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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

How open data and mapping using OpenStreetMap can aid development in Tanzania

- May 9, 2018 in Open Data Day, open data day 2018, Open Mapping, tanzania

This blog has been reposted from the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team website This blog is part of the event report series on International Open Data Day 2018. On Saturday 3 March, groups from around the world organised over 400 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. 45 events received additional support through the Open Knowledge International mini-grants scheme, funded by Hivos, SPARC, Mapbox, the Hewlett Foundation and the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office. The event in this blog was supported through the mini-grants scheme under the Open Mapping theme.
To commemorate Open Data Day on March 3rd, Crowd2Map and Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT) Tanzania organised a free 3 day training conference on how open data and mapping using OpenStreetMap can aid development in Tanzania. Over 90 people from across Tanzania attended the event at the Institute of Rural Development Planning in Mwanza, including community mapping groups from Kigoma, Kagera, Mara and other regions, students from IRDP Mwanza and Dodoma, as well as representatives from Tanzania Red Cross, Tanzania Wildlife Service, Uwezo and many other organisations.

Community Mappers and Youth Mappers receive printed Field Papers of their districts

The training was delivered by Amelia Hunt and Johannes Peters from HOT and covered topics such as what open data is available in Tanzania, what is OpenStreetMap and how it can help Tanzania; how to map your area using satellite images on a laptop; free apps on your phone; and printed Field Papers; and how to create printed village and district level maps. There were a combination of demonstrations, talks and practical workshops, including a session mapping in the field in the area around the campus. Community groups who have benefited from phones and laptops provided by a HOT Microgrant and the Nethope Device Challenge programme learnt how to make the best use of this technology to put their communities on the map for better navigation, planning and development of their areas.

Johanes Peters from Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team Tanzania provides training on OpenStreetMap

There were also talks by Jonarda Ngissa from Uwezo Tanzania on their citizen led educational assessments, and from Neema Meremo from Hope for Girls and Women Tanzania on how mapping can help protect girls from Female Genital Mutilation.

Talk from Neema Meremo: Mapping to Fight FGM and the Role of Female Mappers

Evaluations showed that people had learnt a great deal from the training and comments included “it will help me be a better planner for my country”, “now I can teach others to improve our development” and “mapping is useful to indicate which water points are functioning, so we can improve access in Tanzania”. Everyone indicated they would like further such training, and so we hope that many will be able to attend FOSS4G and HOT conference in Dar es Salaam in August.

Apply Now! School of Data’s 2018 Fellowship Programme

- April 16, 2018 in announcement, bolivia, fellowship, ghana, Guatemala, indonesia, kenya, Malawi, philippines, tanzania

School of Data is inviting journalists, data scientists, civil society advocates and anyone interested in advancing data literacy to apply for its 2018 Fellowship Programme, which will run from May 2018 to January 2019. 8 positions are open, 1 in each of the following countries: Bolivia, Guatemala, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, The Philippines. The application deadline is set on Sunday, May 6th of 2018. If you would like to sponsor a fellowship, please get in touch with School of Data at Apply for the Fellowship Programme

The Fellowship

Fellowships are nine-month placements with School of Data for data-literacy practitioners or enthusiasts. During this time, Fellows work alongside School of Data to build an individual programme that will make use of both the collective experience of School of Data’s network to help Fellows gain new skills, and the knowledge that Fellows bring along with them, be it about a topic, a community or specific data literacy challenges. Similarly to previous years, our aim with the Fellowship programme is to increase awareness of data literacy and build communities who together, can use data literacy skills to make the change they want to see in the world. The 2018 Fellowship will continue the work in the thematic approach pioneered by the 2016 class. As a result, we will be prioritising candidates who:
  • possess experience in, and enthusiasm for, a specific area of data literacy training

  • can demonstrate links with an organisation practising in this defined area and/or links with an established network operating in the field
We are looking for engaged individuals who already have in-depth knowledge of a given sector or specific skillsets that can be applied to this year’s focus topics.. This will help Fellows get off to a running start and achieve the most during their time with School of Data: nine months fly by! Read More about the Fellowship Programme

The areas of focus in 2018

We have partnered with Hivos and NRGI to work on the following themes: Procurement and data in the extractives industry (oil, mining, gas). These amazing partner organisations will provide Fellows with guidance, mentorship and expertise in their respective domains.

