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Open mapping data for development in Tanzania: Open Data Day 2020 report

- April 3, 2020 in Open Data Day, Open Data Day 2020, tanzania

On Saturday 7th March 2020, the tenth Open Data Day took place with people around the world organising over 300 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. Thanks to generous support from key funders, the Open Knowledge Foundation was able to support the running of more than 60 of these events via our mini-grants scheme This blogspot is a report by Innocent Maholi from OpenMap Development Tanzania who received funding from Datopian to spread awareness on the usefulness of open data for development among participants through workshops, trainings, break-out sessions and a mapathon. _MG_9880 On Saturday March 7th, OpenMap Development Tanzania (OMDTZ), Crowd2Map Tanzania and the Tanzania Data Lab (dLab), with strong support from Open Knowledge Foundation and Open Heroines, hosted an Open Data Day event in Dar es Salaam. The event brought together more than 57 participants with diverse backgrounds in GIS analysis, community mapping, development, health, disaster response and other participants interested in open data. Data availability and access are crucial in the development of projects, new research, policy formulation and organisations to reuse and develop new methods from existing datasets instead of recollecting already existing data. The event theme – How open data can help Tanzania – had the aim of creating discussions on how we can use the potential of open data to create solutions to challenges such as access to health care, flooding, gender issues i.e. female genital mutilation and early child marriages, access to energy, etc. Is accessing open data enough? While advocating for open data, it is crucial to ask ourselves a question, “Is open data enough?”. From OMDTZ’s perspective, open data is not enough if we don’t have open technology, knowledge and open-minded people that are able to use, reuse, develop and replicate the processes of open data. This is the reason why OMDTZ is promoting and championing open data, open knowledge and open tools to help solve localised community problems. IMG_9727 During the event, we had a number of presentations focusing on how we can use open data and open technologies to solve localised challenges that the communities face. The talks based on the projects that OMDTZ, Crowd2Map, Tanzania Resilience Academy and Tanzania Data Lab have/are implementing. These included the following:
  • Mapping for FGM: Crowd2Map discussed how they are mapping rural Tanzania into OpenStreetMap to support FGM activists and the police who are rescuing young girls at risk. They also talked about how they are training digital champions in each village to report gender-based violence to social welfare using ODK. These women are first-time smartphone users who have ongoing training via a WhatsApp group.
  • Ramani Huria: Community mapping for flood resilience in Dar es Salaam. Addressing flooding issues in the city is super connected to addressing effects that women and children suffer during the flooding simply because this group is the most affected when it comes to flooding. This is because most of the small-scale businesses (owned mostly by women in the localities) are swept away by annual flooding.
  • Data Zetu: Empowering communities to make better and more evidence-based decisions. The presentation was based on how the collected data supported the creation of a dashboard in Dar es Salaam’s Amana hospital to track malnutrition to children as they were being brought to the hospital late. During this project, household surveys about data on access to maternal health care were collected to understand and provide solutions on the issues that women go through to access maternal health care in the city. This has then led into an initiative to provide a mobile clinic for the places that are built far from the main hospital to serve women residing in these areas.
  • Digitisation: Creating building footprints in the OpenStreetMap and get a base map for different analysis. This team is particularly led by women and has a 50/50 distribution of the team members who have grown their technical skills and managing data validations and quality checks, including day-to-day management. This is to make sure women are never left behind in this open data ecosystem.
  • Drones for river mapping: How the captured drone images have supported the development of open routing analysis to transport waste from rivers to Pugu (the main dumping site in Dar es Salaam) and helped Ilala and Kinondoni municipalities to understand the issues facing trash collectors and improve the situation. To make sure gender issues are addressed, we also have female drone pilots who were/are trained by OMDTZ and are able to fly drones.
  • Community Cadastres:  Piloting the use of geo-frequency satellite receivers for land rights and supporting poor populations in Dar es Salaam that are living in informal settlements. If this succeeds, the impacts will be greater especially to women who are normally marginalised to access land rights.
  • Innovation Ecosystem Map of Tanzania: A platform that will bring all innovation stakeholders in Tanzania on one map. The map will act as a platform for innovators in the ecosystem exposing them to incubation, accelerators, funders etc 
  • Resilience Academy: Using open data cases to provide student skills while addressing resilience issues
Workshops were also conducted to introduce participants to different tools that we use for data collection, analysis and data storage. The aim was to introduce participants to these tools, and if interested, they can request for additional training. OMDTZ also emphasised that the processes used to develop open data should be free (unless proprietary tools/software i.e servers must be used in certain circumstances). Open data is both free in terms of not costing money, as well as free in that you can add more data or develop a feature on to the platforms to fit your needs, but you must document and make it accessible for others to reuse and develop. Workshops were categorised into four categories:
  • Introduction to open mapping mobile tools (Open Data Kit, Open Map Kit, etc): Aiming to make participants familiar about data collection tools that we use.
  • Accessing geospatial open data platforms (, Geonode, Humanitarian Data Exchange etc): How participants can have access to collected data if they want to use them.
  • Mapping using JOSM and iD Editor: Participants were trained on how they can add features on the map if they wish to be data contributors.
  • Introduction to GIS and QGIS: Introducing participants on how to export data from OpenStreetMap platform and other servers to make analysis through QGIS.
The event was also to remind people of the data ecosystem and that open data and data sharing goes beyond depositing in a repository. The approach of open data should be holistic, developing discussions on data validation, quality checks and data use for countries’ most pressing challenges.  As OMDTZ, we call for communities in Tanzania that are open data users and enthusiasts such as developers, analysts, universities, policymakers, and disaster responders to join our efforts in advocating the use of open data and open geospatial technologies to solve issues that matter to the community.  All together with a common question on our mind, ‘How can open data help Tanzania? • A version of this blogpost was originally published via Medium

