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Youth Data Champions: Empowerment, Leadership and Data

- October 2, 2018 in nepal, OK Nepal, Open Data, training

This post was jointly written by Shubham Ghimire, Chief Operating Officer and Nikesh Balami, Chief Executive Officer of Open Knowledge Nepal as a part of the Youth Empowerment, Youth Leadership and Data Workshop. It has been reposted from the Open Knowledge Nepal blog. This summer,  the PAHICHAN – Youth Empowerment, Youth Leadership and Data workshop was conducted in 6 districts of 3 different provinces of Nepal, where more than 126  energetic youths were trained and sensitized on the concept of open data. The aim was to create a network of young data leaders who will lead and support the development of their communities through the use of open data as evidence for youth-led and data-driven development. The three days in-house workshop were conducted in Itahari, Bhojpur, Butwal, Nepalgunj, Dhangadhi and Dadeldhura from 12th July to 14th August 2018. During the 3 days workshop, the participants were informed about concepts of youth rights, leadership skills, and were oriented about the use of open data, visualization and mapping as evidence to tackle issues in their community. The session about youth empowerment and leadership was facilitated by the YUWA team and the hands-on workshop on data, visualization and mapping were facilitated by Open Knowledge Nepal, Nepali in Data and NAXA. The team was accompanied by the representative of the Data for Development Program in Nepal and local partners. The following local partners helped in coordination in organizing a residential workshop successfully:
Districts Local Partner
Itahari Youth Development Centre Itahari
Bhojpur HEEHURLDE-Nepal
Butwal Rotaract Club of Butwal
Nepalgunj Cheers Creative Nepal – CCN and District Youth Club Network
Dhangadi Far West Multipurpose Center
Dadeldhura Social Unity Club

Open Knowledge Nepal’s Session at PAHICHAN – Youth Empowerment, Youth Leadership and Data Workshop

On the first day of the workshop, Open Knowledge Nepal delivered a session on ‘Open Data in Nepal’, where the history, current situation, definition, importance, working methodology and different open data initiatives from government, CSOs and private sectors were included. On the second day after the orientation about data-driven brainstorming, participants were divided into groups and each group was asked to come up with a problem in their community. Then the groups started working on their identified issues where they explored existing data of the problems, hidden opportunities and probable solutions using data, the challenges, impact, and identification of stakeholders to solve the raised issue. On the final day, the participants further worked in two groups to plan evidence-based campaigns on the issues they have worked on in the second day. Most of the groups planned to do awareness campaigns by making use of data, infographics, and maps. Each group was provided with seed money of NPR 7500  to implement their action plan within one month. We realized the data-driven brainstorming session was very fruitful for the young participants and definitely helped them in understanding local community issues through the use of open data. Now, these participants can easily plan and conduct small impactful projects,  evidence-based action plans, and campaigns with limited resources. A list of issues which were selected for the brainstorming session:
Districts Community Issues
Itahari Illiteracy, Unemployment, Substance Abuse, Caste Discrimination, Pollution
Bhojpur Quality Education, Migration, Physical Infrastructure, Gender Discrimination, Unemployment
Butwal Substance Abuse, Quality Education
Nepalgunj Substance Abuse, Cleanness
Dhangadi Youth Unemployment, Substance Abuse
Dadeldhura Good Governance, Substance Abuse (Alcohol Consumption)

Project Impact

  • Human Resources: The increase in the data demanding human resources, who can now understand and use the available data to tackle the local issues of their community.
  • Data Champions: All the 126 youth data champions are now capable of effectively planning and running evidence-based action plans and campaigns in their community.
  • Community Projects: The campaigns/projects led by each team on the community issues are making a difference in the community by awareness and advocacy through the use of infographics, mapping, and open data.
  • Future: We can mobilize these youth data champions for awareness and advocacy campaigns at the local level.

