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Setting up a way forward for real-time data in Nepal

- September 2, 2019 in nepal, OK Nepal

Over the past few years, Nepal has seen the growth in data demand and use because of the increased number of CSOs working actively promote the importance of open data. Today, the quickness with which information is delivered is crucial to citizens, government and enterprises. We at Open Knowledge Nepal believes that the data should provide insights into day to day operations, lives and help citizens make decisions about those operations, and then act accordingly. The value of real-time (which is presented as it is acquired and difficult to handle) and fresh (which is consistently accessible, up-to-date and immediately usable) data is even higher,  like gold value, stock market, currency exchange rate, weather, temperature, water flow, rainfall etc. It provides the flexibility to analyze it in real-time and trace the source to generate valuable insights. So, to make the access and use of real-time data easier, we recently launched the beta version of the real-time data dashboard at Open Data Nepal portal. The main objective of the dashboard is to open up and provide scattered data from a central hub. The intended project is just an initiative for pushing and archiving the real-time data generated by various sources of Nepal into Open Data Portal. The current version of the real-time data dashboard consists of the fresh and real-time data archive of three major government sources (www.pollution.gov.np | www.hydrology.gov.np | www.kalimatimarket.gov.np). The dashboard aims to encourage respective government bodies to adopt a new and innovative way of data dissemination.

Group photo from the launch event

The dashboard included different features and user can go through a video tour to learn how to navigate the dashboard. The enthusiastic developers who are interested in learning how dashboard function can go through the developer blog, where they can find how we developed real-time data scraper to retrieve data from a government website and publish it on our dashboard. Open Knowledge Nepal also organized an Open Data Hackathon on 26th July 2019, where we host around 35 data geeks and environment experts to explore the real-time air pollution and hydrology data which are available at the dashboard to find key insights. All the work done by the team at Open Data Hackathon has been open-sourced and can be accessed from the OKN GitHub repository.

Group photo from the Open Data Hackathon

To understand the real-time data ecosystem within government and its demand, we also hosted the representative of DFID Nepal, DFID UK and The Asia Foundation for the the Kalimati Fruits and Vegetables Market Development Board field visit. The field visit aimed to understand the data ecosystem of the market. The real-time dashboard also consist the price data of daily fruits and vegetables from the Kalimati Market Board.

Group photo from the field visit program

Please feel free to explore our Air QualityRiver Watch & Kalimati Price Dashboard and write us at data@oknp.org for more information and feedback.

Summer update of Open Knowledge Nepal

- July 1, 2019 in nepal, network updates, OK Nepal

The last couple of months have been quite busy for the team of Open Knowledge Nepal with lots of projects, workshops and events. In this blog, we try to summarize all the activities which were conducted in the past couple of months as part of our regular updates.

Empowering women

With the aim of strengthening and empowering women towards the Open Data Movement, In April we announced the 10 awesome Open Data Women Fellows. The women fellows have completed their training and one month’s placement at the respective host organization. They did lots of awesome works during the time of placement, and to inspire other women leaders we have started to publish the blog post covering their journey and experience. You can read the blog post written by the fellow here.

Marking the presences

Our CEO, Nikesh Balami represented Open Knowledge Nepal at two different international events. He joined FOSSASIA Summit 2019, Singapore and 2019 Creative Commons Global Summit, Portugal to give a presentation on “Grassroot awareness and Impact of Civic Tech in Nepal“, where he highlighted how Open Knowledge Nepal conceptualizes the open data awareness campaign to reach diverse people all around Nepal. He also briefed shared about how the different kinds of civic tech project of Open Knowledge Nepal, like Open Data Nepal, Local Boundaries, AskNepal and more, have impacted the lives of many.

Enhancing capacity

On the occasion of the International Open Data Day 2019, we organized a day-long ‘Open Data Expedition in Dang. The expedition has helped to empower the local youths of the Dang district, and many participants shared that this event was the first of its kind and these types of events are barely organized in their city. OKN was supported by the Data for Development in Nepal small grants program to mark Open Data Day 2019. As part of the follow up training of Open Data workshop organized by Data for Development program and facilitated by the representative of Open Data Institute (ODI), Shubham Ghimire and Sagar Ghimire of Open Knowledge Nepal hosted two half-day open data training program at Pokhara and Kathmandu to implement and share their learning with a broader audience. 

Exploring collaboration

To support the growing momentum of data, we recently committed to voluntarily contribute to the Nepal Data Literacy portal, developed by World Bank Nepal with support from DFID, to increase production and usage of data and statistics in Nepal. The portal consists of all the course materials, student workbooks and instruction notes used during the Nepal Data Literacy Program, which is designed to catalyze stronger data-driven decision-making by government and non-government actors (mass media, civil society, and academia) through targeted Data Literacy Workshop to help Nepal achieve its development goals.    To know more about Open Knowledge Nepal and its activities, please visit our website.