Improving journalists’ data literacy in Indonesia: Open Data Day 2020 report

- April 2, 2020 in indonesia, Open Data Day, Open Data Day 2020

On Saturday 7th March 2020, the tenth Open Data Day took place with people around the world organising over 300 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. Thanks to generous support from key funders, the Open Knowledge Foundation was able to support the running of more than 60 of these events via our mini-grants scheme This blogspot is a report by the Alliance of Independent Journalists in Bandung, Indonesia who received funding from Hivos to use open contracting data to encourage collaboration among civil society groups to access and monitor public budgets.
Adi Marsiela, a journalist with the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) in Bandung

Adi Marsiela, a journalist with the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) in Bandung

CSOs and journalists in Indonesia are still facing difficulties in accessing public data, despite being guaranteed by a national law issued in 2008. Better capacity is needed to analyse data and overcome bureaucratic hindrance. Dan Satriana, who served as a commissioner with the Information Commission in the country’s West Java province, said data availability and lack of transparency are the main challenges.  “The government should store data as many as possible in the public domain. So that there will be no bureaucracy that would hinder people from obtaining data,” he said, adding that bureaucrats should also nurture openness culture. Dan, who served two terms, said the Indonesian government already has instruments to support open data, from one data initiative and Public Information Openness Act. However, these are not enough. The 2008 Public Information Openness Act guarantees citizen’s rights to access public data, requires all public bodies to disclose public data, established the Information Commission and set up a system to deal with disputes. Yet the twelve-year-old law does not work very well.  Adi Marsiela, a journalist with the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) in Bandung, said, public data is still not easily accessible, even for journalists. “If journalists come to a government or public agency, they will be asked if they have a request letter. That is a very basic thing. Journalists should not be hindered by the procedures,” he said.  Adi added, aside from bureaucratic culture, the use of different formats for public data has put another layer of challenges, as experienced by a fellow journalist working with data collection. “Data she obtained was in a different format. There is no standardised format. This got journalists confused. And journalists are demanded to be fast,” he added.  A workshop was held for 30 journalists, student press reporters and activists in Bandung, on Open Data Day aimed to enable journalists tackle such bureaucratic hindrances. Supported by Open Knowledge Foundation, the ’Better Literacy for Bigger Participation’ workshop gave conceptual and practical approaches.  Dan, who talked about the importance of open data, urged the public to participate more in accessing and analysing government data. Government data, he insisted, could foster good governance and decision making that will affect the lives of many. “This is unavoidable in our democracy where government and public sector should work together in development,” he said.  Adi – who trained participants in data scraping – said journalists and CSOs should update their capacities and work together. “It is very crucial to collaborate with CSOs – which have their own respective fields – so that they can inform journalists. We hope journalists will no longer only rely on what’s spoken by government spokespeople,” Adi said. “Journalists’ job is to be critical to all data given to them. We should obtain the data, able to analyse that, and from there we can develop a list of questions for verification,” he stressed. Participants were introduced to data sources provided by national, provincial, and local governments in Indonesia. They were then assisted to scrap data from the public domain and input the numbers automatically to Microsoft Excel into .xlsx and .csv formats. Ni Loh Gusti “Anti” Madewanti, said the workshop has helped her organisation, DROUPADI, who works in counter violent extremism and women’s rights. “I got to know which sites or sources where data could be obtained, and how to critically analyse government-issued data, which one is not proportional, not updated, or even tends to corrupt,” she said after the session.  The organisation, Anti added, is also planning to create a database themselves. “My organisation will implement data collection and cleaning to make a database, which will be utilised by DROUPADI and many more stakeholders for collaboration,” Anti said.