Major Takeaway

  • Digital Divide: In urban areas like Itahari, Butwal, and Nepalgunj most of the participants have the basic understanding of the overall topics but participants from the peri-urban region like Bhojpur, Dhangadhi, and Dadeldhura were not familiar about the topics and it was difficult for most of them to understand the subject.
  • Female Participation: One of the positive factors is that the female participation rate is higher than the male. Participants were energetic, enthusiastic and curious throughout the workshop.
  • Access to Internet: Due to the lack of internet facility in peri-urban areas, a lot of things were left unexplored.
  • Continuity: Many participants requested to organize similar kinds of events and hands-on workshop frequently. The workshop has definitely helped in strengthening the demand side of the data.
  • Practical Implementation: Participants learned the importance of evidence-based action plans and data-driven campaigns and development, but more of these kinds of the workshop are needed to teach them about the practical implementation.

Lesson Learned

  • Educational diversity of participants: We realized that most of the participants were from the same background. It would be better if there were participants from different backgrounds.
  • Onsite improvisation: We had to adjust and improvise our presentations and sessions according to the understanding level of the participants.
  • Digital literacy: You need to have a basic knowledge of technology to understand the use and value of data, visualizations, and mapping. But we felt that most of the participants in peri-urban areas lack the basic understanding. So we think it may not have been that much fruitful for them.
  The workshop was organized by YUWA and Data for Development in Nepal in coordination with Nepal in Data, Open Knowledge Nepal and NAXA, funded by UK Department for International Development implemented by The Asia Foundation and Development Initiatives.

Youth Data Champions: Empowerment, Leadership and Data

- October 2, 2018 in nepal, OK Nepal, Open Data, training

This post was jointly written by Shubham Ghimire, Chief Operating Officer and Nikesh Balami, Chief Executive Officer of Open Knowledge Nepal as a part of the Youth Empowerment, Youth Leadership and Data Workshop. It has been reposted from the Open Knowledge Nepal blog. This summer,  the PAHICHAN – Youth Empowerment, Youth Leadership and Data workshop was conducted in 6 districts of 3 different provinces of Nepal, where more than 126  energetic youths were trained and sensitized on the concept of open data. The aim was to create a network of young data leaders who will lead and support the development of their communities through the use of open data as evidence for youth-led and data-driven development. The three days in-house workshop were conducted in Itahari, Bhojpur, Butwal, Nepalgunj, Dhangadhi and Dadeldhura from 12th July to 14th August 2018. During the 3 days workshop, the participants were informed about concepts of youth rights, leadership skills, and were oriented about the use of open data, visualization and mapping as evidence to tackle issues in their community. The session about youth empowerment and leadership was facilitated by the YUWA team and the hands-on workshop on data, visualization and mapping were facilitated by Open Knowledge Nepal, Nepali in Data and NAXA. The team was accompanied by the representative of the Data for Development Program in Nepal and local partners. The following local partners helped in coordination in organizing a residential workshop successfully:
Districts Local Partner
Itahari Youth Development Centre Itahari
Bhojpur HEEHURLDE-Nepal
Butwal Rotaract Club of Butwal
Nepalgunj Cheers Creative Nepal – CCN and District Youth Club Network
Dhangadi Far West Multipurpose Center
Dadeldhura Social Unity Club

Open Knowledge Nepal’s Session at PAHICHAN – Youth Empowerment, Youth Leadership and Data Workshop

On the first day of the workshop, Open Knowledge Nepal delivered a session on ‘Open Data in Nepal’, where the history, current situation, definition, importance, working methodology and different open data initiatives from government, CSOs and private sectors were included. On the second day after the orientation about data-driven brainstorming, participants were divided into groups and each group was asked to come up with a problem in their community. Then the groups started working on their identified issues where they explored existing data of the problems, hidden opportunities and probable solutions using data, the challenges, impact, and identification of stakeholders to solve the raised issue. On the final day, the participants further worked in two groups to plan evidence-based campaigns on the issues they have worked on in the second day. Most of the groups planned to do awareness campaigns by making use of data, infographics, and maps. Each group was provided with seed money of NPR 7500  to implement their action plan within one month. We realized the data-driven brainstorming session was very fruitful for the young participants and definitely helped them in understanding local community issues through the use of open data. Now, these participants can easily plan and conduct small impactful projects,  evidence-based action plans, and campaigns with limited resources. A list of issues which were selected for the brainstorming session:
Districts Community Issues
Itahari Illiteracy, Unemployment, Substance Abuse, Caste Discrimination, Pollution
Bhojpur Quality Education, Migration, Physical Infrastructure, Gender Discrimination, Unemployment
Butwal Substance Abuse, Quality Education
Nepalgunj Substance Abuse, Cleanness
Dhangadi Youth Unemployment, Substance Abuse
Dadeldhura Good Governance, Substance Abuse (Alcohol Consumption)