2018 Fellowship Positions

Bolivia The Fellowship in Bolivia will be focused on public procurement data through the Open Contracting Programme. For this position, School of Data is looking for someone with: Experience with and interest in community building, experience with the implementation of civic projects with a data or technical component, storytelling skills, and experience with promoting data or technical stories to a wide audience, basic understanding of the public procurement process Guatemala The Fellowship in Guatemala will be focused on public procurement data through the Open Contracting Programme. For this position, School of Data is looking for someone with: Experience in the planning, coordination and implementation of projects with civil society organisations, the ability to advise and train organisations on working with data and delivering technical projects, basic understanding of the public procurement process Ghana The Fellowship in Ghana with be focused on extractives Data through the Media Development Programme at NRGI. For this position, School of Data is looking for someone with: an interest in supporting or working within the civil society sector, experience working with financial (or related) data for analysis experience as a trainer and/or community builder, interest and/or experience in the extractives sector, demonstrated skills as a data storyteller or journalist Malawi The Fellowship in Malawi will be focused on public procurement data through the Open Contracting Programme. For this position, School of Data is looking for someone with: experience with delivering technical and data-driven projects, experience with facilitating training activities, experience with data collection projects, basic understanding of the public procurement process **Indonesia ** The Fellowship in Indonesia will be focused on public procurement data through the Open Contracting Programme. For this position, School of Data is looking for someone with: experience with delivering technical and data-driven projects, experience with facilitating training activities, experience with working with government systems or data. Candidates with the following optional interests and experience will be appreciated: experience with explaining complex topics to varied audiences, experience with user design methodologies, experience with community development The Philippines The Fellowship in The Philippines will be focused on public procurement data through the Open Contracting Programme. For this position, School of Data is looking for someone with: experience with user-centric research and design methodologies, experience with community-building activities, experience with data storytelling. Candidates with the following optional interests and experience will be appreciated: graphic design skills, experience with delivering trainings Kenya The Fellowship in Kenya will be focused on public procurement data through the Open Contracting Programme. For this position, School of Data is looking for someone with: experience with delivering data-driven projects, experience with user research and data storytelling, experience with explaining complex topics to varied audiences. Candidates with the following optional interests and experience will be appreciated: interest in or experience with supporting civic projects and civil society organisations, experience with facilitating training activities. Tanzania The Fellowship in Tanzania will be focused on public procurement data through the Open Contracting Programme. For this position, School of Data is looking for someone with: experience with delivering data-driven projects, experience with facilitating training activities, experience with explaining complex topics to varied audiences. Candidates with the following optional interests and experience will be appreciated: experience working with journalists or as a journalist, interest in or experience with supporting civic projects and civil society organisations, experience with writing pedagogical content 9 months to make an impact The two programmes will run from May to Jan uary 2019, and entail up to 10 days a month of time. While Fellows will be focused on ironing their skills as data trainers and build a community around them, Experts will focus on supporting and training a civil society organisation or newsroom with a specific project. Fellows will receive a monthly stipend of $1,000 USD a month to cover for their work. In May, both Experts and Fellows will come together during an in-person Fellowship Induction Workshop to meet their peers, build and share their skills, and learn about the School of Data way of training people on data skills. What are you waiting for? Read more about School of Data’s Fellowship or Apply now Key Information: Fellowship
  • Available positions: up to 8 fellows, 1 in each of the following countries: Bolivia, Guatemala, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, The Philippines

  • Application deadline: May 6th, 2018, midnight GMT+0
  • Duration: From May 14th, 2018 to January 31st, 2019
  • Level of activity: 10 days per month
  • Stipend: $1000 USD per month
Key links About diversity and inclusivity School of Data is committed to being inclusive in its recruitment practices. Inclusiveness means excluding no one because of race, age, religion, cultural appearance, sexual orientation, ethnicity or gender. We proactively seek to recruit individuals who differ from one another in these characteristics, in the belief that diversity enriches all that we do. Flattr this!