Connecting environmental politics and data in Brazil: Open Data Day 2020 report

- April 1, 2020 in Brazil, Open Data Day, Open Data Day 2020

On Saturday 7th March 2020, the tenth Open Data Day took place with people around the world organising over 300 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. Thanks to generous support from key funders, the Open Knowledge Foundation was able to support the running of more than 60 of these events via our mini-grants scheme This blogspot is a report by Marília Gehrke from Afonte Jornalismo de Dados (Afonte Data Journalism) in Brazil who received funding from Resource Watch to raise awareness about environmental politics and empower the community to use public and open data.
Open Data Day Porto Alegre panelists and organising team (photo: Juliana Spilimbergo)

Open Data Day Porto Alegre panelists and organising team (photo: Juliana Spilimbergo)

People who attended Open Data Day Porto Alegre learned about the ecosystem where they live. Through graphics, figures, maps, and even a new database released during the event, three panelists explained the impact of Mina Guaíba installation. The project involves a coal mine exploration, which will affect Porto Alegre, in Brazilian South, and its metropolitan region. If it occurs, about 166 tonnes of coal might be extracted in 23 years. One of the main problems is pollution: Jacuí river, and consequently Guaíba Lake, which supplies water for the city, will be at risk of contamination. Approximately 4.6 million people would be affected.  “How can society feel safe about the coal mine?”, asked Dr. Rualdo Menegat, professor of Geosciences Institute at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) and one of the panelists. According to him, the project that aims to start coal exploration does not foresee potential risks and environmental emergencies – natural disasters, explosions, fires, storms, and inundations might happen. He also presented a periodic table of substances that are part of the chemical composition of coal. “It is chemical garbage,” he summarised.  Dr. Marilene Maia, the coordinator of the Observatory of Realities and Public Policies of Vale do Rio dos Sinos (Observasinos), believes science and data are essential for people to be aware of the mine’s risks, as well as public transparency. She said that sometimes data is available, but is not accessible because citizens do not comprehend it.
Presentation by Iporã Possantti (photo: Marília Gehrke)

Presentation by Iporã Possantti (photo: Marília Gehrke)

Iporã Possantti, who is an environmental engineer and also a member of the group Critical Environment (Coletivo Ambiente Crítico), organised and released a new database to empower the community and inspire people to investigate. Territorial and georeferenced information will allow the creation of maps and promote subsidies for data analysis. The main goal, he said, is to offer structured data that is already public in different places, but can disappear depending on the governors’ decision.  Open Data Day in Porto Alegre also had a workshop to stimulate the use of the Access of Information Law (a Brazilian version of the Freedom of Information Act) to obtain public data that are not publicly available unless if someone requests. LL.M. Bruno Morassutti, who is a lawyer and specialist in this topic, showed several examples of how to access Websites and protocols to ask for information. He also presented the environmental legislation in Brazil to support the arguments for the requirements.  The audience was able to ask questions during the event. In the first panel, invited journalists – freelancers and professionals from different news media – started the debate. Overall, the community expressed concern about the future of environmental events and people who did not know the data presented acted surprise. “It is not an event that starts tomorrow and ends at the end of the year. It will affect future generations”, said Dr. Menegat about the coal mine. About 60 people attended Open Data Day in Porto Alegre. For the second year in a row, journalists Marília Gehrke and Taís Seibt, from Afonte Jornalismo de Dados (Afonte Data Journalism), organised the event with support from Unisinos University. All the presentations (in Portuguese) are available online. The event was covered by the regional media and posts on Twitter.