Project Impact

  • Human Resources: The increase in the data demanding human resources, who can now understand and use the available data to tackle the local issues of their community.
  • Data Champions: All the 126 youth data champions are now capable of effectively planning and running evidence-based action plans and campaigns in their community.
  • Community Projects: The campaigns/projects led by each team on the community issues are making a difference in the community by awareness and advocacy through the use of infographics, mapping, and open data.
  • Future: We can mobilize these youth data champions for awareness and advocacy campaigns at the local level.

Major Takeaway

  • Digital Divide: In urban areas like Itahari, Butwal, and Nepalgunj most of the participants have the basic understanding of the overall topics but participants from the peri-urban region like Bhojpur, Dhangadhi, and Dadeldhura were not familiar about the topics and it was difficult for most of them to understand the subject.
  • Female Participation: One of the positive factors is that the female participation rate is higher than the male. Participants were energetic, enthusiastic and curious throughout the workshop.
  • Access to Internet: Due to the lack of internet facility in peri-urban areas, a lot of things were left unexplored.
  • Continuity: Many participants requested to organize similar kinds of events and hands-on workshop frequently. The workshop has definitely helped in strengthening the demand side of the data.
  • Practical Implementation: Participants learned the importance of evidence-based action plans and data-driven campaigns and development, but more of these kinds of the workshop are needed to teach them about the practical implementation.

Lesson Learned

  • Educational diversity of participants: We realized that most of the participants were from the same background. It would be better if there were participants from different backgrounds.
  • Onsite improvisation: We had to adjust and improvise our presentations and sessions according to the understanding level of the participants.
  • Digital literacy: You need to have a basic knowledge of technology to understand the use and value of data, visualizations, and mapping. But we felt that most of the participants in peri-urban areas lack the basic understanding. So we think it may not have been that much fruitful for them.
  The workshop was organized by YUWA and Data for Development in Nepal in coordination with Nepal in Data, Open Knowledge Nepal and NAXA, funded by UK Department for International Development implemented by The Asia Foundation and Development Initiatives.

Apply Now! School of Data’s 2018 Fellowship Programme

- April 17, 2018 in data literacy, School of Data, School of Data Fellows, training

This blog has been reposted from the School of Data blog 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. Apply for the Fellowship Programme

The Fellowship

School of Data works to empower civil society organisations, journalists and citizens with the skills they need to use data effectively in their efforts to create more equitable and effective societies. 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 programme will run from May to January 2019, and entail up to 10 days a month of time. Fellows will receive a monthly stipend of $1,000 USD a month to cover for their work. 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.

Sensitizing Nepal’s digital natives: Open Data Awareness Program announced

- October 30, 2017 in nepal, network updates, OK Nepal, Open Knowledge Network, training