Open Data Day in Tanzania and Serbia: using open data to educate, inform and create stories

- April 13, 2018 in development, Open Data Day, open data day 2018, Open Mapping, serbia, tanzania

Authors: Rehema Mtandika (She Codes for change) and Katarina Kosmina (SEE ICT) – their biographies can be found below this post. This blog is part of the event report series on International Open Data Day 2018. On Saturday 3 March, groups from around the world organised over 400 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. 45 events received additional support through the Open Knowledge International mini-grants scheme, funded by Hivos, SPARC, Mapbox, the Hewlett Foundation and the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office. The events in this blog were supported through the mini-grants scheme under the Equal Development and Open Mapping themes.

How we approached data

She Codes for Change trained 27 young girls aged 15-19 from Secondary Schools in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on the basic concepts of data visualization, Scratch and photography. We guided them to work on groups to identify social challenges and then use open data to create data-driven animation videos stories to educate the society on the challenge. Our aim was to inspire young girls to understand the concept of open data and innovation, and how to apply them to transform their imaginations into visual products, altogether as the mechanism to solve their societal problems. In the end, each group consisting of 5 members was guided to create their datasets, and worked upon their interested social challenge. The issues worked upon were violence against children, early marriages, gender based violence, school dropout and HIV/AIDS among adolescents. The final products were presented, and then uploaded on the She Codes for Change YouTube channel.

She Codes for Change Team with participants during Open Data Day

SEEICT/Startit is an NGO which has eight Startit centers across Serbia, with the aim of educating, empowering and connecting youth and the tech community in the country. Our plan to organize open mapping events in two smaller towns in Serbia got hindered by a lack of demand and local capacity for this type of activities. Instead, with the help of UNDP in Serbia, we managed to organize a Datathon in Serbia’s capital, Belgrade, where teams worked with four mentors on data visualization projects using open datasets. The winning team mapped all elementary and high schools across Belgrade using a dataset from the Ministry of Education. They then scraped data about the locations of betting shops, given that Serbian law forbids betting shops to be closer than 200 meters from schools. This project resulted in a map of Belgrade showing over 70 betting shops which are breaking the law. Additionally, the other three teams also created visualizations which involved: optimizing the placement of police patrols and emergency vehicles for better response to car accidents, mapping bad driving habits across time and municipalities of Serbia, and showing the connectedness of public transportation in Belgrade.

Overcoming obstacles

Since the She Codes for Change proposal was not selected in the first round by the Open Data Team, our team had work on last minute preparations in order to have the logistics in place including sending invitation to schools, push and make follow up with their administrations for the timely permissions for students to attend. Given that it was Startit’s first time organizing a Datathon and that we decided to make it a 12 hour challenge focused on visualization, we had no idea what could come out of it. In fact, we doubted if we would end up with even 1-2 working visualizations. Given the pilot/experimental nature of this event, plus the short time frame we had to plan and execute it, we struggled with social media promotion, using personal contacts and finding other ways to animate the Serbian IT community to join this endeavour. In addition, we knew that the datasets published by the government are often messy, incomplete, and inconsistent. Hence, there was a legitimate fear that the teams would end up spending most of those 12 hours cleaning data instead of analyzing and visualizing it. Fortunately, we had four fantastic mentors and the teams chose their datasets wisely, with only one team extensively struggling with their chosen datasets.

What did we learn?

