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We’re Hiring at Open Knowledge: Project Managers, Developers and Data Wranglers

- March 19, 2015 in Featured, Jobs, Open Knowledge Foundation Local Groups

Open Knowledge are delighted to advertise several new open positions:
  • Project Manager – Open Data
  • Python Developer
  • Frontend Developer
  • Data Wrangler
A brief summary on each post can be found below. Full details and application forms can be found on http://okfn.org/about/jobs/.

 Project Manager – Open Data

We are looking for a professional and dynamic hands-on project manager to manage a portfolio of projects at Open Knowledge – an international, world-leading non-profit working on open data. The project management style will need to fit within our creative and innovative atmosphere, and should help us retain organisational flexibility and agility. The projects requiring management will vary, but in general will range from £25k/several months/1-2 team members, to £500k+/several years/4-6 team members. Some projects will involve substantial software design and delivery and require good technical understanding and the ability to manage a technology delivery project. In general the project teams are made up of specialists who have a good sense of the area of work and may be able to be the public face of the project; the key role of the project manager is to ensure planning, delivery, tracking and reporting occurs reliably and to a good standard. Open Knowledge’s partners and clients include national government bodies, NGOs, and organisations such as the World Bank. Projects funded by grants are delivered for philanthropic foundations, the European Commission (eg. through the FP7/H2020 programme) and others. Find out more or apply »

Python Developer

Working in the fast-growing area of open data, we build open source tools to drive transparency, accountability and data-driven insight. Our flagship product CKAN runs official national data portals from the UK to Brazil, US to Australia and hundreds more around the world. We also build a variety of other open source software to help people access information and turn data into insight. We’re looking for a python developer to join our team who is smart, quick-to-learn and interested in contributing to a fast-growing and exciting area. You can be based anywhere – we operate as a virtual, online team – and can offer a flexible working structure – we care about delivery, not being 9-5 at your desk! Find out more or apply »

Data Wrangler

Work on cutting edge data-driven, high impact open knowledge projects with a world-leading non-profit in areas ranging from government finances to health-care. We are looking for someone with good experience in “small-to-medium” data wrangling (e.g. you’ve been scraping in python for a while, have a deep love for CSV … ). You must be a self-starter, capable of working remotely and taking initiative as well as working effectively in a team with others. Find out more or apply »

Frontend Developer

We are looking for talented front-end developers to work with us on an ongoing, freelance basis on a variety of open-source data-driven projects ranging from healthcare to illegal logging. Find out more or apply »

How Open Data Can Change Pakistan

- March 9, 2015 in community, OKF Pakistan, Open Knowledge Foundation Local Groups, Pakistan

This is a cross-post from the brand new Open Knowledge Pakistan Local Group blog. It is written by Nouman Nazim, who is the new Ambassador and Local Group Lead of Pakistan. He has worn many other hats in his career including programmer, writer, researcher, manager, marketer and strategist. To learn more about (and get in touch with) the new community in Pakistan, go here. pakistan Pakistan is a small country with a high population density. Within 796,096 square kilometres of its territory, Pakistan has a population of over 180 million people. Such a large population poses immense responsibilities on the government. Majority of the population in Pakistan is uneducated, living in rural areas, with a growing influx of the rural people to the urban areas. Thus we can say that the rate of urbanization in Pakistan is raising rapidly. This is a major challenge to the civic planners and the Government of Pakistan.
Data from World Bank
The wars of the last century made people realize that further violence on such a large scale cannot be afforded and better coordination and communication should be promoted between the nations. So along with many other concepts and new technologies, there was also a school of thought which raised the voice for easing the restrictions on government data.
Open data, as the name suggests, is the concept of making government data available for everyone to use, reuse and reproduce without the conventional restrictions of copyrights, patents and other laws of protection of content. ~Open Definition
There are a lot of advantages of making data open for public and free to be used and reproduced by anyone. First of all is the main reason of knowledge, it increases by sharing. And quite literally governments around the world have tried and tested this method. Many countries of the world are now opting for easing the restrictions on their public administration proceedings, statistics and relevant data related to public affairs. The value created from easing these laws is beyond calculation. Several government organizations collect different types of data for their functioning. This data is made available to the masses, individuals and organizations alike will help in bringing much improvements and innovations in their respective fields. A lot of countries have gone for this stance and they are a testament to the fact that opening up data for reuse and reproduction is beneficial for the state in general. Pakistan, as a developing country can learn much and more by opening the restrictions on data. There are many areas in which open data can bring a change in the functioning of government. Some of these areas include self-empowerment, improved efficiency of government services, the effect of policies and their impact on the public. If such type of data is open for all then many departments of government can be improved as the data will be available at hand to avoid future mistakes. Releasing data on operations / services of different government departments can help gain insight into the performance of these departments and further developments can be made or new policies crafted. Education is one of the biggest problems of Pakistan which is hindering her progress as a developing nation. There are numerous cases in the government run schools of Pakistan where absenteeism on the part of teachers is very high and some schools are aptly called ghost schools because they exist only on paper. Now if the data on these schools were made public not only will the public hold the administration accountable but these schools will also function properly in the future. Alif Ailaan and Sustainable Development Policy Institute established Pakistan Data Portal to share and disseminate education related data in Pakistan. Often times it has always been observed that the public money is mishandled by the politicians and bureaucrats due to which Pakistan ranks at 126 in Global Corruption Perception Index of Transparency International. Open data will help us better control such inefficiencies and with the data available to the general public, it will be ensured that the public money is handled maturely, transparently and to high standards of accountability. These are just a few of the many ways in which open data can bring a positive change in Pakistan.

