School of Data last month: Prague, Barcelona and Accra

June 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

This week Michael Bauer has been traveling to give workshops in Prague, Barcelona and Accra. Training Data Skills with Civil Society Organizations and Journalists. He reports:

With the coming of spring in Europe not only nature awakes. Suddenly the world is buzzing with workshops and interesting events. This means a lot of traveling and meeting new, interesting people. This week I spent time with people from Civil Society Organizations in Prague and met data journalists in Barcelona.

The Otakar Motejl Fund together with the School of Data organized a two day hands-on Workshop, similar to our previous Workshop in Berlin. In two days Anna Kuliberda of Techsoup and me worked with the participants on integrating evidence into their campaigns and on optimizing their workflows with data. Scouting Data and Projects of the participants on the first day showed intense interest in how to find good issues for data driven campaigns and how to clean and merge datasets without headache. This, together with an insights into community building delivered by Anna, were the focus of our second day.

School of Data Barcelona + Prague

After an intense two days I set out for Barcelona for the first Journadas de Periodismo de Datos organized by the Spanish chapter of the Open Knowledge Foundation. While the first day was reserved for overview and introduction talks, the second and third were reserved for workshops and a hackathon. Attendees of the workshops were taught how to scrape pdfs and the web, to use open refine and basic analysis using spreadsheets. Interest in Data Driven Journalism is high in Barcelona and this will probably start an annual event in Spain.


Leaving Barcelona the Journey took me (back) to Accra, Ghana. The second Data Bootcamp, exploring the impact of extractive industries, was happening. Data Bootcamps are an Initiative of the Worldbank Institute and the African Media Initiative to promote digital literacy and build communities around open data programs. The three day events are filled with hands-on introduction to tools. The participants pitch projects, they want to work on during the day and at the end of the event winning projects are chosen. Since this was the second Data Bootcamp in Ghana, the previous winner Where My Money Dey? – a project examining the use of Oil generated Revenues – was demoed. After three exhausting Days 8 Teams pitched their Ideas and it was hard to choose a winner. After all two projects peaked out: “Follow the Issue” – a project aiming to turn news items into actionable issues and allowing communities of engaged people to form and organize around them – and “Ghost Busters” – having a systematic look into payrolls and accounting information (available seperately) to identify people being paid without formal employment: a frequent issue in African countries. These projects received initial seed funding and will receive further support to build their prototypes.

Ghost-Busters-SystemThe Ghost Busters team explaining their strategy to identify ghost records on payroll

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