector data from TEITI, develop an extractive data journalism fellowship curriculum and run in-house data training for TMF staff.  

Ketty Adoch, Uganda

Ketty is a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) specialist based in Kampala, Uganda. In 2013, inspired by a Twitter post about an upcoming online data expedition (School of Data MOOC) on global carbon emissions, Ketty joined Open Knowledge and signed up for the course. Passionate about the environment and feeling the need to expand her skill set, she found the data expedition methodology very useful and has used it in her training in Uganda. She will be joining the 2017 data expert programme to work with the African Centre for Media Excellence in developing GIS skills and tools for journalists and media organisations focusing on the extractive sector.         Flattr this!

[French] Le Fellowship de School of Data : Questions et réponses

Cédric Lombion - March 29, 2017 in Côte d'Ivoire, fellowship, Haiti, senegal

En 2017, nous recrutons des Fellows dans trois pays francophones: Haïti, Côte d’Ivoire et Sénégal. Les thèmes sont les suivants :
  • Haïti: Fondamentaux de la littératie de données
  • Côte d’Ivoire, Sénégal: Données de l’industrie extractive.
Voir l’annonce principale Vous n’êtes pas certains que le Fellowship soit fait pour vous ? Vous vous posez encore des questions ? Cet article rassemble les questions et réponses les plus courantes. Nous le mettrons à jour aussi souvent que possible !
  • En quoi consiste le Fellowship de School of Data ?
Les Fellowships sont des placements de 9 mois au sein du réseau School of Data pour des individus pratiquant ou passionnés par la littératie de données. Au cours de cette période, les Fellows travaillent aux côtés de l’équipe de coordination et du réseau de School of Data : vous apprendrez beaucoup de nous, et inversement ! Nous travaillerons ensemble pour construire un programme individuel pour votre Fellowship. Avec pour but d’acquérir les compétences vous permettant de progresser sur votre travail de littératie de donnée: pour former les autres, développer un réseau, organiser des événements. Quelle que soit l’activité, notre objectif est de sensibiliser à la littératie de données et construire des communautés qui, ensemble, peuvent utiliser les compétences d’usage des données afin d’être moteur du changement dans le monde. Le Fellowship a pour objectif de recruter et former la prochaine génération de “data leaders” et formateurs afin d’étendre l’impact de notre programme de littératie de la donnée. Les Fellows fournissent une formation et un appui dans le temps aux journalistes, organisations de la société civile et individus innovants afin qu’ils soient capables d’utiliser les données de façon pertinente au sein de leur communauté ou pays. Nous recherchons des candidats qui ont des liens existants avec un réseau de promoteurs de la littératie de données, ou qui ont des connexions au sein d’une organisation particulière travaillent dans ce domaine. Nous recrutons nos Fellows annuellement, et chaque génération devient une partie intégrante du réseau international de School of Data. Ils peuvent donc s’apputer sur la force du réseau pour partager des ressources ou connaissances, de façon à contribuer au mieux à notre compréhension des meilleurs stratégies pour mener des formations pertinentes au niveau local.
  • Est-ce que le Fellow doit habiter/être en permanence dans le pays ?
Il est attendu des Fellows qu’ils soient disponibles 10 jours par mois pour le Fellowship. La plupart des missions nécessiteront une présence de terrain, ce qui sera plus facile si vous habitez le pays au moins 2 semaines par mois. Par ailleurs, nous recherchons des personnes qui aimeraient rester actives sur le long terme dans le pays, ce qui implique qu’un candidat y habitant sera favorisé. Cela dit, nous sommes flexibles et si un Fellow a un déplacement prévu, nous saurons trouver un arrangement.
  • Est-ce que le Fellow doit parler couramment anglais ?
La coordination du Fellowship se fera en Français pour les Fellows francophones. Cela dit, un avantage sera donné aux candidats sachant parler anglais: il est important de pouvoir communiquer avec les reste de la communauté School of Data ! Pas besoin d’être bilingue cependant, être capable de parler un anglais simple et de comprendre des interlocuteurs anglophones est suffisant.
  • Les Fellows devront-ils voyager durant le programme ?
Oui. En mai, à l’occasion du Camp d’Été de School of Data, les Fellows rejoindront la communauté en Afrique du Sud pour planifier leur Fellowship et être formés aux méthodologies de School of Data. Cela nécessite donc d’avoir un passeport, et de lancer les démarches de demande de visa dès que vous êtes sélectionnés. Pensez-y ! Vous avez des questions mais pas de réponses ? Contactez nous via Twitter ou notre site! Flattr this!