Mapping waste dumping locations in Malawi: Open Data Day 2020 report

- March 31, 2020 in Open Data Day, Open Data Day 2020

On Saturday 7th March 2020, the tenth Open Data Day took place with people around the world organising over 300 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. Thanks to generous support from key funders, the Open Knowledge Foundation was able to support the running of more than 60 of these events via our mini-grants scheme This blogspot is a report by Patrick Ken Kalonde from Youth for Environmental Development in Malawi who received funding from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to inspire university students to take action and contribute to environmental protection through mapping.
University students look at a map of the location of dumpsites around their campus

University students look at a map of the location of dumpsites around their campus

University students just finished data collection exercise. Everyone was curious seeing captured photos being turned into a waste disposal map. One after another, groups synchronised photos they captured on open access platform. A few minutes later, map showing waste dumping locations across the university campus was ready.  You might wonder what is really happening. This is in Malawi, and the students are from the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resource. The students were participants in an event organised by their peers from Youth for Environmental Development (YED), a youth-led community-based organisation operating in a small area of 310 households in the capital of Malawi, Lilongwe. The event was organised to celebrate Open Data Day with the idea of sharing knowledge about how open data on waste disposal can help to trigger innovations and solution to make our communities clean. This is also partly to inspire the university students to think on innovative data solutions.  Nearly 4 hours prior to this particular moment, my colleague Alick Chisale Austin presented about YED, its activities and why the group is cerebrating Open Data Day. University students were amazed to learn how YED, a group comprised of volunteers comprising of secondary school students, university students, graduates and school leavers from the community, unified with a common desire to make their community free from careless waste disposal practices. It did not take long before I took the stage, sharing why our volunteer youth organisation has focused on citizen science in confronting the problem of poor sanitation/waste disposal in the community. Several maps were presented with the first one illustrating the location of my community, my home and its key features. The second one presented the same community with waste dumping locations mapped in 2017. According to the second map, 67 percent of the waste dumping locations are right in our local rivers.  With the presentation of the status quo, I quizzed the audience on whether they think it is a problem or not to have trash accumulating in our river networks. Unanimously, the audience responded it is very undesirable to have them. I also shared information about the clean-up campaign which our group organised in our community back in 2019. We joined what was trending on social media through the #TrashChallenge. 
YED members cleaning up a dumpsite in March 2019

YED members cleaning up a dumpsite in March 2019

I presented how information and knowledge is generated from data. It was clear to us that spatial data can be used as strong evidence to inform our decisions regarding solving poor waste disposal problem. Not only that, much as the problem of waste disposal is of public concern, I presented the need to have open data platforms for environmental protection. At this point, I introduced the tools students can use to contribute to making our communities clean by gathering evidence to inform our decisions like Open Litter Map (, an online platform that allows the locations of litter sites to be captured using a smartphone. This data is uploaded online where it can be accessed by anyone.  I then introduced a practical and hands on exercise of going around the university campus mapping all trash dumping locations. When they finished collecting data, they came back to upload the data online. Moment later when uploaded data was verified, all university campus waste dumping locations were displayed. I led the participants downloading the data they just synchronised which was later exported to QGIS to prepare a map.  Getting closer to the end of the Open Data Day celebrations, some participants explained that they were interested to extend the environmental data mapping exercises they just learnt when they move back to their various communities. Others were more motivated to continue carry on our work by extending the message about the importance of data to their personal circles. Being the first team involving university students mapping their own campus, our team hopes this motivates others to generating relevant evidence, vital in making informed decisions for protecting our environment. 

Raising visibility of women and the LGBT community in Mexico: Open Data Day 2020 report

