School of data in Mexico City!

Camila Salazar - July 21, 2015 in Data Expeditions, Event report, Fellowship, Workshop Methods

Data can be a powerful tool for NGOs that can help them improve their daily work. In order to teach these organizations ways to effectively use data, School of Data, Social Tic and colleague from Guatemala’s digital media Plaza Pública hosted a workshop on July 1st in the NGO Festival FITS in Mexico City.

Most of the participants didn’t have previous experience with open data so the idea of the workshop was to show them how to find information online or ask for it to public institutions; teach them simple analysis tools like pivot tables in Excel and give them an introduction to data visualization.

The 25 participants found the workshop interesting and were curious about more data trainings for the future.

Besides helping NGOs, data can be useful for journalism students, data science students, or even curious citizens interested in learning about open data. So we hosted another workshop on July 2nd in the TAG CDMX a huge event in Mexico City about technology.

School of data and Social Tic had two workshops and Data Expeditions with more than 70 participants across the two sessions. We taught data cleaning with Open Refine, data analysis with Excel and data visualization. All of this with public databases available online.

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The experience was really good since we had a really diverse audience that was interested in learning new things. We had positive feedback afterwards of participants that came to ask more questions about trainings and how could they get in touch with School of Data.

A good tip to remember is to have different activities prepared for workshops in big events, since you don’t know for sure what kind of audience is going to attend and you have to be able to adapt the contents.

Mexico City, with its big open data community and its many data-related projects, is an inspiring example for the open data community in Latin America.

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Data+Drinks : a meetup to engage the open data community in the South of Nigeria

Nkechi Okwuone - July 20, 2015 in Community, Data Blog, Data for CSOs, Fellowship

Data is now available online, but what next? This is the throbbing question on the mind of open data stakeholders, both from the supply and demand side of it.

landing 2As the the fight for transparency and accountability in government keeps going with the help of open data, Nigerians are doing their share and innovating in that area. New initiatives around open data, open government, open education, open access… are appearing in Nigeria. But people are still used to the traditional ways of getting the  government to listen to the citizens : unions, town hall meetings, protests, etc.

How do we connect with citizens, civil society organisations (CSOs), journalists, NGOs and entrepreneurs and get them to take advantage of the available data? Monitoring the way the government works, driving advocacy, improving their activities and in turn the economy are all potential benefits of making use of the data, but the message still need to be spread. Thankfully, as a 2015 School of Data fellow, I can tap into the great School of Data community of people working on improving data literacy.

So what did we do? Simple : Our first step was to organize a data meetup. Called “Data + Drinks”, it was aimed at raising awareness, mapping new and existing open data initiatives and assessing the needs of the community. We invited individual citizens, Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs), journalists,  and entrepreneurs. They are interested in solving social problems in agriculture, education and other areas, using data in their advocacy and journalism.

‘Have you heard of open data? Come and let’s talk about it’

On the 27th of June, the day of the event the organisers were tense as it had started raining and this was our first awareness event with no prize or certificate (like our usual hackathons and trainings). This time it was merely an informal talk about open data and its benefits. Yet, the enthusiasm and participation were impressive, as 56 people braved the rain to attend. Among them, 23% were CSOs and NGOs, 48% entrepreneurs and students, 5% Government representative and 2% journalists.

Members of the CSOs Members of the CSO

While 60% of them had heard of Open data, the 40% left had never heard of it. A few of them just walked into the event by pure curiosity: ‘what is this open data is about, is it a project or a tool?’

One of the participants, a well-known regional activist, wondered:

Why all the investment in collection and releasing of data and how does it affect me as an individual or change all the fundamental issues we have in Nigeria?”

As an answer to that question and many others, we took them through the journey of what open data is and its benefits to their various activity using both international and local success stories.

 

Mapping their interests and challenges

Participants documenting their interests and challenges.

Participants documenting their interests and challenges.

Of course stick-ons where involved! The participants documented their area of interest, their experience with data and the challenges they are facing working with it. They were generally more interested in how open data can help advocacy activities, improve the educational sector, help farmers and journalism. Many of them were unaware of the places where they could find the data they need, so data sourcing and collection was a major challenge. Another issue was working with data: analysing, visualizing and making use of it.