Ask Your Questions to Former School of Data Fellows

Meg Foulkes - March 23, 2017 in announcement, Events, fellowship

  Do you have questions about what it’s like to be a School of Data Fellow? What will I learn? How can I fit Fellowship work around other commitments like work and family? Will I need to travel a lot? As part of our call for applications for the 2017 Fellowships and Data Experts, we’re hosting a live, informal Question and Answer session next Monday 27th March at 12.30 UTC with two former fellows :
  • Julio Lopez, a Fellow from the Class of 2015 from Ecuador
  • Sheena Carmel Opulencia-Calub, also from our Class of 2015, who’s based in the Philippines.
You can read more about both of their backgrounds and interests here. The Q&A will be live on School of Data’s Youtube channel. We’ll share the link soon. Stay tuned! Flattr this!

[French] Postulez maintenant! Candidatures ouvertes pour les programmes de School of Data

Cédric Lombion - March 21, 2017 in announcement, Côte d'Ivoire, fellowship, Haiti

School of Data invite journalistes, associations de la société civiles – et quiconque intéressé par la promotion de la littératie de données – à candidater à son programme de Fellowship. Les candidatures pour ce programmes, qui durent d’avril à mai 2017, fermeront Dimanche 2 avril 2017. Pour le Fellowship francophones, School of Data recherche des candidats dans trois pays:

  • Sénégal
  • Côte d’Ivoire
  • Haïti

Candidater pour Fellowship

Note: si vous venez d’un autre pays, veuillez vous référer à l’annonce principale, en anglais

Le Fellowship

Les Fellowships sont des placements de 9 mois au sein du réseau School of Data pour des individus pratiquant ou passionnés par la littératie de données. Au cours de cette période, les Fellows travaillent aux côtés de l’équipe de coordination et du réseau de School of Data : vous apprendrez beaucoup de nous, et inversement ! Nous travaillerons ensemble pour construire un programme individuel pour votre Fellowship. Avec pour but d’acquérir les compétences vous permettant de progresser sur votre travail de littératie de donnée: pour former les autres, développer un réseau, organiser des événements.

A l’image des années précédentes, l’objectif du programme de Fellowship est de faire la promotion de la littératie de données et de construire des communautés qui, ensemble, pourront utiliser leurs compétences liées aux données pour créer le changement qu’elles veulent voir dans le monde.

Le Fellowship 2017 poursuit l’approche thématique entamée par notre processus de recrutement de 2016. Ainsi, nous prioriserons les candidats qui:

  • font preuve d’une expérience et d’un enthousiasme envers une thématique spécifique de la littératie de données.
  • peuvent justifier de liens avec une organisation ou une communauté d’individus qui travaillent sur cette thématique

Nous recherchons des candidats qui ont une connaissance approfondie des domaines qui nous intéressent et qui ont entamé une réflexion sur les enjeux de littératie de données de ces domaines. Le but étant de pouvoir rentrer dans le vif du sujet le plus vite possible: 9 mois passent vite !

Pour en lire plus sur le programme de Fellowship (en anglais)

Le thèmes prioritaires de 2017

Nous collaborons cette année avec des organisations intéressés par les thèmes suivants:

  • données des industries extractives
  • fondamentaux de la littératie de données
Programme Thématique Pays
Fellowship Données de l’industri extractive Sénégal, Côte d’Ivoire
Fellowship Fondamentaux de la littératie de données Haïti

9 mois pour laisser un impact

Le programme se déroule d’avril à décembre 2017, et requiert 10 jours par mois de disponibilité. Les Fellows reçoivent un défraiement de 1,000 US$ par mois pour leur permettre de travailler dans des conditions optimales.

En mai, les Fellows rejoindront le reste de la communauté dans le cadre du Camp d’Ete de School of Data (pays à confirmer). Ce sera l’occasion de rencontrer les autres Fellows et membres du réseau, de planifier votre Fellowship et d’apprendre des autres participants sur les bonnes pratiques utilisées au sein du réseau School of Data.

Qu’attendez-vous ?

En savoir plus sur le programme de Fellowship (en anglais) or Candidater

Informations clé: le Fellowship

  • Date limite de candidature : 2 avril 2017, minuit GMT+0
  • Durée : d’avril 15 2017 au 31 décembre 2017
  • Disponibilité requise : 10 jours par mois
  • Défraiement : 1000 US$ par mois

Diversité et inclusivité

Nous nous engageons à être inclusifs dans notre processus de recrutement. Être inclusif signifie de n’exclure personne pour des questions d’origine ethnique, de religion, d’apparence, d’orientation sexuelle, ou de genre. Nous cherchons activement à recruiter des individus qui diffèrent les uns des autres sur ces caractéristiques, car nous sommes convaincus que la diversité est une richesse pour notre travail.