New Open Knowledge Local Groups in Macedonia, Pakistan, Portugal and Ukraine

- March 3, 2015 in Featured, Macedonia, Open Knowledge Foundation Local Groups, Pakistan, Portugal, Ukraine

9628963608_2763f5c8c3_c It’s once again time for us to proudly announce the establishment of a new batch of Open Knowledge Local Groups, founded by community leaders in Macedonia, Pakistan, Portugal and Ukraine, which we hereby welcome warmly into the ever-growing family of Local Groups. This brings the total number of Local Groups and Chapters up to a whopping 58! In this blog post we would like to introduce the founders of these new groups and invite everyone to join the community in these countries.

MACEDONIA

In Macedonia, the Local Group has been founded by Bardhyl Jashari, who is the director of Metamorphosis Foundation. His professional interests are mainly in the sphere of new technologies, media, civic activism, e-­government and participation. Previously he worked as Information Program Coordinator of the Foundation Open Society – Macedonia. In both capacities, he has run national and international­scope projects, involving tight cooperation with other international organizations, governmental bodies, the business and the civic sector. He is a member of the National Council for Information Society of Macedonia and National Expert for Macedonia of the UN World Summit Award. In the past he was a member of the Task Force for National Strategy for Information Society Development and served as a commissioner at the Agency for Electronic Communication (2005­-2011). Bardhyl holds a master degree at Paris 12 University­Faculty of Public Administration (France) and an Information System Designer Degree from University of Zagreb (Croatia). To get in touch with Bardhyl and connect with the community in Macedonia, head here.

PAKISTAN

The new Local Group in Pakistan is founded by Nouman Nazim. Nouman has worked for 7+ years with leading Public Sector as well as Non Government Organizations in Pakistan and performed variety of roles related to Administration, Management, Monitoring etc. He has worn many other hats too in his career including programmer, writer, researcher, manager, marketer and strategist. As a result, he have developed unique abilities to manage multi-disciplinary tasks and projects as well as to navigate complex challenges. He has a Bachelor degree in Information Sciences and is currently persuing a Master’s degree in Computer Science besides working on his own startup outside of class. He believes open data lets us achieve what we could normally never be able to and that it has the potential to positively change millions of lives. In the Open Knowledge Pakistan Local Group Nouman is supported by Sher Afgun Usmani and Sahigan Rana. Sher has studied Computer sciences and is an entrepreneur, co-founder of Yum Solutions and Urducation (an initiative to promote technical education in Urdu). He has been working for 4+ years in the field of software development. Shaigan holds a MBA degree in Marketing, and is now pursuing a Post-Graduate degree in internet marketing from Iqra University Islamabad, Pakistan. His research focuses on entrepreneurship, innovation and open access to international markets. He is co-founder of printingconcern.com and Yum Solutions. He has an interest and several years experience in internet marketing, content writing, Business development and direct sales. To get in touch with Nouman, Sher and Shaigan and connect with the community in Pakistan, head here.