- March 30, 2020 in Open Data Day, Open Data Day 2020

On Saturday 7th March 2020, the tenth Open Data Day took place with people around the world organising over 300 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. Thanks to generous support from key funders, the Open Knowledge Foundation was able to support the running of more than 60 of these events via our mini-grants scheme. This blogspot is a report by Ricardo Mirón from Future Lab in Mexico who received funding from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to give visibility to women and the LGBT community in local decision making within government, business and civil society using open data. At Future Lab’s Open Data Day, we aimed to give visibility to women and the LGBT community in local decision making within government, business and civil society using open data. This day served to unite the efforts of different sectors of society, in which we wanted to focus on a topic that is of special relevance in the context of our country, Mexico; where gender violence, discrimination and unequal opportunities are still very present.  For this we decided to partner with different actors: 
  • LAB León ( the city’s public innovation laboratory. Providing the link with the government and opening databases for use during this day. 
  • Codeando Mexico ( one of the strongest communities and movements in the country in terms of civic technology and citizen participation. 
  • HERE Technologies ( an international company that creates mapping solutions, put at our disposal the necessary infrastructure to be able to visualize the results of this day. 
  • CANACINTRA ( the National Chamber of the Transformation Industry is the body that represents the Industrial Sector of León, supporting with its facilities and willingness to carry out the event. 
During the event, around 80 people participated, mostly young enthusiasts with different profiles such as data scientists, journalists, political scientists, architects and designers as well as several members of public agencies and private initiatives. There was a clear interest in people who usually had no experience in the topic – about half of the attendees had never worked with open data.  In order to contribute to the movement and culture that we want to promote in society and government, we held three workshops to add to the narrative of how we can create from different methodologies and tools:
  • Open data workshop: (Gender equality) An analysis of public data on femicides in Mexico was carried out, using Tableau and different visualisations an infographic was created. 
  • Open mapping workshop: (LGBT community) A collaborative map was worked among the attendees, starting by geo-referencing points such as cafes, parks, offices and other safe spaces for the community. Subsequently, the data was loaded on a map and it was customised to show these points in a specific polygon in the city of León. 
  • Open source workshop: (Citizen participation) Participants contributed to a code repository on GitHub learning the methodology of participation in an open source project. With a focus on creating citizen collaboration projects. 
As a conclusion, we know that constant and gradual work is needed to continue promoting the use of open data and open source and that real value is generated when we contribute to the solution of the different problems that we face together as society, we hope to add to the raising awareness of how discrimination in the LGBT community and gender inequality affects us all, hoping that this movement and this community will grow exponentially until materialising actions such as public policies, platforms and projects take place.

