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Czech Open Data Challenge: a showcase of amazing transparency apps

Michaela Rybičková - December 7, 2017 in competition, czech republic, network, network updates, OK Czech, Open Data, Open Knowledge Network

This blog post was written by the Czech Republic Open Knowledge team as part of our blog series of Open Knowledge Network updates.  In the fifth edition of Czech open data challenge, interested parties from the ranks of the public, non-profit organizations and companies were invited to submit applications that use or generate open data. Applications developed between November 2016 and October 2017 could compete. This year, the competition was dominated by transparency apps. Many of the 24 contestants focused on improving the efficiency of public spending or parliamentary watchdog. Others chose to provide convenient access to information about pharmacies or publishing stats about lawyers. In this blog you can find more information about some of this year’s winners. The winner, Hlídač státu (http://www.hlidacstatu.cz, State watchdog), is a strong tool of control over public spending. It connects a registry of contracts with data about donations to political parties and presents it in a comprehensible manner. Michal Blaha, author of Hlídač státu, said that he takes his victory as a commitment. „Open data are making the public administration more democratic and transparent, as they balance the relationship between citizen and officer.” he explained. The second place was awarded to the civic initiative KohoVolit.eu for their Inventura hlasování (Inventory of voting in the Chamber of Deputies in 2013-2017, https://volebnikalkulacka.cz/cs/inventura-hlasovani-2017/). It is a user-friendly way to compare one’s opinions with voting of individual MPs. More than 400.000 people used the app ahead of the latest election. The third place was taken by Databáze prázdných domů (Database of Empty Houses, www.prazdnedomy.cz), which aggregates information about abandoned and decrepit buildings in Czechia. The project aims to save remarkable houses and find new uses for vacant real estate.

Screenshot of prazdnedomy.cz, visualising vacant real estate in Brno, Czech Republic

For the first time in the contest history, the Student prize was awarded to a middle school, Střední škola zemědělská a potravinářská Klatovy. A group of five youngsters led by an enthusiastic teacher spent one weekend at school to create interesting visualisations over real time data of the Czech parliamentary election: http://volby.maleskoly.info/ The Otakar Motejl Fund award for projects which increase government transparency, was given to CityVizor (https://cityvizor.cz/), a joint effort of Ministry of Finance and an alliance of cities. It is a unique example of the government cooperating with local administrations and helps to present city budgets and spending to citizens and allows the municipalities to share IT expenses. A special award went to the Czech Open Street Maps community, for their tireless effort of providing detailed and up-to-date map data. Being openly available, they are an invaluable resource for many successful businesses as well as civic initiatives. Another positive sign is, that political parties themselves start to leverage the power of open data and civic apps. The political party STAN for example built a mobile app which tracks votes and attendance of their MPs. The winners were awarded with prize money (up to 20 000 CZK), security software or trainings in online marketing.

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 Knowledge Brazil summer 2016 update

Mor Rubinstein - August 22, 2016 in brasil, Brazil, Chapters, network, network updates, OK Brazil, Open Spending

This blog post is part of our summer chapters updates and was written by the team of OK Brazil.  Brazil is not only about the Olympics. A lot has been going on in the Brazilian chapter of the Open Knowledge Network as well. Here we highlight the significant chapter developments, including some new faces and some exciting plans. Personnel One of the most crucial changes in the chapter is in the area of human resources.  Ariel Kogan, an OK Brazil longtime member, took over as CEO from Tom (Everton) Zanella Alvarenga. We wish Tom much luck in his new path and would like to thank him for the work he has done for the chapter so far.
Also, We also have a new addition to our chapter, Elza Albuquerque who joined us as our communication officer.  Lastly, we have a new advisory board. You can meet our new board in this link.   Open Spending News
Where did my money go website already has the executive budget data for four Brazilian cities: São Paulo (SP), Belo Horizonte (MG), in order toCuritiba (PR) and Recife (PE). The Brazilian Open Spending team is looking for more information about the others so they can add them to the platform. We also welcome a new developer to the OpenSpending team, Lucas Ansei. He will be responsible for the next system implementations.   Our latest publications
OKBrasil

Open Knowledge Brasil planning sessions Credit: Open Knowledge Brasil – Rede pelo Conhecimento Livre Facebook

Global events
– Trip to Estonia, digital government laboratory. In July, Ariel Kogan and Thiago Rondon (Open Spending coordinator and Adviser for Open Knowledge Brazil)  travelled to Estonia to learn about their experience with e-government, e-vote, data security and administration. The trip was supported by Fundacion Avina, in the context of EuVoto (I vote) project.
– OKBr participation in the Berlin International Open Knowledge leadership course by Rufus Pollock. The participation in this meeting was also possible thanks to Fundacion Avina support. Transparency Check our accounts and balance – – Copy of Bank StatementTrial Balance   Final words… Lastly, OK Brasil is in the process of planning ahead. We initiated a new strategic planning process for the chapter for 2016-2018. The goal is to validate what was built in previous stages in order to increase new contributions to present the first OKBr planning document from 2016 to 2018. Have a look at the Open Knowledge Brazil retrospective and next steps and let us know what you think. We are looking forward to hearing from the global community and connecting more with what others are up to.  Follow us on Facebook or Twitter for more live updates!