PORTUGAL

Open Knowledge Portugal is founded in unison by Ricardo Lafuente and Olaf Veerman. Ricardo co-founded and facilitates the activities of Transparência Hackday Portugal, Portugal’s open data collective. Coming from a communications design background and an MA in Media Design, he has been busy developing tools and projects spanning the fields of typography, open data, information visualization and web technologies. He also co-founded the Porto office of Journalism++, the data-driven journalism agency, where he takes the role of designer and data architect along with Ana Isabel Carvalho. Ana and Ricardo also run the Manufactura Independente design research studio, focusing on libre culture and open design. Olaf Veerman leads the Lisbon office of Development Seed and their efforts to contribute to the open data community in Europe, concretely by leading project strategy and implementation through full project cycles. Before joining Development Seed, Olaf lived throughout Latin America where he worked with civil society organizations to create social impact through the use of technology. He came over from Flipside, the Lisbon based organization he founded after returning to Portugal from his last stay in the Southern hemisphere. Olaf is fluent in English, Dutch, Portuguese, and Spanish. To get in touch with Ricardo and Olaf – and connect with the community in Portugal, head here.

UKRAINE

Denis Gursky is the founder of the new Open Knowledge Local Group in Ukraine. He is also the found of SocialBoost; a set of innovative instruments incl. the open data movement in Ukraine, that improves civic engagement and makes government more digitalized — thus accountable, transparent and open. He is furthermore a digital communications and civic engagement expert and works on complex strategies for government and the commercial sector. He is one of the leaders of the open government data movement in Ukraine, supported by government and hacktivists, and is currently developing the Official Open Government Data Portal of Ukraine and Open Data Law. To get in touch with Denis and connect with the community in Ukraine, head here. Photo by flipside.org, CC BY-SA.

Global Community Stories: January 2015

- February 13, 2015 in community, OKF France, OKF Germany, OKF Spain, OKF Switzerland, Open Knowledge Foundation Local Groups

20140115_123213 As some might remember, last year we ran a very popular blog post series called Global Community Stories, which highlighted activities in the ever-broadening Local Groups global community. Towards the latter half of the year lots of other projects demanded time and the series came to an unintended halt. With the turn of the year, however, we want to change that and that we why we’re now rebooting the series and plan to make this a monthly activity. Enough talk, let’s start our journey – here are some of the things that happened in January!

FRANCE

In France lots of activities are in motion right now, but one particularly worth noting is the participation in the first Public Domain Festival. It ran from 16th to 31st January in Paris and featured concerts, screenings, workshops, conferences in museums, libraries, hackerspaces and schools. It included over 28 different events which aimed to inform citizens and enable them to create together – as well as to highlight the public domain from all angles and for all ages.

GERMANY

Among other news, the Open Knowledge Chapter in Germany has been awarded a new EU Horizon 2020 research project, titled The Digital Whistleblower: Fiscal Transparency, Risk Assessment and Impact of Good Governance Policies Assessed (DIGIWHIST), to improve transparency in public spending and support whistleblowing. The central objective of DIGIWHIST is to improve trust in governments and efficiency of public spending across Europe by empowering civil society, investigative journalists and civil servants with the information and tools they need to increase transparency in public spending and thus accountability of public officials in all EU and in some neighbouring countries. Read more about the project here.

SPAIN

The Spanish chapter of the Open Knowledge once again organizes a global award for the best initiatives in open knowledge, open data and transparency. The six categories will award those projects and initiatives that have made visible or give practical for the public, industry and economics of open data, open knowledge and transparency. The awards consist of six categories, including the best initiative to encourage entrepreneurship based on open knowledge, the best business based on open knowledge, the best non-public transparency initiative, the best open science initiative, the best public initiative to support Transparency through the Open Data, and the best public open data initiative with involvement of citizens/society. The awards ceremony will take place on February 21 at Media Lab Prado, coinciding with the celebration of the worldwide Open Data Day. The ceremony will feature an address by the president of Open Knowledge, Rufus Pollock, as well as the announcement of the winner of a special initiative: The Anti-Award ‘Padlock’ to the most opaque and closed initiative, whether public or private, elected by registered users via the Award prize page. This second edition of the award features an English page to help institutions and initiatives internationally take part. Today is the deadline for applications, so jump on in and make a submission if you have candidates!

