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2017: A Year to Remember for OK Nepal

Nikesh Balami - 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

Nikesh Balami - 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

Nikesh Balami - 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.

QA of Open Data Handbook Nepali Version

Nikesh Balami - August 26, 2016 in Data Handbook, Data Nepal, Fundraising, nepal, Open Data, project

Handbook Introduction The Open Data Handbook (first issued in 2010 and regularly updated) is a guide to open data, specifically open government data. It was first issued in 2010 by Open Knowledge International and has been regularly updated since. The handbook has been used by governments and civil society organizations around the world as an introduction and blue-print for open data projects. The Nepali version of this handbook (which is currently seeking funders) will include content from Global Open Data Handbook, including Licensing terms from Open Definition and Open Data Policy guidelines / principles terms from Sunlight Foundation guidelines.   Need of the handbook in Nepal Open data is steadily gaining momentum in Nepal, led by Civil Society and a handful of government agencies. But progress has been slow. One of the reasons for this slow uptake is the confusion because many people do not know about the meaning and benefits of Open data due to the lack of proper guidance and resources.  In recent years, we have witnessed considerable enthusiasm over the opportunities offered by open data. Across many sectors, it is widely believed that we are entering a new era of information openness and transparency. This evolution has the potential to spur economic innovation, social transformation, and fresh forms of political and government accountability. Yet, despite the evident potential of open data and the growing amounts of information being released by governments and corporations, little is actually known about its use and impact in Nepal. The condition of knowledge around open data in Nepal is inadequate because Nepal lacks resources in its native language concerning ideas around open data. A Nepali Version Handbook will work as a perfect resource for government and civil society organizations (CSOs) to expand their understandings of open data and, ultimately, reap its benefits. We are translating and developing this Open Data Handbook in Nepali with the belief that it will help Government policymakers, leaders, and citizens understand open data in their native language. It will also be a useful resource for CSOs to use for their own open data awareness programs, as well as data journalists who rely on data openness to report on local stories.   How could it benefit the Government of Nepal? Nepal’s Government has slowly begun to understand the value of open data and citizen engagement. Praise for this awareness raising can be attributed to the national and international civil society for running a continuously vibrant open data movement in Nepal. We can see how certain government agencies have set an example by supporting open data, such as the Election Commission Nepal, Office of Company Registrar Nepal, Ministry of Finance’s Aid Management Platform, and more. However, our recent crowdsourced research in 10 different local cities of Nepal has shown that Nepal still has room to improve its policy on open data, especially at the local level. For open data initiatives and programs to be successful, they needs to start focusing on local governments rather than the central government. For local governments to adopt Open Data, they need to be clear about the whys, hows, and whats of opening up their data. They need to understand why making data open is not only a means to make them more accountable (or worse, alarmed), but it will also help them become more efficient and effective in their duties. This document will help individuals understand that opening data is only the beginning of participatory governance, and it will demonstrate the importance of well defined and easy-to-adopt mechanisms. To create a successful Open Data mechanism, local officials will need resource in their native tongue as many local peoples are unable to fully comprehend English. An Open Data guide in Nepali will also help the central government to implement Open Data related policy at the local levels.   How could it benefit local journalists? As Journalists in Nepal have been the direct beneficiaries of the Right to Information Act, a legal transparency and accountability mechanism, they are beginning to understand the additional benefits that Open Data can have on their work. Interest in data journalism is increasing in Nepal and we can see lots of examples led by a number of teams, like Datajourno Nepal, FACTS Nepal, and Graph Nepal, who are using open data and visualizations for more in-depth storytelling. Print and online newspapers have also begun to use more open data for evidence-based reporting. Still, open data is a new term for most Nepali Journalists. This is mainly true because open data is interlinked with technology and lacks learning resources in the Nepali Language. Through the Open Data Handbook in Nepali, we aim to minimize this problem by providing the answer to their questions regarding open data  in their native language. Through this handbook, we hope:
  • That journalists can learn the whats and hows of Open Data in Nepali.
  • That they can find new ways in which to innovate in the field of journalism.
  • That fact based reporting will increase.
  • Journalists will use it as a guidebook to teach others about Open Data and advocate for open data within local communities.
  Dissemination of the publication? In the first phase, we will be targeting Government Organizations, Government and Private Libraries and Educational Institutes. As one of the main supporters of the Handbook is the National Information Commission, they will be helping us to disseminate book through their networks.   What kind of impacts will the Handbook have? We envision our impact to be mainly around the four differents themes of open data: improving government, empowering citizens, creating opportunity, and solving public problems. To achieve impact within these different themes, solely having a good supply of data is not enough. We also need to ensure that the demand side is strong by increasing innovation, engagement, and reusability of published data. However, in Nepal, many people and organizations are reluctant to carry out the fully possibility of open data because they have a limited knowledge around the topic and  the concept as a whole. So, this handbook will make it easier for government officials and the citizens of Nepal to learn more about open data in their native language. In doing so, this project will help create a balanced environment between the supply and demand side of data, which in the long run will help promote and institutionalize transparency, accountability and citizen engagement in Nepal. Find out more or contribute to the Open Data Handbook in Nepali here.