Nepal’s First Women In Data Conference

- March 5, 2019 in event, nepal, OK Nepal

This blog was jointly written by Dikpal Khatri Chhetry and Dipti Gautam of Open Knowledge Nepal and has been reposted from the Open Knowledge Nepal blog On 24th February 2019 Nepal’s first Women in Data Conference was organized with the theme डाटा शक्ति नारी शक्ति – ‘where two superpowers meet’. It brought together inspiring female speakers, influential panelists, data professionals, and aspiring young women in a one-day event to celebrate women working in data. We (Open Knowledge Nepal) were one of the partners of the event. The program started with the registration and data mart happening in the calm ambience of Hotel Himalaya. We were amazed by the organizing team lineup as the participants comprised of more than 250 females. From registration to photography, everyone was female. It was all well organized and the conference hall quickly filled as the clock turned nine. The emcee, Nikki Sharma, Program Officer (Consultant), Data for Development in Nepal Program formally started the program. Ms. Sharma highlighted the importance of data and the meaningful involvement of women in it. Ms. Meghan Nalbo, Country Representative, The Asia Foundation gave a keynote speech on “Why Data is the Future and Women should be part of it”. She highlighted the endless possibilities of women coming to the field of pre-dominantly men. She cited how the same data as viewed by a male, can be differently viewed by a female, opening up different avenues. The need to start the conversation about women in data is of paramount importance and this conference has certainly helped in doing so. After the keynote session, one of the partners of the program, Gauthali Entertainment, presented the video “Move Over: Women Leaders in Data”. The video was produced by all female crew members. It showcased the stories of some of the women leaders in data from Nepal. Then the panel discussion on “How women are breaking through the glass ceiling by breaking down the numbers” was held. The panelists were Dr. Pranita Upadhyay (Programme Leader, MSc IT and Research Coordinator, The British College), Ms. Jyoti U. Devkota, PhD (Professor of Statistics, School of Science, Kathmandu University), Dr. Sambriddhi Kharel (Sociologist), Dr. Prativa Pandey (Founder and CEO, Catalyst Technology Pvt. Ltd.) and Ms Avasna Pandey (Editorial Page Editor, The Kathmandu Post), which was moderated by Ms Shuvechha Ghimire (Research Manager, Interdisciplinary Analysts). They shared their journey of being a professional in their respective fields and cited the conscious and unconscious stereotypical behaviors existing in the workplace. They also emphasized when a person put forward their ideas, they should be taken as an idea presented by a professional rather than a woman giving a suggestion. The structural biases have to be confronted and dealt with it creatively. One of the added elements of the event was that the speakers were given yellow roses, since it signifies a message of appreciation. A sense of excitement was already in the air, as the session moved forward, the conference hall was filled with the faces of enthusiasts among which almost 95% were female. This female turnout in the event is something that has rarely happened in Nepal. Shortly, the panel discussion on “Counting women in by making them visible in statistics in Nepal” followed. It was moderated by Ms. Srijana Nepal (Program Officer, The Asia Foundation). The panelists were Ms. Rosy Shakya (Statistics Expert), Ms. Bhumika Shrestha (Transgender Activist), Dr. Meena Acharya (Gender Expert and Economist) and Mr. Bivek Joshi (Monitoring, Evaluation, and Strategic Partnership Officer, UN Women Nepal). They highlighted the need to institutionalize deeper interaction between the users and producers of gender data. There are lots of gaps in the production, use and enabling policy environment for gender data, thus the need to develop its fundamentals from grassroots levels were being emphasized. Then the interactive presentation on ‘Factfulness and Gender Statistics’ was presented by Ms. Fernanda Drumond, Head of  Operations, Gapminder Foundation. It opened up the concept of how data can be used and interpreted to separate the ground reality and assumptions. Then, the panel discussion on “When technology, women and data meet” was carried out. The panelists were Ms. Sushma Giri (WLiT), Ms. Binita Shrestha (Women in STEM), Ms. Samita Kapali (Green Growth Group Pvt. Ltd.) and Ms. Sweta Karna (Deerwalk). It was moderated by Ms. Sumana Shrestha. The discussion focused on how social changes have been created through technology. The field of STEM is much more than coding. Policymaking and taking decisions can be better informed through the use of data. Finally, the announcement of the Open Data Fellowship – Women Edition, by Open Knowledge Nepal (OKN) was made. The representatives from OKN, Mr. Nikesh Balami (CEO) and Ms. Dipti Gautam (Fellowship Lead), described the phases of fellowship and its importance. You can find the details of the fellowship from here: http://fellowship.oknp.org After the lunch break, the data sessions followed, it included a brief introduction on the different types of workshops that will follow this conference. There were eight such sessions in total, where two sessions took place simultaneously. These included:
  • A Soft Skills/Professional Development Session by Ms. Sweta Karna Director of Data Operations, Deerwalk.
  • Lightning Talks by Women from the Open Data Community in Nepal.
  • Comfortable with Numbers – Statistics by Ms. Rosy Shakya, Statistics Expert.
  • How to Prepare Your Paper Using Social Research Methodology by Ms. Shuvechha Ghimire, Interdisciplinary Analysts.
  • Data Analysis with SPSS (using PSPP) by Ms. Alina Chhantel, The Open Institute.
  • The Basics on How to Use Data Analysis with Excel by Ms. Sunita Shakya, Data for Development in Nepal Program.
  • Mapping Gender Statistics Using Open Street Maps by Ms. Sweta Khanal, NAXA.
  • Visualizing Gender Data & Statistics by Ms. Anusha Thapa, Ms. Sajani Lama, and Ms. Aarya Bhandari, Bikas Udhyami.
The conference will be followed up by two different phases of training. This type of training will help in preparing the right human resource for working in data. Key Learnings and Highlights Key Learnings:
  • Data is not always about numbers. It is about the area or subject of interest that it represents.
  • Something as simple as keeping a record can make people feel visible, especially in the world where women are shadowed in almost every aspect.
  • What we think is mostly clouded by our perception on a topic, but the reality can be surprising at times.
  • The percentage of overall data sometimes clouds our judgment, but when we look at the unit values of them, it can be seen to be influenced by certain outliers. Paying close attention to data is necessary.
  • Data can be very useful for the common good. Just a simple mark in the map about the availability of public toilets in the area can save us hours of tension. Same goes for petrol stations, clinics, and so on.
Highlights:
  • A multidimensional approach to data, inclusive of information of any kind and not restricted to numbers.
  • Interactive panel discussions with experts from various sectors discussing their life experiences, data and importance of gender statistics and so on.
  • An understanding of the problems and hindrances women working with data face in a workspace.
  • A reminder that though news portrays a very discouraging scenario of women, statistics in most cases are in favor of them making progress.
  • An insight into the fact that oftentimes, data isn’t accessible at all or if accessible, not available freshly.
  • An insight into the contribution women has been making in the data sector be it through research companies and institutions or budding startups.
  • A brief outlook on different data related applications like OpenStreetMap and SPSS that were also featured in a detailed training session that followed the conference.
  • Lectures from professionals on research essentials, writing CVs, and various related skills.
  • Frequent tea breaks and a closing program to facilitate fruitful interactions with experts and fellow participants.
Women in Data Conference and Trainings is organized by Data for Development in Nepal Program with support from various partners.  