SWITZERLAND

Coinciding with Champions League, Milan joined Swiss groups in Basel and Sierre to kick off the new Sports Working Group with a first hackathon, sparking discussion of transparency on an international level at the yearly conference in Zürich, where the community engaged in diverse talks and launched new projects. A big theme of 2014 was renewed commitments to Swiss openness: a parliamentary <ahref="http://www.parlament.ch/d/sessionen/sda-sessionen/Seiten/20141208_bsd191_Beschaffungswesen.aspx">motion for Procurement Data, legal provisions to opening <ahref="http://opendata.ch/2014/09/vernehmlassung-metg/">weather data, developments in the City of Zürich and Canton of St.Gallen – and the Open Government Data Strategy confirmed by the Federal Council in April and embedded in the action plan. While Open Budget visualisations are now deployed for the canton of Berne and six municipalities, spending data remains a challenge. Student teams participating in a new university course are helping to advance the cause for financial transparency. New open data projects were released, such as WindUndWetter.ch and SwissMetNet API, based on just-opened national weather data. But, talk about “hold your horses”: a closed-source city waste removal schedule app led to intense debate with officials over open data policy, the results making waves in the press and open data developers leading by doing. The new year promises at least as much: the next hackathon organised by the new OpenGLAM.ch Working Group, together with Wikimedia and the National Library, is canvassing Swiss institutions to provide content, data, and expertise – and inviting global participation. For the full calendar of upcoming events, visit their blog.

A round-up of Open Knowledge Community events around the world!

- December 10, 2014 in community, Community Stories, Events, Join us, Meetups, Open Knowledge Foundation Local Groups, Sprint / Hackday, Workshop

One of the best opportunities that being part of a community offers is the chance to collaborate and make things happen together – and when we want this to happen in sync, what’s better than convening an (in person or online) event? Just before the end of the year, let’s collect a few highlights from the Open Knowledge Community events you posted about on the Community Stories Tumblr (so nicely curated by Kathleen Luschek of the Public Library of Science – thank you!)! Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 10.51.05 AM Joseph De Guia, Open Knowledge Philippines local group ambassador, TJ Dimacali, journalist and media manager, and Happy Feraren, School of Data Fellow participated in the festival exhibition and lightning talks series spreading the word about the Open Government Data, Lobbying Transparency, Open Education, Open Spending working groups and the School of Data programme. Find out more about it here. LACIGF_SANSALVADOR Open Knowledge El Salvador local ambassador Iris Palma, joined the panel focusing on Open Data and Open Access together with Caroline Burle from W3C (Brazil) and Pilar Saenz from Fundacion Karisma (Colombia). Further information about the event can be found here. In line with the OKFestival (in Berlin) and the Latin American and Caribbean Internet Governance Forum (in San Salvador), Open Knowledge El Salvador, Creative Commons El Salvador and Association of Librarians of El Salvador celebrated the first Open Knowledge Meeting in El Salvador). The event focused on Open Knowledge, Open Data, Creative Commons Licenses, Open Education and the Declaration for Open Knowledge in El Salvador. Congratulations! Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 11.02.16 AM Open Knowledge Greece organized an open workshop to discuss and propose the positions and proposals of the group on the National Action Plan. Please find here all comments and suggestions that were stated in the meeting, published in both Greek and English. OKF-Carton-invitation-expédition-V2-300x300 Open Knowledge France hosted a data expedition in Paris at La Gaité Lyrique during the digital festival Futur en Seine to find, analyse, visualise and tell stories with existing open data on air pollution. All about it on the group’s blog! These are wonderful examples of what happens when we get together, all you event organizers out there rock! Are you running an Open Knowledge event? We want to hear from you – please submit quick posts about your events to the Community Tumblr (details about how/where here). Let’s share the community’s great work, inspire each other, and spread the open knowledge love far and wide! Post a link to your favorite 2014 open knowledge event in the comments below:

Streamlining the Local Groups network structure

- October 3, 2014 in community, Open Knowledge Foundation Local Groups

We are now a little over a year into the Local Groups scheme that was launched in early 2013. Since then we have been receiving hundreds of applications from great community members wanting to start Local Groups in their countries and become Ambassadors and community leaders. From this great body of amazing talent, Local Groups in over 50 countries have been established and frankly we’ve been overwhelmed with the interest that this program has received! Over the course of this time we have learned a lot. Not only have we seen that open knowledge first and foremost develops locally and how global peer support is a great driver for making a change in local environments. We’re humbled and proud to be able to help facilitate the great work that is being done in all these countries. We have also learned, however, of things in the application process and the general network structure that can be approved. After collecting feedback from the community earlier in the year, we learned that the structure of the network and the different labels (Local Group, Ambassador, Initiative and Chapter) were hard to comprehend, and also that the waiting time that applicants wanting to become Ambassadors and starting Local Groups were met with was a little bit frustrating. People applying are eager to get started, and of course having to wait weeks or even longer (because of the number of applications that came in) was obviously a little bit frustrating.

Presenting a more streamlined structure and way of getting involved

We have now thoroughly discussed the feedback with our great Local Groups community and as a result we are excited to present a more streamlined structure and a much easier way of getting involved. The updated structure is written up entirely on the Open Knowledge wiki, and includes the following major headlines:

1. Ambassador and Initiative level merge into “Local Groups”

As mentioned, applying to become an Ambassador and applying to set up an Initiative were the two kinds of entry-level ways to engage; “Ambassador” implying that the applicant was – to begin with – just one person, and “Initiative” being the way for an existing group to join the network. These were then jointly labelled “Local Groups”, which was – admittedly – a lot of labels to describe pretty much the same thing: People wanting to start a Local Group and collaborate. Therefore we are removing the Initiative label all together, and from now everyone will simply apply through one channel to start a Local Group. If you are just one person doing that (even though more people will join later) you are granted the opportunity to take the title of Ambassador. If you are a group applying collectively to start a Local Group, then everyone in that group can choose to take the title of Local Group Lead, which is a more shared way to lead a new group (as compared to an Ambassador). Applying still happens through a webform, which has been revamped to reflect these changes.

2. Local Group applications will be processed twice per year instead of on a rolling basis

All the hundreds of applications that have come in over the last year have been peer-reviewed by a volunteer committee of existing community members (and they have been doing a stellar job!). One of the other major things we’ve learned is the work pressure that the sheer number of applications put on this hard-working group simply wasn’t long term sustainable. That is why that we as of now will replace the rolling basis processing and review of applications in favor of two annual sprints in October and April. This may appear as if waiting time for applicants becomes even longer, but that is not the case! In fact, we are implementing a measure that ensures no waiting at all! Keep reading.

3. Introducing a new easy “get-started-right-away” entry level: “Local Organiser”

This is the new thing we are most excited to introduce! Seeing how setting up a formal Local Group takes time (regardless of how many applications come in), it was clear that we needed a way for people to get involved in the network right away, without having to wait for weeks and weeks on formalities and practicalities. This has lead to the new concept of “Local Organiser”: Anyone can pick up this title immediately and start to organise Open Knowledge activities locally in their own name, but by calling themselves Local Organiser. This can include organising meetups, contributing on discussion lists, advocating the use of open knowledge, building community and gather more people to join – or any other relevant activity aligned with the values of Open Knowledge. Local Organisers needs to register by setting up a profile page on the Open Knowledge wiki as well as filling this short form. Shortly thereafter the Local Organiser will then be greeted officially into the community with an email from the Open Knowledge Local Group Team containing a link to the Local Organiser Code of Conduct that the person automatically agrees to adhere to when he/she picks up the title. Local Organisers use existing, public tools such as Meetup.com, Tumblr, Twitter etc. – but can also request Open Knowledge to set up a public discussion list for their country (if needed – otherwise they can also use other existing public discussion lists). Additionally, they can use the Open Knowledge wiki as a place to put information and organize as needed. Local Organisers are enrouraged to publicly document their activities on their Open Knowledge wiki profile in order to become eligible to apply to start an official Open Knowledge Local Group later down the road.

A rapidly growing global network

What about Chapters you might wonder? Their status remain unchanged and continue to be the expert level entity that Local Groups can apply to become when reaching a certain level of prowess. All in all it’s fantastic to see how Open Knowledge folks are organising locally in all corners of the world. We look forward to continue supporting you all! If you have any questions, ideas or comments, feel free to get in touch!