These findings helped us understand the community better and will help us design more focused trainings and engagements in the future.

Looking forward!

So far so good! Now that we had a successful first strike at breaking the ice, future open data hangouts promise to be better. We are going to address the challenges they shared with us. We grouped the participants following their areas of interest and will continue to share useful resources with them. A Data expedition will be organised in August and an open data party will follow in November. All these events are aimed at building a data literate community in Nigeria.  See more at #dataplusdrinks.

Our appreciation goes to OD4D, School of data, Connected development, Sabi hub and all the participants for making this a reality!

Meeting the participants

  • Chart made with Piktochart

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Data journalism in the Philippines: changing the open data landscape in the country

Marco Túlio Pires - July 13, 2015 in Data Journalism

IMG_2343 Transparency, accountability and open data in the Philippines have just become more palpable to citizens and journalists alike. Open Knowledge/School of Data joined forces with the World Bank and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) to launch a five-month training program for 34 journalists from 12 media organisations in the country. The program was kickstarted this morning in a convention in Manila, with strong support of the Philippine government.

The event gathered 87 people from all over the country and discussed the challenges and the potential collaboration efforts between civil society and the government to make the Philippines more transparent and accountable through open data. The panel was lead by Malou Mangahas, executive director of the PCIJ, who reflected on the timing and relevance of the program to the Philippines, because of the coming elections. “We’re facing big changes in leadership in the country and we need to think about the way we do conversations around public policies”, she said. “Data could be the narrative that binds us all”.

The Philippines has made remarkable efforts in recent years to open its data. In 2010 the government made a commitment to characterise itself by transparency and accountability, leading to its participation in the foundation of the Open Government Partnership in 2011 with seven other countries, including Brazil and the United States. Within the country, the most visible impact of that commitment was seen two years later with the creation of the Open Data Philippines and its Open Data Portal in the 2014. “The goal is to have more than 2000 datasets published by the end of this year”, said Usec Bon Moya, who leads the Open Data Task Force. Moya admits the number is still “a drop in the ocean of Philippine data” and welcomed the contribution of journalists and civil society activists to help the government find the data that is relevant to all stakeholders. “We need your input to make our data more consistent and publish more datasets”, he said.

One of the issues acknowledged by the panel is the hard time professionals and citizens have to understand and work with data. A lot of times stakeholders don’t have a clear grasp of how the government works. Commissioner Heidi Mendoza, from the Commission on Audit, said one way to tackle this problem is to engage citizens to work with the government in a participatory process, like the Civil Participatory Audits. “When citizens work together with auditors, they feel stimulated to get to know more the government and its programs”, she said.

“The first step to achieve transparency is to show everybody we have nothing to hide” Keneth Abante, Department of Finance, Philippines

It goes a long way if the government itself is willing to open its data, regardless of public pressure. Kenneth Abante, from the Department of Finance knows that and showed the audience ways journalists can help the office identify frauds and get smuggles just by analysing the data they publish. “The first step to achieve transparency is to show everybody we have nothing to hide”, he said. “We release every week and month important data that can be mined by journalists and activists.” To have a taste of how to take Mr. Abante’s invitation seriously and actually find stories in data that is already published in the Philippines, Kai Kaiser, senior economist from the World Bank, walked through a mini-data investigation. Using open data about tobacco, Kaiser raised questions about components that are imported to the Philippines and the relationship between the values declared by importing companies and the actual prices in the market. “That’s how you can find holes and corruption in the system”, he said.

Kaiser’s example was picked up by Rogier van den Brink, also from the World Bank, to show how the concept of Open Government can lead to better democracies and better relationships between governments and its citizens. Nevertheless, Mr. Brink reminded the audience that transparency is not enough. “The idea of open data is potentially transformative, but more needs to be done”, he said. “We need to collect and give feedback at all times and we also need to follow up on our initiatives.”