QA of Open Data Handbook Nepali Version

Nikesh Balami - August 26, 2016 in Data Handbook, Data Nepal, Fundraising, nepal, Open Data, project

Handbook Introduction The Open Data Handbook (first issued in 2010 and regularly updated) is a guide to open data, specifically open government data. It was first issued in 2010 by Open Knowledge International and has been regularly updated since. The handbook has been used by governments and civil society organizations around the world as an introduction and blue-print for open data projects. The Nepali version of this handbook (which is currently seeking funders) will include content from Global Open Data Handbook, including Licensing terms from Open Definition and Open Data Policy guidelines / principles terms from Sunlight Foundation guidelines.   Need of the handbook in Nepal Open data is steadily gaining momentum in Nepal, led by Civil Society and a handful of government agencies. But progress has been slow. One of the reasons for this slow uptake is the confusion because many people do not know about the meaning and benefits of Open data due to the lack of proper guidance and resources.  In recent years, we have witnessed considerable enthusiasm over the opportunities offered by open data. Across many sectors, it is widely believed that we are entering a new era of information openness and transparency. This evolution has the potential to spur economic innovation, social transformation, and fresh forms of political and government accountability. Yet, despite the evident potential of open data and the growing amounts of information being released by governments and corporations, little is actually known about its use and impact in Nepal. The condition of knowledge around open data in Nepal is inadequate because Nepal lacks resources in its native language concerning ideas around open data. A Nepali Version Handbook will work as a perfect resource for government and civil society organizations (CSOs) to expand their understandings of open data and, ultimately, reap its benefits. We are translating and developing this Open Data Handbook in Nepali with the belief that it will help Government policymakers, leaders, and citizens understand open data in their native language. It will also be a useful resource for CSOs to use for their own open data awareness programs, as well as data journalists who rely on data openness to report on local stories.   How could it benefit the Government of Nepal? Nepal’s Government has slowly begun to understand the value of open data and citizen engagement. Praise for this awareness raising can be attributed to the national and international civil society for running a continuously vibrant open data movement in Nepal. We can see how certain government agencies have set an example by supporting open data, such as the Election Commission Nepal, Office of Company Registrar Nepal, Ministry of Finance’s Aid Management Platform, and more. However, our recent crowdsourced research in 10 different local cities of Nepal has shown that Nepal still has room to improve its policy on open data, especially at the local level. For open data initiatives and programs to be successful, they needs to start focusing on local governments rather than the central government. For local governments to adopt Open Data, they need to be clear about the whys, hows, and whats of opening up their data. They need to understand why making data open is not only a means to make them more accountable (or worse, alarmed), but it will also help them become more efficient and effective in their duties. This document will help individuals understand that opening data is only the beginning of participatory governance, and it will demonstrate the importance of well defined and easy-to-adopt mechanisms. To create a successful Open Data mechanism, local officials will need resource in their native tongue as many local peoples are unable to fully comprehend English. An Open Data guide in Nepali will also help the central government to implement Open Data related policy at the local levels.   How could it benefit local journalists? As Journalists in Nepal have been the direct beneficiaries of the Right to Information Act, a legal transparency and accountability mechanism, they are beginning to understand the additional benefits that Open Data can have on their work. Interest in data journalism is increasing in Nepal and we can see lots of examples led by a number of teams, like Datajourno Nepal, FACTS Nepal, and Graph Nepal, who are using open data and visualizations for more in-depth storytelling. Print and online newspapers have also begun to use more open data for evidence-based reporting. Still, open data is a new term for most Nepali Journalists. This is mainly true because open data is interlinked with technology and lacks learning resources in the Nepali Language. Through the Open Data Handbook in Nepali, we aim to minimize this problem by providing the answer to their questions regarding open data  in their native language. Through this handbook, we hope:
  • That journalists can learn the whats and hows of Open Data in Nepali.
  • That they can find new ways in which to innovate in the field of journalism.
  • That fact based reporting will increase.
  • Journalists will use it as a guidebook to teach others about Open Data and advocate for open data within local communities.
  Dissemination of the publication? In the first phase, we will be targeting Government Organizations, Government and Private Libraries and Educational Institutes. As one of the main supporters of the Handbook is the National Information Commission, they will be helping us to disseminate book through their networks.   What kind of impacts will the Handbook have? We envision our impact to be mainly around the four differents themes of open data: improving government, empowering citizens, creating opportunity, and solving public problems. To achieve impact within these different themes, solely having a good supply of data is not enough. We also need to ensure that the demand side is strong by increasing innovation, engagement, and reusability of published data. However, in Nepal, many people and organizations are reluctant to carry out the fully possibility of open data because they have a limited knowledge around the topic and  the concept as a whole. So, this handbook will make it easier for government officials and the citizens of Nepal to learn more about open data in their native language. In doing so, this project will help create a balanced environment between the supply and demand side of data, which in the long run will help promote and institutionalize transparency, accountability and citizen engagement in Nepal. Find out more or contribute to the Open Data Handbook in Nepali here.