September Community Summit On Air

- September 3, 2014 in community, Events, Open Knowledge Foundation Local Groups, Working Groups

We’re hosting a September Community Call. Join us to discuss a number of community programming ideas and help make a plan. All welcome. okfest by artepilpilean (Amazing drawing by Artepilpilean)
  • What: September Community Summit On Air
  • Date: Wednesday, September 10th
  • Your Local time:
  • 8:00 – 9:00 EDT, 13:00 – 14:00 BST, 14:00 – 15:00 CEST (Also see worldtimebuddy.com)
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Registration
Draft Agenda
  • Talk about how to implement some of the OKFest Community Summit Outputs
  • Source: )
  • Outline the International Council
  • Plan Fall Community programming (e.g. Skillshares)
Talk Soon!

25 Countries in the Same Room: The OKFestival Community Summit

- August 1, 2014 in Berlin, community, Featured, OKFestival, Open Knowledge Foundation Local Groups

OKFestival Community Summit Photo by Heather Leson, CC-BY-SA Two weeks back, over 1,000 people gathered in Berlin to co-create the future of the open knowledge movement. Even before OKFestival had officially kicked off, over 50 people from over 25 countries piled into a crowded, hot room on a glorious Berlin afternoon, to work through the pressing issues, opportunities and challenges facing the Open Knowledge community. Over the course of three hours we talked about how to develop better peer to peer mentorship across our global network, how to ensure the sustainability of emerging local groups and Chapters & took a close look at what exactly we are – are we a movement, are we an organisation, are we a community? These questions could never be completely answered in one three hour session but we did make some exceptional progress and observed quite a few common themes emerging – themes also to be witnessed over the course of the following festival as well!

Sharing Knowledge

As a concept, open knowledge is all about sharing knowledge but it seems that, as a community, we still have some way to go in exemplifying that ideal. During the community summit, we discussed how we could share knowledge about fundraising between Open Knowledge and Local Groups, how our Local Groups could better share their experiences and teach each other. We also were introduced to Open Steps, a fantastic initiative by two community members who spent the past year traveling the world and documenting the open knowledge movement along the way. They are now developing a directory that would allow us to map where people are working on open knowledge activities to facilitate partnerships and knowledge sharing beyond already established networks or country lines. OKFestival Community Summit Photo by Christian Villum, CC-BY-SA

Peer mentoring and skillshares

Another significant topic on the agenda was the discussion of how we could better transfer skills and know-how between newcomers and more experienced members of the community. There are already a series of initiatives pursuing these goals, for instance the series of Community Sessions hosted by Open Knowledge Central – as well as the regional calls organized around the world by members of the community. It was clear though that one of the main missing pieces in the puzzle is the facilitation of more day-to-day based mentoring, peer to peer, perhaps only involving 2 people – the mentor and the mentee – and also something that stretches over a longer period rather than being limited to a single session on Skype or a Hangout. Additionally one barrier that was very clear was the fact that people are living far apart, often having many time zones in between them, therefore prompting a need to rely on online tools – not only for communicating, but also to find each other and identify who to talk to. These are challenges that we, as a community of which Open Knowledge Central is also a part, will look much more into over the coming weeks and months. Lots of ideas are already brewing and a handful of community members have dedicated themselves to sketch out a plan for a mentoring program.

Open knowledge in the Global South

A growing portion of the global community are based in what can be referred to as the Global South and therefore have some additional needs and challenges as compared to countries in more structured environments. As it was noted, some members of the community even operate in areas that can be considered downright hostile. Oppressive governments, corrupt civil servants, failing IT-infrastructure, cultures of domestic oppression, language barriers (highlighted by the high level of anglo-fication characterizing the open knowledge field) and even illiteracy are just some of the factors that make up for a very different playing field for some open knowledge advocates, and in such cases peer support, resource/skill sharing and even funding becomes of increasing value and significance. We need to collaborate to localize key documents across languages, provide toolkits in downloadable and remixable online formats, challenge gender roles, move beyond Internet-driven activism and put international pressure on governments that work actively to hinder the free gathering of people in these regions. OKFestival Community Summit Photo by Christian Villum, CC-BY-SA