After the conference, the 34 journalists will participate in a 3-day hands on training about data analysis, cleaning, scraping and visualisation. The workshop will be lead by our own Sam Leon, School of Data trainer and data analyst. The training is just the beginning of a 5 month process in which the journalists will have conference calls with Open Knowledge/School of Data to help on their data investigations. Ideally each group of journalists will have produced a data driven investigation by the end of the program using the skills and tools presented during the workshops and mentoring sessions. “We are very excited and looking forward to see which stories are hidden in the Philippine open data landscape”, said Sam.

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Analyzing regional data: Data Expedition in Costa Rica

Camila Salazar - July 6, 2015 in Data Expeditions, Event report, Fellowship

 

2.947 civil servants will be elected next year in Costa Rica, during the upcoming municipal elections. But, are the citizens aware of what’s going on in every district? Do they know the main issues their district is facing or the way the budget been spent?

To answer these questions Abriendo Datos Costa Rica, School of Data and Social Tic organized a Data Expedition in Costa Rica. As a result 57 people from civil society (journalists, analysts, programers, designers,…) worked in teams during eight hours with the data.

The database that was used in the expedition can be accessed here. We built it with data from the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, the National Institute of Statistics and the General Contoller of Finances.

What did the participants find?

The participants worked in ten different groups and each one tried to answer one specific question.  This were some of the findings:

  • One of the teams thought as an exercise: If we were to allocate money to elderly population in poverty, in which districts we would invest it? Analyzing the data, they concluded that in 17% of the districts a tenth of the pIMG_2906opulation was elderly people in poverty. This was a good example of how to use data to make informed decisions.
  • Another group asked: Which are the best districts to live in if you are a woman? The participants classified the districts according to their gender gap index and found that the ones with more gender inequality had a female occupation rate two times lower that the districts with less gender inequality.
  • One team found that the district with more electoral participation in local elections had one of the worst budget spending. Why isn’t the local government spending on its population?
  • Some other teams analyzed the districts with more disabled people or with more usage of technology.

 

During the activity the team of facilitators tried to explain the difference between correlation and causation, which was one of the most common mistakes the attendants were making when analyzing the data.

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For this training we provided a database ready to use to the participants. But in the future it might be interesting to show them where where can they find public databases and more datasets to enrich their analysis.

Overall the best part of the experience was to see so many people interested in learning about how to use data, working in teams and answering questions that affect their daily lives. As Julio Cortés, one of the participants, said, the idea behind these activities is to help building a more informed society. So, we’ll definitely be planning new activities in the next months to encourage the usage of open data!

More pictures of the event here.

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Fresh faces in the School of Data coordination team!

Cedric Lombion - July 1, 2015 in Announcement

We are glad to announce that no less than three people joined the School of Data team in the past weeks. Please give a warm welcome to:

Marco Tulio Pires

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Marco Túlio Pires is Brazilian journalist and programmer, who also is in the coordination team of Escola de Dados, School of Data Brazil. He is now programme manager at School of Data and will oversee the fellowship, work on fundraising and manage some of our grants.

Marco studied Electrical Engineering and Journalism in Brazil, and Programming and Information Visualisation in the United States (University of Michigan). He also studied Leadership and Project Management in Georgetown. At Brazil’s largest Media Group, Globo TV, he was a Production Coordinator. At Editora Abril, largest publishing house in Latin America, he was the science news reporter for their biggest publication, VEJA Magazine. In 2013 Marco was awarded with the Malofiej Bronze Medal for best infographics with a story about innovations inspired by nature. He’s also worked for the government in São Paulo as a Technology & Transparency officer.

 

Meg Foulkes

2015-06-26 10.46.17 Meg joined Open Knowledge in 2012, where she initially worked in HR. Since then, she has worked as project coordinator for OpenSpending. She joins the School of Data team as project and event coordinator, making sure that everything runs smoothly and that our events are well planned.

Meg lives in London, where she can also be found being a mother, studying law and writing poems. She has a particular interest in open data and immigration.