Application for Nepali Open Data Fellowship – Women Edition now open!

- February 25, 2019 in fellowship program, nepal, OK Nepal

This blog has been reposted from the Open Knowledge Nepal blog Open Knowledge Nepal is very excited to announce that the ‘Open Data Fellowship – Women Edition‘ application is now open for all the women enthusiasts out there. The main motive behind the fellowship is to increase the number of women leaders in the field of open data in Nepal and use the existing expertise of different organizations to provide a good exposure to women and equip them with valuable work experience, confidence and skills that will help them to better understand the data ecosystem and potential opportunities. The fellowships offer the opportunity to connect with business groups, governments and individuals in the data community. During the time of fellowship, the fellow will visit various host organizations for a half day in-house training which will be followed by the one-month placement in a respective organization. For the first edition, Open Knowledge Nepal will be selecting 10 women fellows. The fellowship program is likely to include orientation, series of training and workshops to sharpen the data and communication skills before the placement. At host organization, fellow can work on various kinds of projects like: opening up datasets, case studies, research, data-driven blog posts, developing open source software libraries etc. But we encourage to work on projects that can match with the respective organization’s objectives. The fellowship is an initiative of Open Knowledge Nepal, supported by Women LEAD Nepal and Women Leaders in Technology (WLiT) as a Knowledge Partner. List of the organization who will be hosting fellows are: Accountability LabBikash UdyamiClean Up NepalFoundation For Development ManagementFreedom ForumInstitute for Integrated Development StudiesKathmandu Living LabsNAXAYoungInnovations and YUWA. Any woman who is a current resident of Nepal is eligible to apply. The application will be open until 15th March 2019, 12 PM NPT. For more information and application form please visit: https://fellowship.oknp.org.  