Community Identity & Re-branding

During the discussions we also revisited some of the discussions had earlier in the year around some of the branding/visions/values/strategy-related updates brought about by the central Open Knowledge organisation. It’s clear that more community consultation is needed around changes in such basic foundations, but what appeared during these face to face chats was also an understanding that some of the discontent and frustration put forward by parts of the community was rooted not only in these concrete issues, but also in some of the more deeper challenges of the community and organisation: For instance, how do we perceive ourselves as the community grows and grows at an almost explosive rate? What is our identity? The small family is growing into the thousands and the dynamics that used to be are clearly being replaced by others. Does it need to be that way? Can we avoid it? And if not, how do we cope with it and ensure the same level of transparency across the community and the organisation? We also need to define more clearly what the role of the Local Groups, the Working Groups and the Chapters – the most formal part of the community – is in this new reality of an increasingly larger body of people all associating themselves with our shared cause. This is clearly a conversation that will continue way beyond this community summit, and rightfully so! We are currently writing up all the notes and will put them on the wiki as soon as we have collated them all. Jump on board and comment if you have thoughts or ideas!

New Local Groups in Cameroon, Guernsey, Kenya, Bermuda and New Zealand!

- July 11, 2014 in Featured, Local Groups, OKF Cameroon, OKF Guernsey, OKF Kenya, OKF New Zealand, Open Knowledge Foundation Local Groups

5891389188_023dc72cb9_b Once again we can proudly announce the establishment of a new round of Open Knowledge Local Groups, headed by community leaders around the world. This time we welcome Cameroon, Guernsey, Kenya, Bermuda and New Zealand to the family of Local Groups, which brings the global Open Knowledge community tally beyond the 50+ countries mark. In this blog post we would like to introduce the people heading these groups and invite everyone to join the community in these countries.

Cameroon

In Cameroon, the incubating Local Group is headed in unison by Agnes Ebo’o and Jean Brice Tetka. Agnes Ebo’o is the founder of the Citizens Governance Initiatives in Cameroon, a nonprofit association that promotes accountability and citizens’ participation in governance. A pioneer in the promotion of freedom of information and open government in Cameroon, Agnes has been involved in the creation of several regional initiatives that promote open government and the rule of law in Africa. These include the Academy for Constitutional Law and Justice in Africa and the Africa Freedom of Information Centre; a Pan-African NGO and resource centre that promotes the right of access to information across Africa. Agnes is also the Co-founder of the Gulf of Guinea Citizens Network, a network of advocates for participatory, transparent and accountable management of the natural resources in the Gulf of Guinea region of Africa. A lawyer by training, Agnes holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Poitiers, France, and an LLM from the University of Wales Cardiff, UK. Jean joined Transparency International in February 2014 as Data and Technology Coordinator for the People Engagement Programme working on technological solutions to anti-corruption, data analysis and visualisation. He has a Bachelors degree in Management ICT Studies from the African Institute of Programming and his previous experiences includes three years as a project manager with an anti-corruption organisation, two years as IT manager for a private company and volunteering for several NGOs.

Kenya

Ahmed Maawy is a Shaper with the Global Shapers Community (which is an Initiative of the World Economic Forum) and an Executive Direcotor at The Mombasa Tech Community (CBO). He is a technology expert working with D8A and Appfrica labs, and a Technology Lead at Abayima. Ahmed is also one of the pioneers in the groundbreaking institution that aims to create a world without boundaries, The Amani Institute‘s Post Graduate certificate in Social Innovation Management. Ahmed has spent more than 10 years developing web, mobile, and enterprise software as well as functioning as a project manager for a number of software products and projects. He has worked with corporations and non profits alike, as well as media agencies such as Al Jazeera New Media (on 3 important curation projects covering Somalia, Libya and Gaza) as well as Internews Europe. He has also worked for Ushahidi as a Software Engineer for SwiftRiver, Datadyne as Product Manager for EpiSurveyor (now MagPi), and with Kenya Airways for their Online Marketing strategy, Bookings and Reservations engines, and overall web strategy, to name a few.