 

 

 

 

Katelyn Rogers

Katelyn_Rogers Katelyn Rogers is a Project Manager at Open Knowledge where she manages numerous open data related programmes including Open Data for Development. In partnership with Code for Africa, she piloted a fellowship programme for open government innovators in Africa. She has helped to run numerous workshops and training events as well as curate the programme for large open knowledge events such as Open Knowledge Festival. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and a Master’s degree in Public Policy from King’s College London where she focused on open data policies in the Global South. Prior to joining Open Knowledge she worked as a project coordinator at Wateraid UK where she used technology to monitor government commitments on sanitation spending.

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Effective disaster response starts with the right data skills

Sheena Carmel Opulencia-Calub - June 24, 2015 in Event report, Fellowship

On December 2011, the region of Northern Mindanao in the Philippines was hit by Typhoon Sendong, devastating the region and affecting more than a million individuals. The Center for Health Development (CHD) of the region, a government office, grappled in assisting the communities and managing all the data for a more efficient response. With no experience in managing data and effectively analysing information during emergencies prior to the typhoon, they only saw the value of data when the disaster struck them. And this is not just the case for this region. For a country battered with an average of 23 typhoons in a year, with a multitude of natural risks such as earthquakes and landslides, only 29% of the all the regions in the Philippines had been given orientation on data and information management during emergencies.

Photo credit: Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_MindanaoAlmost five years later, CHD Northern Mindanao took a big step to prevent post-disaster chaos by organizing the first Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Information Management Skills training last June 9-11 in Cagayan de Oro, Philippines. Seeking my support as a School of Data fellow and an information manager during emergencies, I facilitated the three-day activity with 36 government staff, 16 female and 20 male, coming from various provinces and municipalities across the region with the objective of increasing their appreciation of data and building on their data skills.

Prior to the training, I asked the participants to complete a Data Skills Training Needs Survey to assist me in preparing the training design. 65% of my participants rarely used MS Office and none of them have done maps as part of the disaster response. I also requested the CHD to look for a venue with computer units which we can use for the exercises. This was really helpful as we used the same MS Office version and participants could easily follow the instructions.

On day 1, we discussed current national mechanisms that call for timely data collection in preparedness to, during and after a disaster. Participants were oriented on the Data Pipeline and were asked to apply it to their current practices in managing data. They identified where they can find baseline data for emergency preparedness e.g. local reports, other government and from whom, and made an inventory of data sources during an emergency.

School of Data Fellow, Sheena Opulencia-Calub, explaining how data transforms into action.

School of Data Fellow, Sheena Opulencia-Calub, explaining how data transforms into action.

Day 2 focused more on practical exercises such as basic Excel skills e.g. sorting and filtering, creating charts, use of Pivot tables, how to verify and clean the data, and analysing data. Participants also did some Powerpoint mapping and explored online mapping tools such as Maps Engine and ArcGIS online.

One of the participants exploring his charting skills.

One of the participants exploring his charting skills.

The last day allowed participants to put what they knew and have learned to use through a simulation exercise. They were grouped according to their provinces and were asked to perform a rapid needs assessment for a mock emergency scenario. Participants collected the data and created their respective datasets. They prepared summary reports and a Powerpoint presentation analysing the needs, gaps and priorities for emergency response using the data that they have collected. During the presentation of their outputs, participants saw how important it is to have accurate and well-analysed data to effectively respond to the needs of communities affected by disasters.

Organizing data skills training require thorough understanding of the skills of your target participants. It is also very important to put everything into the same context, in my case, on WASH during emergencies, so that participants will really see the value of data with their line of work. Participants also appreciate follow-up activities. After the training, I created an e-group and has started sharing updates and tips on how the participants can improve on their data skills.

Northern Mindanao region participants promised to work on their data management skills as part of disaster preparedness.

Northern Mindanao region participants promised to work on their data management skills as part of disaster preparedness.

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The Future of School of Data

Milena Marin - June 15, 2015 in Community, School_Of_Data, Update

School of Data World

The School of Data World: Local School of Data, Other organisations implementing School of Data activities and fellows!

Over the last few years, School of Data has seen impressive development and growth, going from a simple idea to an internationally recognised data literacy programme which has trained thousands of people, worked with dozens of CSOs and has multiple regional instances.