Crowdsourcing streetlights data for Kathmandu: Open Data Day 2020 report

- March 27, 2020 in nepal, Open Data Day, Open Data Day 2020

On Saturday 7th March 2020, the tenth Open Data Day took place with people around the world organising over 300 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. Thanks to generous support from key funders, the Open Knowledge Foundation was able to support the running of more than 60 of these events via our mini-grants scheme This blogspot is a report by Ankita Shah from Youth Innovation Lab in Nepal who received funding from Mapbox to showcase crowdsourced streetlights data for Kathmandu to influence policy for their maintenance. Often times we notice people around us complaining about problems they face once they step outside of their houses every day. For instance, in Nepal people complain that the roads are not properly constructed, the air is polluted, there are not enough public transportation or toilets, the traffic jam is getting worst and the list goes on. It has become a norm for people to complain about one thing or another, criticise and blame the institutions, and the people holding the authority. But most of them fail to do something about it, find a solution and actually work on it, instead of just complaining. They fail to realise that as a citizen of the country, we also have the responsibility to act upon it. Even though we might not have the authority or resources to do the job by ourselves, but we do hold the power to raise our voices, show evidences and make the people with authority accountable. Realising this growing gap and the urgency to address it, Youth Innovation Lab (YI-Lab) launched LightsON, a digital advocacy campaign that aims to bring open data and awareness together for informed decision making. A year ago on Open Data Day 2019, the LightsON campaign commenced with the aim of addressing one of the many problems our communities are facing on a daily basic i.e. lack of proper maintenance of streetlights. Streetlights are one of the many public utilities that are important for people for so many reasons. It is the basic infrastructure to ensure safer mobility after sundown. A lot of security and safety issues such as road accidents, theft, burglary, drug abuses, and, rape cases often occur in dark places which can simply be resolved if there is proper lighting and visibility. Unfortunately, most of the streetlights inside the valley does not work, the old ones are not replaced and the new ones not maintained. The institutions who are responsible to maintain these streetlights are failing to address this issue one of the many reasons being lack of data and spatial information of streetlights. Therefore, we decided to collect concrete data of streetlights and make it open and accessible to all so that we can urge the responsible institutions to draft policy for its periodic maintenance.  During the launch of LightsON, one-day session was hosted by YI-Lab that brought together elected government representatives, officials from the Survey Department, a Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) representative, Nepal police, open data enthusiasts, local citizens, digital volunteers and youths in an interactive discussion. The session sought to go in-depth of this issue. It included role of responsible institutions, accidents and crime rates in dark places, availability of data, role of technology and most importantly the importance of making data open to the public and giving them the power of interrogation with evidence. (Blog of launch event: A low-cost mobile app and interactive web portal was developed in coordination with a tech company called NAXA to collect the data of streetlights.  The collected data are fed into the open web platform ( visualising functional and non-functional streetlights data of electric and solar streetlights.  Based on the data, we can identify the type, condition, and functionality of the streetlights with its exact location and picture. YI-Lab strongly believes in the spirit of volunteerism as one of the best mediums to generate a sense of civic responsibility among youths, and so we started the campaign by reaching out to youths from different colleges, sensitising them about the issues and encouraging them to be part of our campaign.  For Open Data Day 2020, we aimed to shed light on what we had started a year back with the event ‘LightsON: Open Dialogue for Policy’. Supported by the Open Knowledge Foundation, this event aimed to present the streetlights data collected so far as an evidence to initiate and open dialogue to discuss on how the issues of poor maintenance of public utilities can be addressed by the responsible institutions using right data and evidence-based policy making. The Deputy Mayor of Kathmandu Metropolitan City, Respected Ms. Hariprabha Khadgi (Shrestha), gave a keynote speech on how this issue can be addressed by municipal governments and what initiatives can be taken in future to periodically maintain streetlights. She was delighted with the initiative and extended her support to take this initiative further. After the speech by Respected Ms. Khadgi, an hour-long open discussion began in the presence Hon. Biraj Bhakta Shrestha, Member of Parliament of Bagmati Province. The open discussion aimed to bring multidisciplinary perspectives on the issue of maintenance of streetlights that can be useful in suggesting the municipal governments to draft suitable policy. There were several interesting and insightful points brought up during the discussion that not only gave everybody an opportunity to learn but also opened up exciting avenues for the LightsON team to take the campaign further. With such amazing and insightful discourse, the session ended with special remarks by Hon. Biraj Bhakta Shrestha. He has been a supporter of LightsON campaign since its inception. During his remarks, he highlighted the importance and potential of technology and the global paradigm shift towards technology driven. He emphasised that the era is shifting from capital intensive to ideas and innovation and so, the next generation is all about innovative ideas. Referring to LightsON as the tip of the iceberg, he encouraged the team to develop similar other technologies in future to solve other problems. According to him, data is the most important element in development, policy as well as good governance. In order to be able to advocate on policy, Hon. Shrestha urged the team to understand government’s structural functioning and underlined that ownership, economy, and security are the three motivational factors to engage communities. Finally, the session ended with Hon. Shrestha extending his support to take the campaign forward.

Tracking spending by Kenya’s county governments: Open Data Day 2020 report

- March 26, 2020 in kenya, Open Data Day, Open Data Day 2020

On Saturday 7th March 2020, the tenth Open Data Day took place with people around the world organising over 300 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. Thanks to generous support of key funders, the Open Knowledge Foundation was able to support the running of more than 60 of these events via our mini-grants scheme This blogspot is a report by Chepkemoi Magdaline from Eldohub in Kenya who received funding from Hivos to run a hackathon to develop tools and systems which can facilitate county governments’ involvement in Kenya’s transparency, accountability and public participation. Participants at the Eldohub Open Data Day 2020 event in Kenya Open Data Day is an annual celebration of open data all over the world. To celebrate Open Data Day 2020, EldoHub, a technology innovation hub located in Uasin Gishu County in the western region of Kenya, hosted an hackathon event to brainstorm and come up with collaborative solutions to transparency and accountability. The hackathon/pitching competition brought together technologists, students, local government officials and other stakeholders who came up with tools to track county governments’ use of finances provided by the national government or which could give the public to access information regarding the use of finances in the public offices and allow them to track development projects. The 2020 celebrations in Eldoret raised our voice and triggered conversations for action on youth inclusive participation and transparency showing how tech savvy youth can help the local government of Uasin Gishu to develop tools for tracking the use of finances and running of projects in a more transparent and inclusive way. The meeting started on time. Purity from EldoHub opened the event by welcoming the participants and giving a brief introduction of EldoHub. She also gave a lightning talk on open data and open government. Timz Owen was the MC for the day. He ensured that the event was celebrated with energy and fun-filled activities. While Owen was entertaining the participants, Sarah, a software developer at EldoHub, and Zipeta, EldoHub’s hub manager, briefed the judges on the expectations for the event and the judging criteria. Our able judges were Stephen Mwongela, the founder of Plusfarm Kenya; Laryx Ochieng Kosgei from the Eldoret chapter of Start-Up Grind; Beverly Nicole Adhiambo, founder of Initiative For Her; and Gerald Makori from the Tumaini Innovation Centre. The hackathon then started officially, led by Zipeta, who guided the audience on the design thinking process
and how to develop human-centered designs. The participants were able to come up with ideas and structure them using Business Model Canvas (BMC) in an effort to get a product market fit. Lastly, they were guided on how to come up with a three-minute elevator pitch, demonstrated before the final pitch with the assistance of Sarah Chepwogen and the Eldohub team. The pitching competition then commenced with four groups participating. The winning idea was My Health Advisor led by Jacinta Gichuhi who works at Ampath. It is a web-based app aimed at saving more lives and resources used in treatment by providing health awareness to the general population.