To support Nepal’s growing open data movement and increase its network of data-savvy practitioners, Open Knowledge Nepal has announced the Open Data Awareness Program, which aims to sensitize more than 300+ students and youth from seven districts. The Open Data Awareness Program aims to raise awareness about the concept and usage of open data to Nepal’s digital natives, who are the current youth population and the potential future decision-makers and leaders of Nepal. As part of the program, hands-on training sessions are being organized at different colleges and youth organizations, where participants will be provided with a compiled Open Data Manual to aid their understanding of open data. After the conclusion of the all the workshops at different colleges, a hackathon event will be organized in Kathmandu, bringing together selected participants from colleges and youth organizations where the training sessions were held to work collaboratively on opening up data currently in a closed format. At the hackathon event, the participants will share their experiences of learning and working with open data and discuss ways to engage more young people in the open data movement in Nepal. The awareness program is also an opportunity for increased civic awareness and engagement and participatory governance. The program hopes to make the open data momentum in Nepal stronger, especially among the youth population.  Through the sessions, the understanding and the chances of the youth population joining the open data ecosystem will increase, helping groom Nepal’s future leaders and decision-makers to be data-driven. The ongoing work and data-driven initiatives conducted by different organizations will also reach more people through this program. As a result of the program, a significant number of human resources will become aware regarding the current data revolution in Nepal. More importantly, the program will help improve the chances of more open data startups and initiatives emerging in the near future. Likewise, an increased capacity and awareness of open data in Nepal’s present and future generation will also help to increase the potential for open-data-informed development decisions and accountability of responsible bodies. The objective of the awareness program is to make the youth of Nepal more aware of the benefits of open data, to fill in the gap of data literacy and to better prepare young people for a rapidly changing data scenario. Through the program, the university students and youths will be empowered to:
  • Use open data for research and new projects
  • Conduct data analysis and reporting
  • Use new data tools and programming languages
  • Build innovative solutions to tackle development challenges
Throughout workshops, participants will discuss:
  • What is open data and why it is of importance
  • The background and history of open data
  • Open data sources and stories
  • Technical processes to extract, analyze, clean and visualize the available data in Nepal
The awareness program will be based on the Open Data Curriculum and the Open Data Manual, both prepared by Open Knowledge Nepal as a reference and recommended a guide for university students, civil society, and the private sector. This project is supported by the Data for Development Programme, implemented by The Asia Foundation in partnership with Development Initiatives, with funding from the UK Department for International Development to improve the sharing and use of data as evidence for development in Nepal. For more project updates regarding workshops, hackathon and resources, please visit the project webpage: odap.oknp.org

Rethinking data literacy: how useful is your 2-day training?

- July 14, 2017 in research, training

As of July 2017, School of Data’s network includes 14 organisations around the world which collectively participate to organise hundreds of data literacy events every year. The success of this network-based strategy did not come naturally: we had to rethink and move away from our MOOC-like strategy in 2013 in order to be more relevant to the journalists and civil society organisations we intend to reach. In 2016 we did the same for our actual events.

The downside of short-term events

Prominent civic tech members have long complained about the ineffectiveness of hackathons to build long-lasting solutions for the problems they intended to tackle. Yet various reasons have kept the hackathon popular: it’s short-term, can produce decent-looking prototypes, and is well-known even beyond civic tech circles. The above stays true for the data literacy movement and its most common short-term events: meetups, data and drinks, one-day trainings, two-day workshops… they’re easy to run, fund and promote: what’s not to love? Well, we’ve never really been satisfied with the outcomes we saw of these events, especially for our flagship programme, the Fellowship, which we monitor very closely and aim to improve every year. Following several rounds of surveys and interviews with members of the School of Data network, we were able to pinpoint the issue: our expectations and the actual value of these events are mismatched, leading us not to take critical actions that would multiply the value of these events.

The Data Literacy Activity Matrix

To clarify our findings, we put the most common interventions (not all of them are events, strictly speaking) in a matrix, highlighting our key finding that duration is a crucial variable. And this makes sense for several reasons:
  • Fewer people can participate in a longer event, but those who can are generally more committed to the event’s goals

  • Longer events have much more time to develop their content and explore the nuances of it
  • Especially in the field of data literacy, which is focused on capacity building, time and repetition are key to positive outcomes
Data Literacy Activity Matrix (the categories used to group event formats are based on our current thinking of what makes a data literacy leader: it underpins the design of our Fellowship programme.)

Useful for what?

The matrix allowed us to think critically about the added value of each subcategory of intervention. What is the effective impact of an organisation doing mostly short-term training events compared to another one focusing on long-term content creation? Drawing again from the interviews we’ve done and some analysis of the rare post-intervention surveys and reports we could access (another weakness of the field), we came to the following conclusions:
  • very short-term and short-term activities are mostly valuable for awareness-raising and community-building.