Shaping the future of Open Knowledge in Nepal

- January 8, 2019 in nepal, network, OK Nepal, Open Knowledge Network

This blog has been reposted from the  Open Knowledge Nepal blog as part of our blog series of Open Knowledge Network updates. Wrapping up 2018, we’d like to take this opportunity to thanks everyone who supported us over the past year. In this cold winter season, we tried to reflect our key works of 2018 over the cup of coffee. 2018 has been the year of collaboration and growth.  As our commitment in last year’s blog, we still will remain focus and dedicate all our energy/resources to improve the state of Open Data in South Asia.   Key highlights of 2018 are:
  1. A celebration of International Open Data Day 2018 in Nepal: We collaborated with Open Nepal community of practice to organize Open Data Day 2018, which is one of the biggest celebrations of open data. Unlike previous years we celebrated this year open data day slight differently. This year the way we celebrated open data was different, in-fact we implemented the core concept of OPEN in real life by hosting it in a publicly accessible place. We also organize the side event “Data-a-thon for Journalist” in collaboration with Central for Data Journalism Nepal to train journalists.
  2. Launching Open Data Nepal: We invested much of our technical and human resource to build and launch a crowdsourced open data portal to make Nepal’s data accessible online. Till now more than 600+ datasets have been harvested from various governmental source and a huge volunteer team of data wranglers is working actively to increase the number of datasets.
  3. Joining Open Nepal community of practice and knowledge hub: With the aim of demonstrating our dedication and enthusiasm towards open data, we joined Open Nepal community of practices and knowledge hub. Currently, 10 different organization are the part of Open Nepal community.
  4. Hack for Nepal Initiative: In collaboration with Code for Nepal, we launched Hack for Nepal initiative and hosted AngelHack Hackathon for the first time in Nepal. This was our first experience of hosting an overnight hackathon, where more than 70 participants compete to build ‘Seamless Technology for Humanitarian Response’.
  5. Improving AskNepal platform: To make the data and information request easier, we joined hands with Code for Nepal to improve the AskNepal platform, which can be used by everyone to request information with different bodies of Nepal Government. AskNepal is run and maintained by Open Knowledge Nepal and Code for Nepal, in partnership with mySociety.
  6. Travelling 3 provinces to train about open data: In collaboration with YUWA, we travelled 6 districts of Nepal to train 126 youths of various background. The aim of project was to create a network of young data leaders who will lead and support the development of their communities through the use of open data as evidence for youth-led and data-driven development.
  7. Participation at UN World Data Forum 2018: With the help of scholarship provided by the Data for Development (D4D) Program in Nepal, we were able to mark our presence at UN World Data Forum 2018, which gave us an opportunity for learning and networking.
  8. Participation in Open Data Training of Trainers Course by The Open Data Institute, UK: The five days rigorous training took place in Nepal from 26th to 30th November 2018 and thanks for the D4D team for bringing the Open Data Institute to Nepal. Throughout this training, we learned to develop an understanding of open data principles and learned to create, deliver and evaluate high-quality interactive training.
Thank you again for your continuous support for our work. Except few events and workshops, our focus was entirely on building a civic-tech platform and ecosystem to encourage the use of open data and In 2019, we look forward to harnessing our capacity to support this moment fully. Our plans for 2019:
  1. Promoting the value of diverse data: Adding up on our effort of opening up government data through our Open Data Nepal portal, we look forward to promote the diverse field of data in Nepal. Our focus will be around WikiData, Citizen Generated Data, Inclusive and Disable Data, Data for SDG and Personal Data (MyData).
  2. Increasing/Improving the women participation: We plan to work continuously to improve the women participants in open data and civic-tech in Nepal. For this, we definitely look forward to join hands with others civil societies organization and institutions.
  3. Opening up more datasets: We will be harvesting more datasets to solve the problem of data scarcity and promote the culture of data-driven decision making in Nepal.
  4. Collaboration with Government and International Organization: Our focus will be on working with government directly through policy and technology lobbying. We will be pushing the government to conduct open data activities and join hands with an international organization for support.
Acknowledgment We would especially like to thank Data for Development (D4D) Program in Nepal for financially supporting most of the key activities of 2018, we are also grateful to the Code for Nepal, Central for Data Journalism Nepal, YUWA and Open Nepal Community, whom we partnered for the successful implementation of activities and projects. To be updated about our activities, please follow us at different medias:

Youth Data Champions: Empowerment, Leadership and Data

- October 2, 2018 in nepal, OK Nepal, Open Data, training

This post was jointly written by Shubham Ghimire, Chief Operating Officer and Nikesh Balami, Chief Executive Officer of Open Knowledge Nepal as a part of the Youth Empowerment, Youth Leadership and Data Workshop. It has been reposted from the Open Knowledge Nepal blog. This summer,  the PAHICHAN – Youth Empowerment, Youth Leadership and Data workshop was conducted in 6 districts of 3 different provinces of Nepal, where more than 126  energetic youths were trained and sensitized on the concept of open data. The aim was to create a network of young data leaders who will lead and support the development of their communities through the use of open data as evidence for youth-led and data-driven development. The three days in-house workshop were conducted in Itahari, Bhojpur, Butwal, Nepalgunj, Dhangadhi and Dadeldhura from 12th July to 14th August 2018. During the 3 days workshop, the participants were informed about concepts of youth rights, leadership skills, and were oriented about the use of open data, visualization and mapping as evidence to tackle issues in their community. The session about youth empowerment and leadership was facilitated by the YUWA team and the hands-on workshop on data, visualization and mapping were facilitated by Open Knowledge Nepal, Nepali in Data and NAXA. The team was accompanied by the representative of the Data for Development Program in Nepal and local partners. The following local partners helped in coordination in organizing a residential workshop successfully:
Districts Local Partner
Itahari Youth Development Centre Itahari
Bhojpur HEEHURLDE-Nepal
Butwal Rotaract Club of Butwal
Nepalgunj Cheers Creative Nepal – CCN and District Youth Club Network
Dhangadi Far West Multipurpose Center
Dadeldhura Social Unity Club

Open Knowledge Nepal’s Session at PAHICHAN – Youth Empowerment, Youth Leadership and Data Workshop

On the first day of the workshop, Open Knowledge Nepal delivered a session on ‘Open Data in Nepal’, where the history, current situation, definition, importance, working methodology and different open data initiatives from government, CSOs and private sectors were included. On the second day after the orientation about data-driven brainstorming, participants were divided into groups and each group was asked to come up with a problem in their community. Then the groups started working on their identified issues where they explored existing data of the problems, hidden opportunities and probable solutions using data, the challenges, impact, and identification of stakeholders to solve the raised issue. On the final day, the participants further worked in two groups to plan evidence-based campaigns on the issues they have worked on in the second day. Most of the groups planned to do awareness campaigns by making use of data, infographics, and maps. Each group was provided with seed money of NPR 7500  to implement their action plan within one month. We realized the data-driven brainstorming session was very fruitful for the young participants and definitely helped them in understanding local community issues through the use of open data. Now, these participants can easily plan and conduct small impactful projects,  evidence-based action plans, and campaigns with limited resources. A list of issues which were selected for the brainstorming session:
Districts Community Issues
Itahari Illiteracy, Unemployment, Substance Abuse, Caste Discrimination, Pollution
Bhojpur Quality Education, Migration, Physical Infrastructure, Gender Discrimination, Unemployment
Butwal Substance Abuse, Quality Education
Nepalgunj Substance Abuse, Cleanness
Dhangadi Youth Unemployment, Substance Abuse
Dadeldhura Good Governance, Substance Abuse (Alcohol Consumption)