The winning team present their health awareness app My Health Advisor

The first runner-up was Sambaza Farm, led by Ester Mwaniki of the University of Eldoret, who used open data to develop a project that helps Uasin County government to track and monitor projects that bridge the gap between places with excess food and places without adequate food. This was in an effort to solve the food insecurities in Kenya and all of Africa with transparency and openness. EldoHub awarded the pitching competition winner with $50 to enable them to register a social enterprise, plus offering them free co-working space at EldoHub for one month with business training and coaching.

Tracking deforestation in West Africa with satellites and drones: Open Data Day 2020 report

- March 25, 2020 in ghana, Open Data Day, Open Data Day 2020

On Saturday 7th March 2020, the tenth Open Data Day took place with people around the world organising over 300 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. Thanks to generous support of key funders, the Open Knowledge Foundation was able to support the running of more than 60 of these events via our mini-grants scheme This blogspot is a report by Gideon Sarpong from iWatch Africa in Ghana who received funding from Datopian to host a forum to leverage the power of public domain satellite and drone imagery to track deforestation and water pollution in West Africa. iWatch Africa in Ghana celebrates Open Data Day 2020 iWatch Africa marked the 2020 Open Data Day in Accra in collaboration with GOIF and with support from the Open Knowledge Foundation. The 2020 Open Data Day forum focused on the theme: ‘Leveraging public domain satellite and drone imagery to track deforestation and water pollution in West Africa’. Over thirty people from various organisations in Accra participated in the event which took place at the Kofi Annan ICT Center in Accra. Mr. Asante Sabrah of Linux Accra, and lecturer at GIMPA, was a guest speaker at the forum emphasised the importance of public domain satellite data in driving the conversation about climate change in West Africa. Policy expert and co-founder of iWatch Africa, Mr. Henry Kyeremeh also delivered a presentation highlighting the negative effects of Climate Change on West Africa. Mr. Kyeremeh stressed that, “the empirical evidence is quite strong on the impact climate change is having on developing countries especially in West Africa. Noticeable among are droughts, reduction in crop yields, unpredictable rainfall pattern which in many instances causes havoc etc.” Using Lake Chad as a case study, Mr. Kyeremeh said: “The Chad River which has shrank by circa 90 percent since 1973 is a typical example of what climate change and water mismanagement is doing in West Africa.” He called for innovative solutions and policy making to address this global threat. “Without doing anything, the situation could be much dire and therefore, domestic and international policy making must respond to mitigating climate change impact by encouraging new technologies for adaption, increase resource allocation and increase research and innovation.” Gideon Sarpong, policy and news director of iWatch Africa, also lead a session on the day with focus on how the interactive satellite data platform managed by the Global Forest Watch could be used to track deforestation and afforestation in West Africa and aid in innovative media reportage. iWatch Africa also used the forum to officially join the World Economic Forum (WEF) One Trillion Trees Initiative to help nature and fight climate change. As part of our climate action, iWatch Africa will collaborate with several organisations including the WEF to plant 5,000 trees in Ghana in the next five years. • This post was originally published on