  • real skill-building happens through medium to long-term interventions
  • content creation is best focused on supporting skill-building interventions and data-driven projects (rather than hoping that people come to your content and learn by themselves)
  • data-driven projects (run in collaboration with your beneficiaries) are the ones creating the clearest impact (but not necessarily the longest lasting).
Data Literacy Matrix - Value Added It is important, though, not to set short-term and long-term interventions in opposition. Not only can the difference be fuzzy (a long term intervention can be a series of regular, linked, short term events, for example) but both play roles of critical importance: who is going to apply to a data training if people are not aware of the importance of data? Conversely, recognising the specific added value of each intervention requires also to act in consequence: we advise against organising short-term events without establishing a community engagement strategy to sustain the event’s momentum. In hindsight, all of the above may sound obvious. But it mostly is relevant from the perspective of the beneficiary. Coming from the point of the view of the organisation running a data literacy programme, the benefit/cost is defined differently. For example, short-term interventions are a great way to find one’s audience, get new trainers to find their voice, and generate press cheaply. Meanwhile, long-term interventions are costly and their outcomes are harder to measure: is it really worth it to focus on training only 10 people for several months, when the same financial investment can bring hundreds of people to one-day workshops? Even when the organisation can see the benefits, their funders may not. In a field where sustainability is still a complicated issue many organisations face, long-term actions are not a priority.

Next steps

School of Data has taken steps to apply these learnings to its programmes.
  • The Curriculum programme, which initially focused on the production and maintenance of online content available on our website has been expanded to include offline trainings during our annual event, the Summer Camp, and online skillshares throughout the year;

  • Our recommendations to members regarding their interventions systematically refer to the data literacy matrix in order for them to understand the added value of their work;
  • Our Data Expert programme has been designed to include both data-driven project work and medium-term training of beneficiaries, differentiating it further from straightforward consultancy work.
We have also identified three directions in which we can research this topic further:
  • Mapping existing interventions: the number, variety and quality of data literacy interventions is increasing every year, but so far no effort has been made to map them, in order to identify the strengths and gaps of the field.
  • Investigating individual subgroups: the matrix is a good starting point for interrogating best practices and concrete outcomes in each of the subgroups, in order to provide more granular recommendations to the actors of the field and the designing of new intervention models.
  • Exploring thematic relevance: the audience, goals and constraints of, say, data journalism interventions, differ substantially from those of the interventions undertaken within the extractives data community. Further research would be useful to see how they differ to develop topic-relevant recommendations.
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What skills do you need to become a data-driven storyteller? Join a week-long data journalism training #ddjcamp

- September 2, 2016 in Events, training, visualization

This post is written by Anastasia Valeeva, data journalist and member of Open Knowledge Russia, one of the local groups in the Open Knowledge Network. European Youth Press is organising a week-long intensive training on data journalism funded by Erasmus+. It is aimed at young journalists, developers and human rights activists from 11 countries: Czech Republic, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Sweden, Armenia, Ukraine, Montenegro, Slovakia, Denmark or Latvia. Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 12.16.55

Together we will explore how to create a data-driven story step-by-step.

If you have always wanted to learn more about what it means to be a data-driven storyteller, then this is an opportunity not to miss! Our course was designed with wanna-be data journalists in mind and for people who have been following others’ work in this area but are looking to learn more about actually making a story themselves. Modern journalism now requires considerable cross-border communication and collaboration. Examples of TheMigrantsFiles and Panama papers are impressive; but how do you become part of such teams?

In this course, we are combining best practices of learning and doing.

You will have classes and workshops along the data pipeline: where to get the data, what to do to make it ‘clean’, and how to find a story in the data. In parallel to the training, you will work in teams and produce a real story that will be published in the national media of one of the participating countries. The general topic of all the stories produced has been chosen as migration/refugees. Data journalism has a reputation to be a more objective kind of journalism, opposed to ‘he said – she said’ narratives. However, there is still great potential to explore data-driven stories about migrants and the effects of migration around the world. Praising the refugee hunters as national heroes; beating international journalists together with migrants; sentimental pleas with a short-time effect – those are few examples of media coverage of the refugee crisis. The backlash so far to these narratives has mostly been further distrust in the media. What are the ways out of it? We want to produce more data-driven balanced stories on migrants. For this training, we are inviting prominent researchers and experts in the field of migration. They will help us with relevant datasets and knowledge. We will not fix the world, but we can make a little change together. So, if you are between 18 and 30 years old and come from Czech Republic, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Sweden, Armenia, Ukraine, Montenegro, Slovakia, Denmark or Latvia, don’t wait – apply now (deadline is 11 Sept): http://www.youthpress.org/call-participants-data-driven-journalism/ Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 12.16.29

Heads up for the first data journalism agency in Macedonia!