She Codes for Change’s major lesson is that data finding and visualization is not a complex phenomenon if taught at an early stage. Since students are not taught much in school about data, many students in the training first thought that data is complicated and not important, however, after understanding the basic concepts and worked together to design a product for its visualization, they realized that data can help them and communities to address their challenges and make informed decisions. Similar to the experience of She Codes for Change, as the Startit team, we realized how empowering creating data-based visualizations can be for teams participating in the Datathon – whether they’re high schoolers, students, or IT professionals. An even more striking realisation is the fact that messy government datasets can become stories which are able to inform the participants, reveal illegal activities or public policy options, and inspire new ideas.

How can we make data storytelling in Tanzania and Serbia more sustainable?

The She Codes for Change team has launched weekly Scratch trainings in Mid-March, which incorporates open data to help our beneficiaries to identify the challenges, and use the data/information available to design and produce products to satisfy the market needs. These trainings are carried out on Tuesday and Thursday of every week. Startit’s blog team is currently in the process of writing blog posts about each of the Datathon participating team projects. We hope these stories will not only motivate the wider public to use open datasets, but also think beyond their messiness and incompleteness, as well as combine them with other data in innovative ways. Additionally, we hope future Datathons will continue to inspire data scientists and enthusiasts to use data visualization for storytelling.

Winning project in Startit’s Datathon – Realistic and abstract map of illegally placed betting shops in Belgrade

Data for stories, maps and education

These two initiatives in. Their outputs may have been different as She Codes for Change resulted in data driven animations, while Startit’s Datathon created data visualizations which sought to reveal illegalities, optimize policies or inform a wider audience. She Codes for Change’s goal was achieved and as a result of the training they were able to create five animation videos that are data driven and informative on the gender, education and health matters. The Open Data Day training has also enabled us to create a platform of motivated young girls to create innovative solutions to the community challenges, hence providing an opportunity for them to raise their voices. As the number of open datasets available to the public in Serbia increases, Startit plans to enable teams of young data scientists to use the power of data storytelling to continue informing and educating the wider public on the relevance and impact of data.

Author bio’s

Rehema Mtandika is a Director of Innovation at She Codes for Change. For over three years she has been working with youths and women in areas of gender empowerment through ICT and innovation, youth engagement in the social-economic development, access to quality education, access to data and information, good governance and peace and security. Katarina Kosmina is the Programme Coordinator at SEE ICT, in charge of developing and organizing programs for 8 Startit Centers across Serbia. These programmes range from programming robots for girls or IoT workshops for high schoolers, thematic hackathons, meetups and workshops for individuals in the IT sector, as well as acceleration programs and data or IP clinics for startups. Our goal is to bring quality and free informal education, as well inspire and empower Serbian youth to enter the IT sector and continue expanding their knowledge and skills. Katarina’s passion for open data and data driven decision-making has led to an increased number in programs which aim at raising the level of data literacy in Serbia.

2017 Summer Camp dispatch #1: Thank You

- October 3, 2017 in Event report, tanzania

image alt text School of Data’s 2017 Summer Camp has reached an end and was, by most metrics, a resounding success! This is especially when one considers the leap of faith we took on several aspects: the first three days included a new mix of sessions, which we tried to broadcast live; the last 2 days featured an Open Training section with 70 (!) participants, which required its own dedicated event planning to make it work; the full camp was documented on a live agenda allowing for remote following and contribution. The secret in making it work was to rely both on the skills of our staff and the power of our network. A round of thanks is consequently in order: Joachim Mangilima, who has been School of Data’s conductor on the ground throughout the Summer Camp, and was able to produce the work of a full event team on his own; image alt text Photo by Juan Casanueva, SocialTIC Our own Meg Foulkes, who was the second magician working behind the scenes and who made sure, among other key contributions, that School of Data network members reached and left Tanzania safely; SocialTIC, longtime School of Data network member and partner, who brought the Latin American team to the Summer Camp; the IREX team, who has been involved from the very beginning and helped make the Open Training with YALI Fellows a reality; image alt text The Data Collaboratives for Local Impact teams, who took responsibility for a huge part of the logistics involved in the Open Training, from the set up of the training space to the amazing barbecue! And finally, of course, the dozens of participants from the combined networks of School of Data, DCLI, dLab and Data Zetu who all contributed to make this event a success. image alt text A thousand times thank you! Flattr this!