QA of Open Data Handbook Nepali Version

Nikesh Balami - August 26, 2016 in Data Handbook, Data Nepal, Fundraising, nepal, Open Data, project

Handbook Introduction

The Open Data Handbook (first issued in 2010 and regularly updated) is a guide to open data, specifically open government data. It was first issued in 2010 by Open Knowledge International and has been regularly updated since. The handbook has been used by governments and civil society organizations around the world as an introduction and blue-print for open data projects.

The Nepali version of this handbook (which is currently seeking funders) will include content from Global Open Data Handbook, including Licensing terms from Open Definition and Open Data Policy guidelines / principles terms from Sunlight Foundation guidelines.

 

Need of the handbook in Nepal

Open data is steadily gaining momentum in Nepal, led by Civil Society and a handful of government agencies. But progress has been slow. One of the reasons for this slow uptake is the confusion because many people do not know about the meaning and benefits of Open data due to the lack of proper guidance and resources.  In recent years, we have witnessed considerable enthusiasm over the opportunities offered by open data. Across many sectors, it is widely believed that we are entering a new era of information openness and transparency. This evolution has the potential to spur economic innovation, social transformation, and fresh forms of political and government accountability.

Yet, despite the evident potential of open data and the growing amounts of information being released by governments and corporations, little is actually known about its use and impact in Nepal. The condition of knowledge around open data in Nepal is inadequate because Nepal lacks resources in its native language concerning ideas around open data. A Nepali Version Handbook will work as a perfect resource for government and civil society organizations (CSOs) to expand their understandings of open data and, ultimately, reap its benefits.

We are translating and developing this Open Data Handbook in Nepali with the belief that it will help Government policymakers, leaders, and citizens understand open data in their native language. It will also be a useful resource for CSOs to use for their own open data awareness programs, as well as data journalists who rely on data openness to report on local stories.

