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