School of Data was conceived in early 2012 by Open Knowledge in collaboration with Philip Schmidt of P2PU and the project was officially launched to the public in January 2013.

Since then, it has grown to be an amazing network of data literacy practitioners, both organizations and individuals, implementing training and other data literacy activities in their country or region. Our local implementing partners are Social TICCfAfrica, Metamorphosis, and several Open Knowledge chapters including Spain, Brazil, France, Greece and more. In addition, we have worked in many countries thorough our dedicated fellows.

The Growth of School of Data

We have also worked with multiple funding partners including the Shuttleworth Foundation, Open Society Foundations, the Hewlett Foundation, Hivos, the International Development Research Centre, the World Bank and more. Finally, we have also had the opportunity to collaborate with literally dozens of CSOs, governments and other institutions both in developing materials, doing investigations, and providing training.

A network owned by its members


Members of School of Data work to empower civil society organizations, journalists, governments and citizens with the skills they need to use data effectively in their efforts to create better, more equitable and more sustainable societies.

Our members truly make School of Data unique!

After nearly 3 years of growth and shared successes, the time has come to formally recognise the growing array of School of Data partners and stakeholders and share ownership and decision making of School of Data with them.

We are very happy to announce that we have started the journey towards transitioning the ownership of the School of Data by establishing a governance structure. After intensive meetings, debates and voting during our last Summer Camp in Ottawa, the School of Data members elected a Steering Group and empowered them to represent the entire network, manage shared assets like the School of Data brand and fundraise for the network going forward. Our newly elected Steering Committee members are:

  • Juan Manuel Casanueva, Director of Social TIC
  • Bardhyl Jashari, Director of Metamorphosis, Macedonia
  • Natalia Mazotte, Programme Manager of School of Data Brazil
  • Sander van der Waal, Projects Director at Open Knowledge International
  • Antonio Cucho Gamboa, Senior School of Data fellow and Open Data Activist in Peru
Congratulations to our brand new and amazing Steering Committee!

Congratulations to our brand new and amazing Steering Committee!

The Steering Committee is supported by the School of Data coordination team whose work remains invaluable in managing programmes and running data literacy activities in close collaboration with our local partners.

Legally, School of Data will still be homed at Open Knowledge, who remains a key stakeholder. However, the goal of having a governance structure is to ensure long term sustainability and empower our community to participate in School of Data’s development.

What’s next?


The Steering Group and the School of Data coordination team have a lot of work ahead, especially as they establish this new model. One of their most important priorities is to set up a membership scheme and define a clear process to join the School of Data network.

We already have the basic principles of a membership model:

  • We strive for autonomy for our local partners and trust in our members
  • We will be united by shared values and passion for data literacy
  • We will continue to develop materials with open licence to encourage anyone to use, re-use and re-distribute them
  • Membership will be determined by shared values, intention to become a member and contribution to the network
  • The membership will be continuously validated though feedback and some quality control mechanisms
  • The benefits of membership are, among others, shared knowledge and projects, visibility and brand, peer support and solidarity and a vote for the steering committee or representation in decision making

Do you want to become a School of Data member? Please get in touch – this is the perfect time for us to explore new frontiers and build the foundations of an amazing network of data literacy practitioners around the world!

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How Open Map Data is Helping Save Lives in Nepal

Nirab Pudasaini - June 15, 2015 in Data Stories, Fellowship

My name is Nirab Pudasaini, and I am a new School of Data fellow from Nepal. Just 5 days after the beginning of my fellowship, a devastating earthquake of magnitude 7.9 hit my country. It was on April 25th.

As of May 30 the death toll of the quake had risen to 8691 while 22054 were injured. In one district called Rasuwa, as much of 1.73% of the total population was injured. Nepal was hit bad by the earthquake and there was an immediate need to respond.

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a map visualization showing the extent of the damage.

In the aftermath of the quake, national and international volunteers quickly joined forces to rescue people under debris, provide food and shelter to those who lost their home and generally provide relief to the affected communities. And the mapping effort was essential to this life-saving effort.