- December 3, 2015 in Data Journalism, data pipeline, FCO, Macedonia, metamorphosis, Skopje, training

Developer Baze Petrushev showed participants how to use the Normal Distribution to find stories in data

Developer Baze Petrushev showed participants how to use the Normal Distribution to find stories in data (Dona Dzambaska – CC-by-sa 3.0)

Data journalism in Macedonia just got a lot stronger: a group of journalists and programmers started what could become the first data-journalism agency in the country. The group was part of the two-day workshop organised by folks at School of Data Macedonia, from member organisation Metamorphosis Foundation, as part of the ongoing support the British Embassy is providing in the region.
Journalists, programmers and data enthusiasts got together in Skopje to talk about data journalism in Macedonia (Dona Dzambaska - CC-by-sa 3.0)

Journalists, programmers and data enthusiasts got together in Skopje to talk about data journalism in Macedonia (Dona Dzambaska – CC-by-sa 3.0)

The rainy weekend (November 28th & 29th) didn’t stop 17 journalists from getting together to learn the basics of the Data Pipeline: getting, cleaning, validating, analysing and presenting data for different audiences. The workshop included groups activities and hands-on sessions with tools such as OpenRefine, for data cleaning, Google Sheets, for analysis and IFTTT for scraping. Goran Rizaov, 2015 School of Data Fellow in Macedonia was one of the trainers and organisers of the training experience. We also had the support from senior fellow (2014) Dona Dzambaska, who took amazing pictures and gave general help during the sessions.
Participants went through groups sessions and hands-on training about a variety of tools that are useful for working with data in journalism (Dona Dzambaska - CC-by-sa 3.0)

Participants went through groups sessions and hands-on training about a variety of tools that are useful for working with data in journalism (Dona Dzambaska – CC-by-sa 3.0)

Even with such a short time together, participants formed three groups and came up with prototypes of projects with great potential for the region. One of them will monitor the sporting habits of Macedonians on Twitter. “Our idea is to use hashtags and the social media API to analyse many variables, such as time of the day, the weather, which activity people are doing at the moment of the tweet, their mood, age, gender etc”, said journo-coder Bozidar Hristov, one of the members of the group. Another group wanted to take a look at the data about the turnout in Macedonian elections, using data analysis to draw conclusions about all of the regions in the country. “We’re wondering if the turnout rate has anything to do with the geographical location”, said the developer and data-wrangler Baze Petrushev.
The group will pursue the project of setting up the first data-journalism agency in Macedonia (Dona Dzambaska - CC-by-sa 3.0)

The group will pursue the project of setting up the first data-journalism agency in Macedonia (Dona Dzambaska – CC-by-sa 3.0)

Adriana Mijuskovic and Ivana Kostovska want to start a data journalism agency in Skopje to help newsrooms publish data-driven stories. “We also want to create opportunities for journalists and programmers to work together in projects with macedonian data, also in cooperation with other networks in the Balkans”, said Adriana. The project was welcomed by the whole group and they will meet again in the coming weeks to plan next steps. Flattr this!

Tips for teaching/training on data skills

- August 29, 2014 in community, data expedition, education, HowTo, training

(photo of Ignasi, Olu and Ketty by Heather Leson, July 2014 (CC-by))

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(photo of Ignasi, Olu and Ketty by Heather Leson, July 2014 (CC-by))

You probably have a skill or knowledge that others would love to acquire… but teaching can be intimidating. Fear not! In this post, we will share a few tips from the School of Data network, which is filled with individuals who hold continuous trainings on all things data worldwide.

Prepare!
It’s not a great idea to improvise when you are frozen by stage fright, nor to realize in the middle of a workshop that you can’t continue as planned because you are missing materials. That’s why formal planning of each workshop can help. Here’s an example you could use.

Michael from School of Data in Berlin has a special piece of advice for your planning: “Be yourself! Find the teaching method you feel comfortable with (I like to do things ad-hoc, Anders prefers slides, e.g.)”