Project Impact

  • Human Resources: The increase in the data demanding human resources, who can now understand and use the available data to tackle the local issues of their community.
  • Data Champions: All the 126 youth data champions are now capable of effectively planning and running evidence-based action plans and campaigns in their community.
  • Community Projects: The campaigns/projects led by each team on the community issues are making a difference in the community by awareness and advocacy through the use of infographics, mapping, and open data.
  • Future: We can mobilize these youth data champions for awareness and advocacy campaigns at the local level.

Major Takeaway

  • Digital Divide: In urban areas like Itahari, Butwal, and Nepalgunj most of the participants have the basic understanding of the overall topics but participants from the peri-urban region like Bhojpur, Dhangadhi, and Dadeldhura were not familiar about the topics and it was difficult for most of them to understand the subject.
  • Female Participation: One of the positive factors is that the female participation rate is higher than the male. Participants were energetic, enthusiastic and curious throughout the workshop.
  • Access to Internet: Due to the lack of internet facility in peri-urban areas, a lot of things were left unexplored.
  • Continuity: Many participants requested to organize similar kinds of events and hands-on workshop frequently. The workshop has definitely helped in strengthening the demand side of the data.
  • Practical Implementation: Participants learned the importance of evidence-based action plans and data-driven campaigns and development, but more of these kinds of the workshop are needed to teach them about the practical implementation.

Lesson Learned

  • Educational diversity of participants: We realized that most of the participants were from the same background. It would be better if there were participants from different backgrounds.
  • Onsite improvisation: We had to adjust and improvise our presentations and sessions according to the understanding level of the participants.
  • Digital literacy: You need to have a basic knowledge of technology to understand the use and value of data, visualizations, and mapping. But we felt that most of the participants in peri-urban areas lack the basic understanding. So we think it may not have been that much fruitful for them.
  The workshop was organized by YUWA and Data for Development in Nepal in coordination with Nepal in Data, Open Knowledge Nepal and NAXA, funded by UK Department for International Development implemented by The Asia Foundation and Development Initiatives.

Youth Data Champions: Empowerment, Leadership and Data

- October 2, 2018 in nepal, OK Nepal, Open Data, training

This post was jointly written by Shubham Ghimire, Chief Operating Officer and Nikesh Balami, Chief Executive Officer of Open Knowledge Nepal as a part of the Youth Empowerment, Youth Leadership and Data Workshop. It has been reposted from the Open Knowledge Nepal blog. This summer,  the PAHICHAN – Youth Empowerment, Youth Leadership and Data workshop was conducted in 6 districts of 3 different provinces of Nepal, where more than 126  energetic youths were trained and sensitized on the concept of open data. The aim was to create a network of young data leaders who will lead and support the development of their communities through the use of open data as evidence for youth-led and data-driven development. The three days in-house workshop were conducted in Itahari, Bhojpur, Butwal, Nepalgunj, Dhangadhi and Dadeldhura from 12th July to 14th August 2018. During the 3 days workshop, the participants were informed about concepts of youth rights, leadership skills, and were oriented about the use of open data, visualization and mapping as evidence to tackle issues in their community. The session about youth empowerment and leadership was facilitated by the YUWA team and the hands-on workshop on data, visualization and mapping were facilitated by Open Knowledge Nepal, Nepali in Data and NAXA. The team was accompanied by the representative of the Data for Development Program in Nepal and local partners. The following local partners helped in coordination in organizing a residential workshop successfully:
Districts Local Partner
Itahari Youth Development Centre Itahari
Bhojpur HEEHURLDE-Nepal
Butwal Rotaract Club of Butwal
Nepalgunj Cheers Creative Nepal – CCN and District Youth Club Network
Dhangadi Far West Multipurpose Center
Dadeldhura Social Unity Club

Open Knowledge Nepal’s Session at PAHICHAN – Youth Empowerment, Youth Leadership and Data Workshop

On the first day of the workshop, Open Knowledge Nepal delivered a session on ‘Open Data in Nepal’, where the history, current situation, definition, importance, working methodology and different open data initiatives from government, CSOs and private sectors were included. On the second day after the orientation about data-driven brainstorming, participants were divided into groups and each group was asked to come up with a problem in their community. Then the groups started working on their identified issues where they explored existing data of the problems, hidden opportunities and probable solutions using data, the challenges, impact, and identification of stakeholders to solve the raised issue. On the final day, the participants further worked in two groups to plan evidence-based campaigns on the issues they have worked on in the second day. Most of the groups planned to do awareness campaigns by making use of data, infographics, and maps. Each group was provided with seed money of NPR 7500  to implement their action plan within one month. We realized the data-driven brainstorming session was very fruitful for the young participants and definitely helped them in understanding local community issues through the use of open data. Now, these participants can easily plan and conduct small impactful projects,  evidence-based action plans, and campaigns with limited resources. A list of issues which were selected for the brainstorming session:
Districts Community Issues
Itahari Illiteracy, Unemployment, Substance Abuse, Caste Discrimination, Pollution
Bhojpur Quality Education, Migration, Physical Infrastructure, Gender Discrimination, Unemployment
Butwal Substance Abuse, Quality Education
Nepalgunj Substance Abuse, Cleanness
Dhangadi Youth Unemployment, Substance Abuse
Dadeldhura Good Governance, Substance Abuse (Alcohol Consumption)