Mapping as a community effort


Crisis mapping, which has been the job of a few specialists in big NGOs like the Red Cross, has dramatically changed in the past few years. With the advent of the open source collaborative mapping project OpenStreetMap (OSM), and more recently the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team (HOT), thousands of volunteers contribute to the mapping of countries affected by disasters, with an unprecedented speed. By April 25, 5052 mappers had made 121525 edits to OpenStreetMap.

A part of this effort was shouldered by the non-profit tech organisation where I work, Kathmandu Living Labs. As part of this work, I spent the past two years building community around OpenStreetMap, with disaster resilience in mind.

With no detailed map of Nepal available, building a map with locals was the most efficient way to get there. Not only we were able to map Kathmandu in great detail, but all the school and health facilities in Kathmandu Valley along with their structural data was made freely available to everyone in OSM.

To make this work, we cannot expect to do all the work ourselves. So we train locals and empower communities so they can map their area themselves, using OSM. This way, we expanded our work to other cities than Kathmandu: Bharaptur, Hetaud, and villages like Bajrabarahi, Manahari and Padampur. The maps are used for many applications like agriculture, water health and sanitation and local governance. One of the major area is, of course, humanitarian use.

Data collection, needs assessment and supporting relief workers


Having centralised information proved to be a essential to help fill the information gaps during the earthquake crisis response. After the quake we have been focusing our efforts in four different tasks:

1) A platform where people can submit reports for earthquakes related needs: http://quakemap.org. 1800 reports have come into the system, which aggregates and display needs related to food, medicine, shelter, and sometimes evacuations. A team of volunteers verifies many of those needs, and signal them to appropriate responding organizations. Responding organizations can, and do subscribe to alerts for new reports that come into the system.

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2) The collaboration with the international OSM community and Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team to engage remote mappers. Mapper are given instructions on what and where to map, using the OSM tasking manager. The collaboration extends to satellite imagery providers to make aerial imagery available for post disaster mapping.

3) There is a huge need of data collection after the quake for the need assessment and planning. Data collection, storage and management is much easier, faster and cheaper when a mobile based digital solutions are used. We have developed a system using KLL Collect (a mobile app for data collection) which uses Ona’s Server and Dashboard solution to provide a complete data collection and storage solution. This is being used by various organization for their data collection needs.

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Me teaching Nepal Engineer Association volunteers about mobile data collection

4) http://quakerelief.info is a platform where we provide printable maps created with OSM data. The website provides instructions on using OSM data for Maps and Navigation without a mobile internet connection. The platform also contains useful digital maps like Deaths and Injuries from Earthquake for different districts, Earthquake Intensity by Population and more.

In the coming days information and maps will be playing a vital role in recovery and reconstruction. There are lots of challenges that needs to be overcome in the coming days but with challenges comes opportunity. Having adequate data in an understandable form will be important to plan for all the recovery and reconstruction work that will be done in Nepal and to capitalize those opportunities. Openly accessible map data will be for Nepal a vital piece of that information. As a 2015 School of Data fellow i will keep on working on making Maps for Nepal.

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Helping marginalised communities use data and technology for advocacy

Dirk Slater - June 10, 2015 in Data Blog

By Maya Ganesh, Beatrice Martini and Dirk Slater.

You are welcome anytime, you’re not like others who come with their own bag of potatoes

It’s with these words that the chair of Women’s Network for Unity (WNU), a sex worker collective based in Phnom Penh, thanked us for approaching our work with them with no assumptions or preconceived agenda, but eager to listen and develop our collaboration together.

Members of WNU examine data they collected

Mutual trust and respect, real commitment to collaboration and flexibility are all essential elements to be responsibly equipped to work with a marginalised community. And they are not even enormously . That’s why we decided to write about our experience as potato-less tech capacity builders, as we think it could greatly help other practitioners planning to collaborate with groups struggling to get their rights honoured and their voices heard.

At the time of our project, WNU’s objective was to collect evidence to highlight the negative impact of the anti-trafficking law on sex-workers and to show how the police were misusing the powers this law gives them for detention and arrest.