 

How could it benefit the Government of Nepal?

Nepal’s Government has slowly begun to understand the value of open data and citizen engagement. Praise for this awareness raising can be attributed to the national and international civil society for running a continuously vibrant open data movement in Nepal. We can see how certain government agencies have set an example by supporting open data, such as the Election Commission Nepal, Office of Company Registrar Nepal, Ministry of Finance’s Aid Management Platform, and more. However, our recent crowdsourced research in 10 different local cities of Nepal has shown that Nepal still has room to improve its policy on open data, especially at the local level. For open data initiatives and programs to be successful, they needs to start focusing on local governments rather than the central government.

For local governments to adopt Open Data, they need to be clear about the whys, hows, and whats of opening up their data. They need to understand why making data open is not only a means to make them more accountable (or worse, alarmed), but it will also help them become more efficient and effective in their duties. This document will help individuals understand that opening data is only the beginning of participatory governance, and it will demonstrate the importance of well defined and easy-to-adopt mechanisms. To create a successful Open Data mechanism, local officials will need resource in their native tongue as many local peoples are unable to fully comprehend English. An Open Data guide in Nepali will also help the central government to implement Open Data related policy at the local levels.

 

How could it benefit local journalists?

As Journalists in Nepal have been the direct beneficiaries of the Right to Information Act, a legal transparency and accountability mechanism, they are beginning to understand the additional benefits that Open Data can have on their work. Interest in data journalism is increasing in Nepal and we can see lots of examples led by a number of teams, like Datajourno Nepal, FACTS Nepal, and Graph Nepal, who are using open data and visualizations for more in-depth storytelling. Print and online newspapers have also begun to use more open data for evidence-based reporting.

Still, open data is a new term for most Nepali Journalists. This is mainly true because open data is interlinked with technology and lacks learning resources in the Nepali Language. Through the Open Data Handbook in Nepali, we aim to minimize this problem by providing the answer to their questions regarding open data  in their native language.

Through this handbook, we hope:

  • That journalists can learn the whats and hows of Open Data in Nepali.
  • That they can find new ways in which to innovate in the field of journalism.
  • That fact based reporting will increase.
  • Journalists will use it as a guidebook to teach others about Open Data and advocate for open data within local communities.

 

Dissemination of the publication?

In the first phase, we will be targeting Government Organizations, Government and Private Libraries and Educational Institutes. As one of the main supporters of the Handbook is the National Information Commission, they will be helping us to disseminate book through their networks.

 

What kind of impacts will the Handbook have?

We envision our impact to be mainly around the four differents themes of open data: improving government, empowering citizens, creating opportunity, and solving public problems. To achieve impact within these different themes, solely having a good supply of data is not enough. We also need to ensure that the demand side is strong by increasing innovation, engagement, and reusability of published data.

However, in Nepal, many people and organizations are reluctant to carry out the fully possibility of open data because they have a limited knowledge around the topic and  the concept as a whole. So, this handbook will make it easier for government officials and the citizens of Nepal to learn more about open data in their native language. In doing so, this project will help create a balanced environment between the supply and demand side of data, which in the long run will help promote and institutionalize transparency, accountability and citizen engagement in Nepal.

Find out more or contribute to the Open Data Handbook in Nepali here.

Who says what: 9th National Information Day Kathmandu

Nikesh Balami - August 24, 2016 in Events, Information Day, nepal, NIC, Right to Information, RTI Nepal