Also, maybe it’s a good idea to partner up. Cédric from School of Data in France makes a great point: “There are two essential things in a workshop: knowledge of methodology and knowledge of the subject. More often than not, it’s better to separate them between two people. One will make sure that the workshop goes smoothly, and the other will help individuals get past roadblocks”.

Be mindful of how you speak
Beyond what you say, the way you speak can have an impact on the success of your workshop. Michael (again) and Heather from School of Data in Toronto recommend that you try to speak a bit slower than you’re used to, with simple sentences, and avoiding jargon or descriptive metaphors.

Make it a friendly environment
Helping people feel comfortable and welcome is necessary in every educational setting. Happy from School of Data in the Philippines explains it: “The point is to keep it as trivial as possible so that people don’t feel intimidated by the skill level of others”.

Codrina from School of Data in Romania has a lot of experience here: she recommends not keeping it too serious, and rather make small jokes; also, “give a little pat on the back for those who ask questions”… And don’t forget to take breaks! Yuandra from School of Data in Indonesia reminds us of something crucial: refreshments and water. People won’t learn if they’re distracted by hunger.

Also, icebreakers. We all love icebreakers, and Olu from School of Data in Nigeria has these in mind.

Try to connect with your audience
We use this phrase a lot, but what does it mean? Ketty from School of Data in Uganda puts it in very practical terms: try to read the learner’s facial expressions for e.g. confusion/tiredness/intent. This will help you find the best ways to continue.

Also, Ketty adds, “sometimes you have to be flexible and allow the learners to change your program… A bit of a give & take approach”.

On a slightly different topic, but still related to your connection with the audience, Olu thinks your audience will be inspired to work harder in your workshop if you tell them stories of what data/open data can be used for. You can find some at the World Bank Open Data Blog, and here on School of Data.

Some other didactic considerations
Heather recommends that you repeat key things 3 times (but not right after each other – spread them throughout the workshop). Also, Codrina recommends repeating questions when they are asked so everyone can hear before the answer is given.

Another recommendation: If you have a really successful workshop, try to replicate it through other media. For example, run it on a hangout, write it out on a tutorial. Multiple content won’t be redundant – it will mean more and more people will have a chance to learn from it.

Happy has a great tip: “When you want to get the group to mingle and pair up (data analysts paired with visualizers, for example) one way to do it is to divide the group, 1 line for data analysts, another for visualizers. Then we ask them to line up according to a range of categories – from technical categories or something as simple as personal information, like the number of house they lived in during their childhood, for example”.

Make an effort to keep track of time and exactly how long you spend on each part, Cédric recommends, as this will help you plan for future trainings.

Communicate
Your audience may well be outside the room where you are doing the training. Cédric adds: “Sometimes good suggestions can come from social media platforms like Twitter, so if you have an audience there, you might want to share some updates during the event. People might answer with ideas, technical advice or more”.

Evaluate
The workshop was fun and people attended. But did they really learn?

Try to evaluate this learning through different methods. Was everyone able to complete the exercises? What did they respond that they learned in your ‘exit survey’? Did you get good responses to your last round of oral questions?

Olu kindly shared a couple of forms that can be used for this purpose both before and after the training. Feel free to use them!

A few resources shared by the School of Data community
Notes from the OKFest How to Teach Data Session (July 2014)
Aspiration Tech has great tips in their guides (via Heather)
PSFK on how people make/learn (via Heather)
Escuela de Datos on our Local LATAM training lessons learned

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Newsflash! OKFestival Programme Launches

- June 4, 2014 in Events, Featured, Free Culture, Join us, network, News, OKFest, OKFestival, Open Access, Open Data, Open Development, Open Economics, Open GLAM, Open Government Data, Open Humanities, Open Knowledge Foundation, Open Knowledge Foundation Local Groups, Open Research, Open Science, Open Spending, Open Standards, open-education, Panton Fellows, privacy, Public Domain, training, Transparency, Working Groups

At last, it’s here! Check out the details of the OKFestival 2014 programme – including session descriptions, times and facilitator bios here! Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 4.11.42 PM

We’re using a tool called Sched to display the programme this year and it has several great features. Firstly, it gives individual session organisers the ability to update the details on the session they’re organising; this includes the option to add slides or other useful material. If you’re one of the facilitators we’ll be emailing you to give you access this week.