The project was a significant step in supporting a socially excluded community to collect data to document violence and take action. Our work focused on capacity building of a marginalised community to use data in an advocacy context. Looking back we saw several positive outcomes:

  • a significant shift in the partners’ advocacy strategies from reactive to proactive methodologies;
  • improvement in their human rights documentation processes, now including evidence gathering, data analysis and how to work with visualisations;
  • development of skills applied to the effective collection and use of data for advocacy;
  • new skills in analysing data resulting in a clearer understanding of the threats faced by the community;
  • increased awareness about the importance of effective information management in digital documentation;development of integrated self-evaluation tools;
  • deeper connection of the partners with the needs of the communities support and the variety of stakeholders they want to engage;
  • contribution to the scholarship on violence against sex-workers and advocacy for their human rights.

To share the process, reflections and lessons learned, we wrote a series of posts about this two year ‘small data’ project conducted by Tactical Technology Collective (Tactical Tech) from 2010 to 2012. 

Dirk and Maya implemented the project with support from the rest of the Tactical Tech team. The articles were written with the help of Beatrice, who brought an outside perspective on the presentation and writing part, so others working on similar projects might benefit. The articles draw on Tactical Tech’s reports and notes compiled through the course of the project. We hope that they will provide helpful guidance to anyone aiming to work with a marginalised community to build its capacity to use data and information technologies for advocacy. The series appears in three parts on the FabRider website:

  • Why we did it provides background and context, including a definition of marginalisation, Tactical Tech’s objectives for the project and background on WNU and sex worker issues in Cambodia.
  • What we did provides details about the steps taken to implement the project, assessing WNU’s use of technology, learning about their advocacy strategies and building their capacity to use data and data visualisations in those strategies.
  • What we learned provides reflections on the project design, notes on responsible and strategic use of data about marginalised communities and a summary of what we actually accomplished.

One of the info-graphics created by the project

About the Authors

  • Maya Ganesh is Tactical Tech’s Research Director.
  • Beatrice Martini is a capacity builder, facilitator and curator, working with technology for social justice and human rights.
  • Dirk Slater is the founder of FabRIders, focusing on building the capacity of rights based organisations to use technology and data.

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The School of Data Macedonia website is live!

Goran Rizaov - June 5, 2015 in Events, Fellowship

Open data is a generator of prosperity and democratization of the society, said the Ambassador of the United Kingdom in Macedonia, Charles Edmund Garrett at the launch event of  the the School of Data – Macedonia website. The event took place at the Journalists Club in Skopje on the 4th of June.

Opening data helps support to civil society organizations, journalists and all citizens interested in the use of data. To build a community around the use of data, a “Network of Civil Society Organizations for Open Data” has been created thanks to a collaboration between the Metamorphosis Foundation and Open Knowledge, with the support of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

“The possibility of civil society to ask for information relevant to public policies and procedures is essential to the rule of democracy,” Garett said.

A two-way street

The British Ambassador emphasized that open data is a “two-way street” – on the one hand governments and institutions increase transparency, and on the other civil society increases their participation in decision making and emphasizes the voices of marginalized groups.

“This project is based on a previous engagement of the UK in this area through the so-called “Open Government Partnership” and I hope that our cooperation will continue and will impact on increasing the government transparency and citizen participation in the review of government activities and the decision making process.

Bardhyl Jashari, the director of the Metamorphosis Foundation, told the audience that access to data is important for both sides, because “it helps citizens to equalize their knowledge with the knowledge that politicians have via the data from state institutions available for them at any given time.”

The event was attended by thirty representatives from civil society organizations, associations, media, and interested individuals. As Donna Djambaski from Metamorphosis Foundation said in an article on the website, interested parties can find courses on basic data knowledge, as well as tools and applications for the use and handling of data.

“If any civil organization needs a certain course / training for a skill, we will find / adapt, or create such a course, and later share it with them,” Djambaski said.

A competition for Macedonian open data projects

Besides the website, a competition to support projects related to open data in Macedonia was announced. The deadline for registration is until June 22, and all civil society organizations can apply with a specific idea for a project linked to open data. After completing the competition four projects will be selected and will receive support from Metamorphosis Foundation to implement them.

More photos from the event are available on this link

The competition to support projects related to open data is available on this link

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