[22nd August 2016] By felicitating six RTI campaigners Raju Dhakal, Sailendra Jha, Biswadeep Tiwari, Modanath Trital, Govinda Dahal and Prabin Kumar Sharma. National Information Commission (NIC) marked the celebration of 9th National Information Day in Kathmandu. Honorable Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal was the chief guest of an event. Every year Information Day is celebrated in  Bhadra 3,  marking the introduction of the Right to Information Act on Bhadra 3, 2064. Speaking at a program  organized by National Information Commission (NIC), Prime Minister Dahal said only right information can lead to sustainable development in this present age of information technology. “There is strong inter-relations between democracy and information, the information is the strong foundation of democracy”, he stressed on the need of effective enforcement of the right to information to guide the society towards the path to stability and prosperity, and also to make the people creative. IMG_20160822_142034 At the program, Information and Communications minister Mr. Surendra Kumar Karki stressed for strengthening postal services after establishing information centers at the local level. The necessity of information dissemination up to the local level and also the use of modern technology. He also added the government should have a exact address of all the people so that the government could contact them when needed. Similarly, Chief commissioner of National Information Commission (NIC), Mr. Krishna Hari Baskota briefly share about the development and activities of the commission. He also highlighted the work done by NIC for the betterment of Open Government Data (OGD) in Nepal. Besides this, he requested the prime minister to remove a few written hurdles from the constitution to enable easy access to information. IMG_20160822_134445 Parliamentary Development Committee Chair member, Mr. Rabindra Adhikari said that the government activities would not be transparent unless the political parties of country  incorporate transparency and accountability in their work.  He urged political parties for transparency in economic and other affairs as it was directly linked with reforms of the democracy. Chief secretary, Dr. Somlal Subedi shared that the government was working to reach the Kathmandu-centered information to the local level and creating the environment for easily enjoying 32 fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution.   The event was officially ended by Information Commissioner / Spokesperson, Mrs. Yashoda Devi Timsina by thanking all guests and participants for joining the celebration and was followed by Hi-Tea break. Prime Minister also launched the new logo of National Information Commission (NIC) in the event.

Who says what: 9th National Information Day Kathmandu

Nikesh Balami - August 24, 2016 in Events, Information Day, nepal, NIC, Right to Information, RTI Nepal

[22nd August 2016] By felicitating six RTI campaigners Raju Dhakal, Sailendra Jha, Biswadeep Tiwari, Modanath Trital, Govinda Dahal and Prabin Kumar Sharma. National Information Commission (NIC) marked the celebration of 9th National Information Day in Kathmandu. Honorable Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal was the chief guest of an event. Every year Information Day is celebrated in  Bhadra 3,  marking the introduction of the Right to Information Act on Bhadra 3, 2064. Speaking at a program  organized by National Information Commission (NIC), Prime Minister Dahal said only right information can lead to sustainable development in this present age of information technology. “There is strong inter-relations between democracy and information, Information is the strong foundation of democracy“, he stressed on the need of effective enforcement of the right to information to guide the society towards the path to stability and prosperity, and also to make the people creative. IMG_20160822_142034 At the program, Information and Communications minister Mr. Surendra Kumar Karki stressed for strengthening postal services after establishing information centers at the local level. The necessity of information dissemination up to the local level and also the use of modern technology. He also added the government should have a exact address of all the people so that the government could contact them when needed. Similarly, Chief commissioner of National Information Commission (NIC), Mr. Krishna Hari Baskota briefly share about the development and activities of the commission. He also highlighted the work done by NIC for the betterment of Open Government Data (OGD) in Nepal. Besides this, he requested the prime minister to remove a few written hurdles from the constitution to enable easy access to information. IMG_20160822_134445 Parliamentary Development Committee Chair member, Mr. Rabindra Adhikari said that the government activities would not be transparent unless the political parties of country  incorporate transparency and accountability in their work.  He urged political parties for transparency in economic and other affairs as it was directly linked with reforms of the democracy. Chief secretary, Dr. Somlal Subedi shared that the government was working to reach the Kathmandu-centered information to the local level and creating the environment for easily enjoying 32 fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution.   The event was officially ended by Information Commissioner / Spokesperson, Mrs. Yashoda Devi Timsina by thanking all guests and participants for joining the celebration and was followed by Hi-Tea break. Prime Minister also launched the new logo of National Information Commission (NIC) in the event.