Project Impact

  • Human Resources: The increase in the data demanding human resources, who can now understand and use the available data to tackle the local issues of their community.
  • Data Champions: All the 126 youth data champions are now capable of effectively planning and running evidence-based action plans and campaigns in their community.
  • Community Projects: The campaigns/projects led by each team on the community issues are making a difference in the community by awareness and advocacy through the use of infographics, mapping, and open data.
  • Future: We can mobilize these youth data champions for awareness and advocacy campaigns at the local level.

Major Takeaway

  • Digital Divide: In urban areas like Itahari, Butwal, and Nepalgunj most of the participants have the basic understanding of the overall topics but participants from the peri-urban region like Bhojpur, Dhangadhi, and Dadeldhura were not familiar about the topics and it was difficult for most of them to understand the subject.
  • Female Participation: One of the positive factors is that the female participation rate is higher than the male. Participants were energetic, enthusiastic and curious throughout the workshop.
  • Access to Internet: Due to the lack of internet facility in peri-urban areas, a lot of things were left unexplored.
  • Continuity: Many participants requested to organize similar kinds of events and hands-on workshop frequently. The workshop has definitely helped in strengthening the demand side of the data.
  • Practical Implementation: Participants learned the importance of evidence-based action plans and data-driven campaigns and development, but more of these kinds of the workshop are needed to teach them about the practical implementation.

Lesson Learned

  • Educational diversity of participants: We realized that most of the participants were from the same background. It would be better if there were participants from different backgrounds.
  • Onsite improvisation: We had to adjust and improvise our presentations and sessions according to the understanding level of the participants.
  • Digital literacy: You need to have a basic knowledge of technology to understand the use and value of data, visualizations, and mapping. But we felt that most of the participants in peri-urban areas lack the basic understanding. So we think it may not have been that much fruitful for them.
  The workshop was organized by YUWA and Data for Development in Nepal in coordination with Nepal in Data, Open Knowledge Nepal and NAXA, funded by UK Department for International Development implemented by The Asia Foundation and Development Initiatives.

2017: A Year to Remember for OK Nepal

- January 11, 2018 in community, Community Stories, data literacy, nepal, OK Nepal, Open Data, Open Data Day

This blog has been cross-posted from the OK Nepal blog as part of our blog series of Open Knowledge Network updates.
Best wishes for 2018 from OK Nepal to all of the Open Knowledge family and friends!! The year 2017 was one of the best years for Open Knowledge Nepal. We started our journey by registering Open Knowledge Nepal as a non-profit organization under the Nepal Government and as we start to reflect 2017, it has been “A Year to Remember”. We were able to achieve many things and we promise to continue our hard work to improve the State of Open Data in South Asia in 2018 also. Some of the key highlights of 2017 are:
  1. Organizing Open Data Day 2017
For the 5th time in a row, the Open Knowledge Nepal team led the effort of organizing International Open Data Day at Pokhara, Nepal. This year it was a collaborative effort of Kathmandu Living Labs and Open Knowledge Nepal. It was also the first official event of Open Knowledge Nepal that was held out of the Kathmandu Valley.  
  1. Launching Election Nepal Portal  
On 13th April 2017 (31st Chaitra 2073), a day before Nepalese New Year 2074, we officially released the  Election Nepal Portal in collaboration with Code for Nepal and made it open for contribution. Election Nepal is a crowdsourced citizen engagement portal that includes the Local Elections data. The portal will have three major focus areas; visualizations, datasets, and twitter feeds.
  1. Contributing to Global Open Data Index  
On May 2nd, 2017 Open Knowledge International launched the 4th edition of Global Open Data Index (GODI), a global assessment of open government data publication. Nepal has been part of this global assessment continuously for four years with lots of ups and downs. We have been leading it since the very beginning. With 20% of openness, Nepal was ranked 69 in 2016 Global Open Data Index. Also, this year we helped Open Knowledge International by coordinating for South Asia region and for the first time, we were able to get contributions from Bhutan and Afghanistan.
  1. Launching Local Boundaries   
To help journalists and researchers visualize the geographical data of Nepal in a map, we build Local Boundaries where we share the shapefile of Nepal federal structure and others. Local Boundaries brings the detailed geodata of administrative units or maps of all administrative boundaries defined by Nepal Government in an open and reusable format, free of cost. The local boundaries are available in two formats (TopoJSON and GeoJSON) and can be easily reused to map local authority data to OpenStreetMap, Google Map, Leaflet or MapBox interactively.
  1. Launching Open Data Handbook Nepali Version  
After the work of a year followed by a series of discussion and consultation, on 7 August 2017 Open Knowledge Nepal launched the first version of Nepali Open Data Handbook – An introductory guidebook used by governments and civil society organizations around the world as an introduction and blueprint for open data projects. The handbook was translated with the collaborative effort by volunteers and contributors.  Now the Nepali Handbook is available at http://handbook.oknp.org
  1. Developing Open Data Curriculum and Open Data Manual  
To organize the open data awareness program in a structured format and to generate resources which can be further use by civil society and institution, Open Knowledge Nepal prepared an Open Data Curriculum and Open Data Manual. It contains basic aspects of open data like an introduction, importance, principles, application areas as well as the technical aspects of open data like extraction, cleaning, analysis, and visualization of data. It works as a reference and a recommended guide for university students, private sectors, and civil society.
  1. Running Open Data Awareness Program
The Open Data Awareness Program was conducted in 11 colleges and 2 youth organization, reaching more than 335+ youths are first of its kind conducted in Nepal. Representatives of Open Knowledge Nepal visited 7 districts of Nepal with the Open Data Curriculum and the Open Data Manual to train youths about the importance and use of open data.
  1. Organizing Open Data Hackathon  
The Open Data Hackathon was organized with the theme “Use data to solve local problems faced by Nepali citizens” at Yalamaya Kendra (Dhokaima Cafe), Patan Dhoka on November 25th, 2017. In this hackathon, we brought students and youths from different backgrounds under the same roof to work collaboratively on different aspects of open data.
  1. Co-organizing Wiki Data-a-thon
On 30th November 2017, we co-organized a Wiki Data-a-thon with Wikimedians of Nepal at Nepal Connection, Thamel on the occasion of Global Legislative Openness Week (GLOW). During the event, we scraped the data of last CA election and pushed those data in WikiData.  
  1. Supporting Asian Regional Meeting  
On 2nd and 3rd December 2017, we supported Open Access Nepal to organize Asian Regional Meeting on Open Access, Open Education and Open Data with the theme “Open in Action: Bridging the Information Divide”. Delegates were from different countries like the USA, China, South Africa, India, Bangladesh, China, Nepal. We managed the Nepali delegates and participants.