Building an Open Data Ecosystem in Tanzania with trainings and stakeholder engagement

- August 14, 2016 in community, Event report, tanzania

Open data is often defined as a product: events, portals, hackathons, and so on. But what does the process of opening data look like? In Tanzania, among many other things, it’s a gradual, iterative process of building capacity in Tanzanian government, civil society and infomediaries to manage, publish and use open data. Of late, the open data scene in Tanzania has been growing from strength to strength. image alt text Participants in an open data training session related to the Tanzanian health sector The following milestones are testimony to this growth:
  • last September, Tanzania hosted the first ever Africa Open Data Conference (AODC).

  • the drafting of the country’s open data policy ,which is in the final stages of government approval before it can be passed as policy.
  • formation of the Code for Tanzania chapter,which, among others, will spearhead establishment of local chapters of the global Hacks/Hackers community, as well as a flagship civic technology ‘CitizenLab’, with a core team of software engineers, data analysts and digital journalists, who will work with local newsrooms and social justice NGOs.
  • the establishment of Tanzania Data Lab (Dlab), serving as an anchor for the Data Collaboratives for Local Impact (DCLI) programme, which aims at enabling data analysis and advocating for its prominent use in Tanzanian governmental decision-making. Since the exciting news broke that Tanzania will be joining the Global Data Partnership, the DLab has also started working with the Tanzania National Bureau of Statistics, and other stakeholders, to support the process of assessing what data is needed to drive progress, as defined in the Global Data Partnership Roadmap and, ultimately, leverage the data revolution to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Tanzania Open Data Initiative

June and April saw another round of training organised under the Tanzania Open Data Initiative (TODI) umbrella, geared towards Tanzanian government agencies covering three key sectors: Education, Health and Water. These are collaborative sessions, tailored towards civil servants working with data related to these sectors, which have been running for three straight years since 2014. They focus on building skills about data-management, cleaning, visualizing and publishing data, open data principles for navigating the legal and professional challenges of managing open data innovation and communicating results to a wider audience. Often, these sessions produce as many questions as answers – “How precisely do we define ‘access to water’ in rural areas?” or “What does an ‘average passing rate’ really mean?” – but this is encouraged. Indeed, we’re already noticing that a primary beneficiary of open data initiatives is the government itself. Although conventionally billed as a tool for citizens, open data can also be a powerful mechanism to reduce frictions among the multitude of ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) of a government. One notable difference between these rounds in April and June, and previous ones, was that there were a few selected participants from civil society in attendance. This enriched the quality of discussion which resulted in increased engagement of all participants during the sessions: their presence facilitated sharing of experiences for mutual understanding, thereby collaboration between the government and civil society.

Open Data in a day

June’s week-long sessions culminated in an “open data in a day” event at Buni Hub, which for the very first time had a strong focus on media and technology developers. It was amazing seeing the enthusiasm and the level of interaction of this group and how excited they were to put into action key takeaways from the session. image alt text Participants from the media and technology industry at the Open Data in a Day event at Buni Hub. These activities are testimony of the progress that Tanzania is making in the open data arena and, with similar activities planned for the future, there is good reason to expect the country’s open data ecosystem to experience further growth in strength and quality.
Event name: Tanzania Open Data Initiative
Event type: Workshop
Event theme: Open data in practice
Description: Training organized under Tanzania Open Data initiative collaboratively between National Bureau of Statistics and E-Government Agency supported by the World Bank tailored towards civil servants working with data
Trainers: Dave Tarrant ,Emil Kimaryo, Joachim Mangilima, John Paul Barreto
Partners: Open Data Institute (ODI)
Location: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Date: 7th – 14th June 2016
Audience: Statisticians, Economists and data managers from ministries and government agencies for the first two sessions and journalists, start ups developers and civil society for the third session
Number of attendees 95 across the three sessions
Gender split: almost 50/50
Duration: 6 days
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Education Data Dive in Tanzania