Who says what: 9th National Information Day Kathmandu

Nikesh Balami - August 24, 2016 in Events, Information Day, nepal, NIC, Right to Information, RTI Nepal

[22nd August 2016] By felicitating six RTI campaigners Raju Dhakal, Sailendra Jha, Biswadeep Tiwari, Modanath Trital, Govinda Dahal and Prabin Kumar Sharma. National Information Commission (NIC) marked the celebration of 9th National Information Day in Kathmandu. Honorable Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal was the chief guest of an event. Every year Information Day is celebrated in  Bhadra 3,  marking the introduction of the Right to Information Act on Bhadra 3, 2064.

Speaking at a program  organized by National Information Commission (NIC), Prime Minister Dahal said only right information can lead to sustainable development in this present age of information technology. “There is strong inter-relations between democracy and information, Information is the strong foundation of democracy“, he stressed on the need of effective enforcement of the right to information to guide the society towards the path to stability and prosperity, and also to make the people creative.

IMG_20160822_142034

At the program, Information and Communications minister Mr. Surendra Kumar Karki stressed for strengthening postal services after establishing information centers at the local level. The necessity of information dissemination up to the local level and also the use of modern technology. He also added the government should have a exact address of all the people so that the government could contact them when needed.

Similarly, Chief commissioner of National Information Commission (NIC), Mr. Krishna Hari Baskota briefly share about the development and activities of the commission. He also highlighted the work done by NIC for the betterment of Open Government Data (OGD) in Nepal. Besides this, he requested the prime minister to remove a few written hurdles from the constitution to enable easy access to information.

IMG_20160822_134445

Parliamentary Development Committee Chair member, Mr. Rabindra Adhikari said that the government activities would not be transparent unless the political parties of country  incorporate transparency and accountability in their work.  He urged political parties for transparency in economic and other affairs as it was directly linked with reforms of the democracy.

Chief secretary, Dr. Somlal Subedi shared that the government was working to reach the Kathmandu-centered information to the local level and creating the environment for easily enjoying 32 fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution.

 

The event was officially ended by Information Commissioner / Spokesperson, Mrs. Yashoda Devi Timsina by thanking all guests and participants for joining the celebration and was followed by Hi-Tea break. Prime Minister also launched the new logo of National Information Commission (NIC) in the event.

Office of Company Registrar Nepal joined the momentum

Nikesh Balami - August 21, 2016 in Featured, godi, Index, nepal, OCR Nepal, Open Data, ranking

Sometimes small key points makes you happy and boost your determination. My recent visit to the Office of the Company Registrar Nepal website makes me feel that way. The reason for my happiness  with the website is pretty straightforward – I was happy because I found a page named “Data” in the site with whole bunch of data, and more importantly the data were in an Open Format. Although the momentum of Open Data is gaining momentum all over the country, these kinds of government initiative are very rare and countable. Kudos goes to Nepal Government, their partners and CSO for pushing this momentum forward: http://www.ocr.gov.np/index.php/en/data OCR Nepal   The Office of Company Registrar Nepal website now consists data regarding company registration from 2002 till 2072 BS and the data is available for everyone to download and reuse in CSV and XML format. They have embarked this OCR Open Government Data (OGD) initiative to increase access to company data and wants to create ecosystem of  OGD to increase usability of data and realize the benefits. As we (Open Knowledge Nepal) discuss lots of times regarding the roles played by central government of Nepal for adopting open data as a policy, and the commitments shown by them through some projects such as the Aid Management Platform, Election Data in our blogs, events, projects and researches. This initiative of Office of the Company Registrar Nepal can now be a perfect examples for others public bodies of Nepal. It will also help Nepal to improve its rankings in the global Open Data surveys like Global Open Data Index and Open Data Barometer. I still remember those disappointing moments when Company Register gain only 35% open in Global Open Data Index 2015, all because the data wasn’t available in bulk and wasn’t machine readable. Now slowly but steadily we can mark those changes and gain 100% open. GODI Nepal This is a good start of the long Open Data journey from Nepal Government. Still, we can do much better. This kinds of start from our Government also boost the enthusiasm and determination of all CSO who are working in the field of Open Data at Nepal.