2018 Planning

We are looking forward to a prosperous 2018, where we plan to outreach the whole of South Asia countries to improve the state of open data in the region by using focused open data training, research, and projects. For this, we will be collaborating with all possible CSOs working in Asia and will serve as an intermediary for different international organizations who want to promote or increase their activities in Asian countries. This will help the Open Knowledge Network in the long run, and we will also get opportunities to learn from each others’ successes and failures, promote each other’s activities, brainstorm collaborative projects and make the relationship between countries stronger. Besides this, we will continue also our work of data literacy like Open Data Awareness Program to make Nepalese citizens more data demanding and savvy, and launch a couple of new projects to help people to understand the available data. To be updated about our activities, please follow us at different medias:  

Sensitizing Nepal’s digital natives: Open Data Awareness Program announced

- October 30, 2017 in nepal, network updates, OK Nepal, Open Knowledge Network, training

To support Nepal’s growing open data movement and increase its network of data-savvy practitioners, Open Knowledge Nepal has announced the Open Data Awareness Program, which aims to sensitize more than 300+ students and youth from seven districts. The Open Data Awareness Program aims to raise awareness about the concept and usage of open data to Nepal’s digital natives, who are the current youth population and the potential future decision-makers and leaders of Nepal. As part of the program, hands-on training sessions are being organized at different colleges and youth organizations, where participants will be provided with a compiled Open Data Manual to aid their understanding of open data. After the conclusion of the all the workshops at different colleges, a hackathon event will be organized in Kathmandu, bringing together selected participants from colleges and youth organizations where the training sessions were held to work collaboratively on opening up data currently in a closed format. At the hackathon event, the participants will share their experiences of learning and working with open data and discuss ways to engage more young people in the open data movement in Nepal. The awareness program is also an opportunity for increased civic awareness and engagement and participatory governance. The program hopes to make the open data momentum in Nepal stronger, especially among the youth population.  Through the sessions, the understanding and the chances of the youth population joining the open data ecosystem will increase, helping groom Nepal’s future leaders and decision-makers to be data-driven. The ongoing work and data-driven initiatives conducted by different organizations will also reach more people through this program. As a result of the program, a significant number of human resources will become aware regarding the current data revolution in Nepal. More importantly, the program will help improve the chances of more open data startups and initiatives emerging in the near future. Likewise, an increased capacity and awareness of open data in Nepal’s present and future generation will also help to increase the potential for open-data-informed development decisions and accountability of responsible bodies. The objective of the awareness program is to make the youth of Nepal more aware of the benefits of open data, to fill in the gap of data literacy and to better prepare young people for a rapidly changing data scenario. Through the program, the university students and youths will be empowered to:
  • Use open data for research and new projects
  • Conduct data analysis and reporting
  • Use new data tools and programming languages
  • Build innovative solutions to tackle development challenges
Throughout workshops, participants will discuss:
  • What is open data and why it is of importance
  • The background and history of open data
  • Open data sources and stories
  • Technical processes to extract, analyze, clean and visualize the available data in Nepal
The awareness program will be based on the Open Data Curriculum and the Open Data Manual, both prepared by Open Knowledge Nepal as a reference and recommended a guide for university students, civil society, and the private sector. This project is supported by the Data for Development Programme, implemented by The Asia Foundation in partnership with Development Initiatives, with funding from the UK Department for International Development to improve the sharing and use of data as evidence for development in Nepal. For more project updates regarding workshops, hackathon and resources, please visit the project webpage: odap.oknp.org