Celebrating the tenth Open Data Day on Saturday 7th March 2020

- March 6, 2020 in Open Data Day, Open Data Day 2020, Open Knowledge

Open Data Day 2020 In Ghana, satellite and drone imagery is being used to track deforestation and water pollution in West Africa. In South Africa, the first map of minibus taxi routes in a township in Pretoria is being created. In the Philippines, a map is being designed to highlight HIV facilities and LGBT-friendly spaces, while a similar project is underway in Granada to assess the housing situation of migrant women. And in Mexico, construction projects are being analysed to check their impact on the local environment. All these community-led projects, and many more like it, are improving lives for people in some of the world’s most deprived areas. They are all linked by one thing: open data. This Saturday is the tenth annual Open Data Day, which celebrates its transformational impact around the globe. Open data is data that can be freely accessed, used, modified and shared by anyone. It is the opposite of personal data, which must be kept private and there have rightly been concerns raised about how that is used by giant technology firms. Open data is altogether different – this is non-personal information, and it can and should be used for the public good. It is the building block of what is called ‘open knowledge’, which is what data can become if it is useful, usable and used. The key features of openness are availability and access, reuse and redistribution and universal participation. Open Data Day is an opportunity to show its benefits and encourage the adoption of open data policies in government, business and civil society. The Open Knowledge Foundation operates a mini-grants scheme for community projects every year, and in 2020 we are supporting 65 events taking place all over the world including in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Cameroon, Colombia, Costa Rica, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Mexico, Nigeria, Somalia, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo and Venezuela. With the climate crisis now an emergency, open data can help tackle deforestation and monitor air pollution levels on our streets. It is being used in places such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo to increase young people’s knowledge of free local HIV-related services. In Nepal, streetlights data for Kathmandu has been collected by digital volunteers to influence policy for the maintenance of streetlights. The possibilities are endless. Open data can track the flow of public money, expanding budget transparency, examining tax data and raising issues around public finance management. And it can be used by communities to highlight pressing issues on a local, national or global level, such as progress towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. I know that phrases like ‘open data’ and ‘open knowledge’ are not widely understood. With partners across the world, we are working to change that. This decade and the decades beyond are not to be feared. We live in a time when technological advances offer incredible opportunities for us all. This is a time to be hopeful about the future, and to inspire those who want to build a better society. Open knowledge will lead to enlightened societies around the world, where everyone has access to key information and the ability to use it to understand and shape their lives; where powerful institutions are comprehensible and accountable; and where vital research information that can help us tackle challenges such as poverty and climate change is available to all: a fair, free and open future. • The tenth Open Data Day will take place on Saturday 7th March 2020 with celebrations happening all over the world. Find out more at, discover events taking place near you and follow the conversation online via the hashtags #OpenDataDay and #ODD2020.

Open Data Day em São Paulo: Explorando dados do Legislativo local

- February 21, 2020 in Dados Abertos, Eventos, Open Data Day, São Paulo

Se você mora em São Paulo e tem interesse em falar sobre dados abertos e transparência, participe do Open Data Day! No dia 7 de março, São Paulo se junta a diversas cidades pelo mundo e celebra a décima edição do Open Data Day, o Dia dos Dados Abertos. Em parceria com o Goethe-Institut São Paulo, a Open Knowledge Brasil organiza a edição local, um evento gratuito que terá seu foco na análise dos dados abertos do Poder Legislativo.

O evento

Inspirado no Parlametria, projeto de código aberto que usa inteligência de dados sobre o Congresso Nacional para promover a ação cidadã, vamos explorar bases de dados que permitam cruzar informações sobre deputados estaduais e vereadores de São Paulo. Apresentaremos aos participantes as bases de dados utilizadas no projeto, como a base de candidatos do Tribunal Superior Eleitoral, que contém características de todos os parlamentares eleitos; e a base de empresas brasileiras e seus sócios, para que seja possível o cruzamento de informações com os parlamentares paulistas.


Durante a manhã, jornalistas, programadores(as) e pesquisadores(as) convidados farão mini-palestras para apresentar as bases de dados que estão por trás do projeto Parlametria e técnicas de análise e exploração de dados. À tarde, vamos fazer um “mão na massa”, para explorar essas bases de dados e o cruzamento com bases de dados relativas a São Paulo — pediremos aos participantes que tragam, se possível, seus notebooks. A jornada finaliza com os grupos de participantes apresentando o resultado de seu trabalho (análises, gráficos e tabelas) com o público.

Horário: das 10h às 17h30

Para participar, preencha o formulário de inscrição e compareça no Goethe-Institut São Paulo no dia 7 de março (sábado). Até lá! Flattr this!