Sched also enables every user to create their own personalised programme to include the sessions they’re planning to attend. We’ve also colour-coded the programme to help you when choosing which conversations you want to follow: the Knowledge stream is blue, the Tools stream is red and the Society stream is green. You’ll also notice that there are a bunch of sessions in purple which correspond to the opening evening of the festival when we’re hosting an Open Knowledge Fair. We’ll be providing more details on what to expect from that shortly!

Another way to search the programme is by the subject of the session – find these listed on the right hand side of the main schedule – just click on any of them to see a list of sessions relevant to that subject.

As you check out the individual session pages, you’ll see that we’ve created etherpads for each session where notes can be taken and shared, so don’t forget to keep an eye on those too. And finally; to make the conversations even easier to follow from afar using social media, we’re encouraging session organisers to create individual hashtags for their sessions. You’ll find these listed on each session page.

We received over 300 session suggestions this year – the most yet for any event we’ve organised – and we’ve done our best to fit in as many as we can. There are 66 sessions packed into 2.5 days, plus 4 keynotes and 2 fireside chats. We’ve also made space for an unconference over the 2 core days of the festival, so if you missed out on submitting a proposal, there’s still a chance to present your ideas at the event: come ready to pitch! Finally, the Open Knowledge Fair has added a further 20 demos – and counting – to the lineup and is a great opportunity to hear about more projects. The Programme is full to bursting, and while some time slots may still change a little, we hope you’ll dive right in and start getting excited about July!

We think you’ll agree that Open Knowledge Festival 2014 is shaping up to be an action-packed few days – so if you’ve not bought your ticket yet, do so now! Come join us for what will be a memorable 2014 Festival!

See you in Berlin! Your OKFestival 2014 Team

Open Data 1-day training on 28 March

- February 25, 2014 in Open Data, Open Government Data, training

The Open Knowledge Foundation will be re-running its one-day Introduction to Open Data on Friday 28 March. Local governments and other organisations are looking at how they can release data they hold – unleashing creativity from local entrepreneurs, researchers, journalists, third-sector organisations and citizens, and helping to build economic activity as well as accountability and trust. The Open Knowledge Foundation’s vision of a world where open data improves lives means its job is to help get data released and used. For example, it built the software that powers the UK government’s widely-copied data portal and many others. Its School of Data works to empower civil society organisations, journalists and citizens with the skills they need to use data effectively in their efforts to create more equitable and effective societies. The Introduction to Open Data aims to demystify the subject and give participants an understanding of the whats, whys and hows of the subject. The course is open to anyone who has an interest in Open Data in a professional capacity, and wants an introduction from one of the leading organisations in the field.

What will it cover?

The course will give an overview of the following: What is Open Data; kinds of data; Benefits of Open Data; regulatory requirements; data licensing; data quality and formats; an introduction to Linked Data; planning an Open Data project; data portals; publishing data; community engagement.

Who is it for?

The course is oriented towards organisations, such as local government councillors and officers, considering starting their own Open Data initiative. It could also be useful for organisations planning to work with or campaign for Open Data. It will be useful for those for whom Open Data is a bit of a mystery wanting to get an overview; decision makers who are supportive of the idea of Open Data, but need to understand what it will involve in technical terms; people responsible for the successful implementation of and Open Data project as well as staff who will be using or maintaing it, and anyone else interested in learning more about Open Data.

What do people say about it?

Feedback from the last session in December (above) include:
  • “A great introduction to the world of open data that’s left me keen to find out even more” Saira, ONE)
  • “Excellent overview of the key concepts regarding open data” (Jon Hill, London Borough of Barnet)
  • “Good introduction to the most important aspects of Open Data” (Laura Meggiolaro, International Land Coalition)
Other feedback included “A good overview that contained something for everyone in a diverse audience”; “Great session, great location, great participants!”; “A great introduction to the issue. Engaging delivery, more interesting than I expected!”

What do I need?

No technical or other background is needed – just an interest in learning more about Open Data.

Registration and cost

The price for the day is £250, and an early-bird price of £200 will apply to registrations by 7 March. To register, visit the signup page. If you can’t make the date, the course will be running again on 20 May. If you have any questions about the course, please contact training@okfn.org.

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