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Apply Now! School of Data’s Fellowship and Data Expert Programmes

Cédric Lombion - March 2, 2017 in announcement, fellowship

image alt text School of Data is inviting journalists, civil society advocates and anyone interested in pushing data literacy forward to apply for its 2017 Fellowship and Data Expert Programmes, which will run from April to December 2017. Up to 10 positions are open, with an application deadline set on Sunday, April 2nd of 2017. Apply for the Fellowship Programme Apply for the Data Expert Programme

The Fellowship

Fellowships are nine-month placements with School of Data for data-literacy practitioners or enthusiasts. During this time, Fellows work alongside School of Data to build an individual programme that will make use of both the collective experience of School of Data’s network to help Fellows gain new skills, and the knowledge that Fellows bring along with them, be it about a topic, a community or specific data literacy challenges. Similarly to previous years, our aim with the Fellowship programme is to increase awareness of data literacy and build communities who together, can use data literacy skills to make the change they want to see in the world. The 2017 Fellowship will continue the thematic approach pioneered by the 2016 class. As a result, we will be prioritising candidates who:
  • possess experience in, and enthusiasm for, a specific area of data literacy training

  • can demonstrate links with an organisation practising in this defined area and/or links with an established network operating in the field
We are looking for engaged individuals who already have in-depth knowledge of a given sector and have been reflecting on the data literacy challenges faced in the field. This will help Fellows get off to a running start and achieve the most during their time with School of Data: nine months fly by! Read More about the Fellowship Programme

The Data Expert programme

Launched formally for the first time this year, the Data Expert programme aims to strengthen the ability of strategic civil society organisations that are strategically positioned to bring about social change in their field of expertise to manage and deliver data driven projects. The Data Expert Programme was designed to complement the School of Data Fellowship and for it, we are recruiting a slightly different profile. Data Experts are expected to be more senior than fellows, with demonstrable technical and project management skills. By matching these individuals with the selected partner organisations, while providing them support through our network and partners, we expect to create a decisive impact on the use of data within key civil society organisations around the world We will consequently prioritise individuals who:
  • possess relevant experience and expertise in the technical areas our local partners need help with
  • can demonstrate a strong interest in the field of activity of the civil society organisation they will be supporting
Read More about the Data Expert Programme

The areas of focus in 2017

We have partnered with organisations interested in working on the following themes: Data Journalism, Procurement and Extractives Data. These amazing partner organisations will provide Fellows and Experts with guidance, mentorship and expertise in their respective domains.
Programme Theme Location Open slots
Fellowship Extractives Data Sénégal, Côte d’Ivoire Up to 2
Fellowship Procurement Data Wordwide Up to 1
Fellowship Data Journalism Worldwide Up to 2
Fellowship Own focus Worldwide Up to 3
Data Expert Extractives Data Uganda, Tanzania 2
9 months to make an impact The two programmes will run from April to December 2017, and entail up to 10 days a month of time. While Fellows will be focused on ironing their skills as data trainers and build a community around them, Experts will focus on supporting and training a civil society organisation or newsroom with a specific project. Fellows will receive a monthly stipend of $1,000 USD a month to cover for their work. Experts, who will have a planning with more variations, will receive a total stipend of $10,500 USD over the course of the programme. In May, both Experts and Fellows will come together during an in-person Summer Camp (location to be decided) to meet their peers, build and share their skills, and learn about the School of Data way of training people on data skills. What are you waiting for? Read more about School of Data’s Fellowship or Apply now Read more about School of Data’s Expert Programme or Apply now Key Information: Fellowship
  • Available positions: up to 10 fellows. Learn more.
  • Application deadline: April 2nd, 2017, midnight GMT+0
  • Duration: From April 15th, 2017 to December 31st, 2017
  • Level of activity: 10 days per month
  • Stipend: $1000 USD per month
Key Information: Data Expert Programme
* Available positions: 2 Experts, in Uganda and Tanzania. Learn more.
* Application deadline: April 2nd, 2017, midnight GMT+0
* Duration: From April 15th, 2017 to December 31st, 2017
* Level of activity: up to 10 days per month.
* Stipend: $10,500 USD in total Key links About diversity and inclusivity School of Data is committed to being inclusive in its recruitment practices. Inclusiveness means excluding no one because of race, age, religion, cultural appearance, sexual orientation, ethnicity or gender. We proactively seek to recruit individuals who differ from one another in these characteristics, in the belief that diversity enriches all that we do. Finally, we are grateful for the support of our partners and funders for making these programmes funded. The School of Data Programme is funded through grants from the following institutions: Internews/USAID, Open Data For Development (World Bank & IDRC), the Hewlett Foundation & the Open Society Foundations, the Natural Resources Governance Institute and Publish What You Pay. Flattr this!