- November 10, 2014 in Data Expeditions, datadive, education, Events, tanzania

We recently had a round of training in Dar es Salaam to continue growing momentum and capacity around open data in Tanzania, which is part of a bigger commitment by the Tanzanian government to the Open Government Partnership (OGP), a global initiative that aims at promoting transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption and encourage use of new technologies to improve governance. In Tanzania this commitment covers three main sectors: education, health and water. “Open Data Training: Education Data Dive” workshop was held on 6-10 October 2014, in Dar Es Salaam, with representatives from Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MoEVT), Prime Minister’s Office- Regional Administration and Local Government, National Examination Council of Tanzania (NECTA), E-Government Agency (EGA), National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and National Council of Technical Education (NACTE), Tanzania Education Authority and other institutions.
Group photo for training in Dar es Salaam

Group photo for training in Dar es Salaam

This was my first time co-facilitating a workshop of this kind as a School of Data Fellow in Tanzania. And it was a fantastic opportunity for me to sharpen my facilitation skills and also to learn from other facilitators, including the main facilitator and a more experienced among us all, Michael Bauer from the School of Data. It was a wonderful thing seeing all these government agencies responsible for education, in one room, learning and sharing from one another, which even by their own admission is very rare situation. When we were preparing for this workshop we knew that there is an existing expertise and knowledge about specific education datasets, but the challenge is mainly in letting other agencies know this so that they can be able to collaborate between themselves. It was fitting then that we had several datasets from some of the agencies that we used during our workshop to bring participants to a common understanding of open data concepts, teach and practice data wrangling skills and clean and join key datasets that some of them were already familiar with. We started the workshop by focusing on developing a common understanding of open data and data management with concepts such as improving usability of already available public data providing better metadata and improving data workflows, to open licensing of data. Then we proceeded to introduction of various tools for data cleaning, analysis and visualization, including Open Refine, QGIS, Fusion Tables and Pivot Tables. This was the first time that most of the participants were using these tools, and they were excited to see how these tools opened up a world of possibilities that they did not know that existed with the datasets that they are working with often. An example was clearly illustrated by one participant from the PMO-RALG who was glad to have discovered Pivot Tables, as most of the tasks that he is working on most datasets would be simplified a lot using Pivot Tables skills. These practical hands on sessions were met with enthusiasm by all participants, and despite dedicating two full days, they were still up to spending more time cleaning, merging, analyzing and visualizing their datasets using these tools.
Brainstorming during the workshop

Brainstorming during the workshop

One major discussion that resonated throughout the workshop and how these agencies through working together might be able to come up with solutions about this , was the lack of unique codes that can be used to identify schools by different education stakeholders when dealing with education datasets containing schools. Most participants were of the agreement that merging data sets and coming up with analysis and visualizations during the workshop, would have been much easier, if we had unique codes used by every agency whose data sets were used during the workshop. The latter part of the workshop was mainly spent, collecting feedback about the workshop and jointly plan the way forward for the implementation of what participants learned in their daily workflows. The follow up plan was drafted in which we will have a bi–weekly sessions with some of the participants to work together to implement what they learned during the workshop and also to revise various techniques about the tools learned and to dive deep into techniques we could not cover during the workshop.
Post-it notes from the workshop

Post-it notes from the workshops

The highlight for me of this workshop was the informal discussions that participants were having during breaks in which most of them were of the agreement that Open Data initiatives need not be seen as a foreign based concept imposed on Tanzania, but rather Tanzanians themselves need to see the benefits and take ownership of this concept. flattr this!