Open Access and Open Data gaining momentum in Nepal

- March 13, 2017 in Events, nepal, ODD17, Open Access, Open Data, Open Map Data, Open Research, Open Science, opendataday

For the 5th time in a row, Open Knowledge Nepal team led the effort of organizing International Open Data Day in Nepal. This year it was a collaborative effort of Kathmandu Living Labs and Open Knowledge Nepal. It was also the first official out of Kathmandu Valley event of Open Knowledge Nepal. Organizations like Code for Nepal, Gandaki College of Engineering and Science and Open Access Nepal were the partners for the event. In Nepal, the event aims to served as a platform for bringing together open knowledge enthusiasts from different backgrounds, and support a series of collaborative events for enhancing knowledge and awareness about free and open source software, open data, open content, and various open knowledge technologies. There were 4 different major activities of the event: Presentation Session, Open Street Mapathon, Open Research Data Hackathon and Treasure Hunt.

The check in started around 10:30 AM (NPT), with the participants, slowly joining the venue and with some informal discussion having around and was formally started by Mr. Ashok Raj Parajuli, Vice-Principal of Gandaki College of Engineering and Science at 11:20 AM (NPT) by giving brief introduction of Open Data and why it is important for the country like Nepal. After him, Nikesh Balami from Open Knowledge Nepal gave an event orientation. He shared how Open Data Day was started and history of Open Data Day celebration at Nepal. After having a brief orientation about major activities, the presentation session was started.

Mr. Ashok Raj Parajuli starting the event

Gaurav Thapa from Kathmandu Living Labs was the first presenter of the event. He gave the presentation about Open Map Data and the concept of 2C (Secondary City) Pokhara. He also demonstrated the work done by Kathmandu Living Labs in Pokhara with the help of other organizations and asked participants to join them for contribution and collaboration. He also shares about the app “Prepare Pokhara”, an app which uses the data of OpenStreetMap with different kinds of filtering techniques, by using that app user can easily filter and navigate all kinds of important places and destination of Pokhara in Map.

Gaurav Thapa from Kathmandu Living Labs presenting about Open Map Data

After the presentation of Gaurav Thapa, Kshitiz Khanal representing Open Knowledge Nepal participated in presentation session, where he presented about Open Access, Open Science, and Open Research. He started from the basic introduction of OPEN and highlighted the condition of Open Access in Nepal. He also demonstrated, how Nepal government and others different bodies of Nepal government are creating Open Access barriers for users. He shared about Open Science Taxonomy and talks a little about the Open Science and Research practices in Nepal. He motivated the participants to read research article frequently so that we can make the best use of publicly funded research. His presentation can be accessed from here.

Kshitiz Khanal from Open Knowledge Nepal presenting about OA, OS and OR

There was a small break after the completion of Presentation Session and the rooms for Open Research Data Hackathon and Mapathon was divided after that break. Participants interested in joining Hackathon moved towards the Lab and those who were interested in Research Data Hackathon stayed in the same room.

Open Research Data Hackathon

Open Research Data Hackathon

Open Research Data Hackathon was facilitated by the team of Open Knowledge Nepal. Nikesh Balami from OKN started the hackathon by giving a short presentation about Data and demonstrating different kinds of tools they can use during Hackathon. After an orientation, the group was divided. There were 4 groups, who worked and brainstorm different kinds of ideas for the entire day. A group pitched a project twice, in the first pitch, they share the brainstormed idea and in the second pitch, they share about how they are doing that project, possible partners, challenges, and opportunity. The proposed idea of all 4 team was entirely different from each other, some work in Election Data and some work in using Machine learning to extract research data from users search queries. Some team worked in the use of data disaster prediction and some in Blood data.

It will be interesting to see the progress of their projects in coming days.

Mapathon

Mapathon

Mapathon was facilitated by the team of Kathmandu Living Labs. In Mapathon participants used satellite image to map Bardiya district of Nepal at OpenStreetMap, where participants got an opportunity to play with Open Map Data and OpenStreetMap. The team of KLL also led Treasure Hunt in-between to make Mapathon interesting and interactive, where participants went to the fields in the search of treasures which was hidden at different places by the KLL team. Participants used OpenStreetMap for this and enjoyed the activities so much. In fact, Mapathon was interactive where participant got hands-on training on how to contribute at OSM, did some contribution and also tried using it in their real life.

 

The whole event was closed at 04:30 PM by thanking participants and supporters. The promise of organizing this kind of International events outside of the main valley of Nepal was made by the representation of Open Knowledge Nepal and Kathmandu Living Labs. This year International Open Data Day 2017 was organized at four different places of Nepal. Two inside Kathmandu, one by YoungInnovation Pvt. Ltd. and one by Accountability Lab. In Pokhara, it was organized by Open Knowledge Nepal and Kathmandu Living Labs. Kathmandu University Open Source Community (KUOSC) also organized ODD first time in Kavre. This clearly shows that the momentum of Open Data is increasing in Nepal, which we (Civil Society Organization) can take it as a plus point.

Group photo and selfie ?

Event Page: https://oddnepal.github.io

More photos from our Facebook page here.