Bermuda

Heading up the Open Knowledge efforts in Bermuda by setting up a new Local Group are Andrew Simons and Louis Galipeau. Andrew is Bermudian, born and raised. He attended Stanford University as a Bermuda Government Scholar, and graduated with a BSc in computer science and an MSc in chemical engineering. Before moving home to Bermuda, he worked in the Boston area at EMC, a global technology company. He now works as a catastrophe modeler in the insurance industry. In 2013, Andrew co-founded Bermuda.io, a free online repository of Bermuda public data running on CKAN. Louis is Canadian and has made Bermuda his home. A self-taught technophile with a diverse background, he has a drive towards the use of new media and technology in art, business, and community efforts. He is involved locally as a core member of TEDxBermuda and works at a law firm as the senior lead applications architect. In 2013, Louis also co-founded Bermuda.io with Andrew.

New Zealand

The Local Group in New Zealand is being booted by Rowan Crawford, a software developer who originally trained as a pharmacist. He maintains New Zealand’s Freedom of Information requests site, fyi.org.nz, and currently focuses on connecting the public to representatives via askaway.org.nz and bringing Code for America-style fellowships to New Zealand.

Guernsey

In Guernsey, Philip Smith is the initiator of the new Local Group. He is a project and programme manager heading CBO Projects, has a background with charity This Is Epic and is one of the founders of The Dandelion Project, a community-driven initiative aiming to create a better place for people by bringing together citizens to share their knowledge and skills. Dandelion has, among other, started a small number of community led projects that involve Guernsey moving forward with open data, for example a bus app for local bus services and an open data portal that will hopefully drive open access to valuable data in Guernsey. We encourage everyone to get in touch with these new Local Groups – to join, connect and collaborate! Contact information can be found via our global network page. Photo by Volker Agüeras Gäng, CC-BY.

We are the Community: Join our OKFest community summit

- July 4, 2014 in OKFestival, Open Knowledge Foundation Local Groups

This is a guest blog post by Kersti from Open Knowledge Netherlands and Rayna from Open Knowledge France/OpenMENA. Both are leading the organisation of the Open Knowledge Community Summit with the support of the Open Knowledge Central team. Less than two weeks to go until the global open community will meet in Berlin and at digital and physical fringe events all over the world. OKFestival is driven by the shared values and the enthusiasm for openness of hundreds of people from all cardinal directions. We are all engaged with the Open Knowledge network for a reason, for a cause. But what is it that brings us together and how do we want to shape this community for the future? These are crucial questions and we wish to dedicate a full afternoon to discuss, define and shape it together! WE ARE THE COMMUNITY and as such, we would like YOU to join a very special fringe event, the OKFestival Community Summit Everyone is welcome to participate, whether you consider yourself an active member of the community or are simply interested in meeting people over an in-depth discussion about strengthening digital communities. When and Where? The OKFestival Community Summit will take place on Tuesday July 15th, 2014 from 13:00 to 16:00. We have booked a space at the OKFestival Venue, the Kulturbrauerei, and so you can find us in the Franz Club. Why is this event important? The OKFestival Community event offers the unique occasion for everyone to meet, discuss and craft our identity as the Open Knowledge community, the way we envision it and the way we can all continue to identify with it. We are a fast-growing group of like-minded individuals who have had the pleasure of contributing to the rapid expansion of open knowledge community over the past few years. Such organic growth also poses new challenges and motivates us to rethink the way we interact with staff members and the different paths through which we can channel expertise and knowledge within the community. It is thus in our hands to shape a community that enables everyone to identify and engage with the path forward we choose to take! Therefore, it will be imperative to shape this way forward together. What will we discuss? Through consultation with the community leading up to the festival, we have identified a handful of topics that we will discuss during the session:
  • How do we provide better support and follow-up to local groups, ambassadors, working groups and individual community members?
  • How do we develop mentorship opportunities and peer-to-peer support within the community?
  • How do we root more of some shape of organized effort in the Global South? What are the different challenges, depending on local contexts and more globally?
  • Community or organisation: how do we decide? Are we a network, a movement, a community — and what implications does that have for our structure and actions?
  • Community programming: what next? Co-building and interaction online.
There is still room for more ideas, so bring yours along! We really hope you can join the summit. There are still tickets available — hurry up! If you would like to participate, sign up here! Looking forward to seeing you all at the summit!