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Ask Your Questions to Former School of Data Fellows

Meg Foulkes - March 23, 2017 in Announcement, Events, Fellowship


Do you have questions about what it’s like to be a School of Data Fellow? What will I learn? How can I fit Fellowship work around other commitments like work and family? Will I need to travel a lot?

As part of our call for applications for the 2017 Fellowships and Data Experts, we’re hosting a live, informal Question and Answer session next Monday 27th March at 12.30 UTC with two former fellows :

  • Julio Lopez, a Fellow from the Class of 2015 from Ecuador
  • Sheena Carmel Opulencia-Calub, also from our Class of 2015, who’s based in the Philippines.

You can read more about both of their backgrounds and interests here.

The Q&A will be live on School of Data’s Youtube channel: link. Look forward to seeing you there!

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First National Open Data Conference in Turkey

Pınar Dag - September 6, 2016 in Events


On September 25, The First National Open Data Conference will be held in Antalya. The conference is being organized by the Open Data and Data Journalism Association (Açık Veri ve Veri Gazeteciliği Derneği (AVVG). The conference carries the first conference feature for the development of open data ecosystem.

One-day programs of the conference will be hosted by 5 speakers. Open education, open science, open government, data ethics, the importance of data analysis, data mining for open data, open data for data journalism are the main topics for the National Open Data Conference in Turkey. First National Open Data Conference (l.Ulusal Açık Veri Konferansı (UAVK) to explore how data can also help Citizens to make better decisions and underpin the new economic growth. The conference is limited to only 50 people and if you wish to attend you can apply here.

The Open Data and Data Journalism Association team will also share the infrastructure of the first National Open Data Index. During the conference will also feature the first Turkish small mooc about Data fundamentals. The first open data and data literacy small online courses will be completed on September 10. The courses received over 600 applications and will have trained 400 people all around Turkey.

About Open Data and Data Journalism Association
(Açık Veri ve Veri Gazeteciliği Derneği(AVVG )

From left to right AVVG Board Members: Dersu Ekim Tanca-Kubilay Öztürk-Pınar Dağ-Sadettin Demirel-Merve Kartal-Ecem Boğatemur-Tuğçe Yılmaz /

From left to right AVVG Board Members: Dersu Ekim Tanca-Kubilay Öztürk-Pınar Dağ-Sadettin Demirel-Merve Kartal-Ecem Boğatemur-Tuğçe Yılmaz /

It was established in December 2015 with seven people in Ankara-Turkey and is the first non-profit organization regarding Open Data and Data Journalism in Turkey. It held its first General Assembly on May 7, and after that the association had a total of 40 members. The aim is to promote data literacy in Turkey via workshops, conferences, producing e-books, articles, and long-term projects regarding Open Data & Data Journalism in Turkey. Since 2015 until today, the association has held 14 events about Open Data and Data Journalism Workshop for Local Media and Civil Society and also became a School of Data Member on May 22.

The association has received £25,000 from the Bilateral Program Fund – UK for our first individual project application. AVVG started a 4 month project entitled: ‘Training, Open Data and Data Literacy Project’. It is the First Turkish small mooc about Data fundamentals by way of e-learning. In this regard, AVVG  started to train 400  people through e-learning within 2 months for a period of 10 weeks. The e-learning section is being programmed by the official web portal of AVVG.

The mooc will end on September 10 and it will be the first School of Data Turkey Camp with the best 15 selected projects from participants together with the School of Data Turkey team which will be held in Antalya between September 22-25. The first National Open Data Conference 2016  with open data policy maker has a +50 people attendee limitation in Antalya.

The future plans of the association are; developing fellowship program for journalism students & NGOs, producing more e-books about data literacy in Turkish, developing long-term planned MOOC in Turkish, developing the First National Data Journalism Award Competition Developing FOI reform with policy makers & officials & also to continue to organise National Open Data Conferences 2017, 2018 and developing CSV , Conference 2017 ( Not only format of CSV, it will be about what CSV represents to community: data inter-operability, hackablity, simplicity, etc) . For more information in Turkish:


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Call for a week-long data journalism training in Berlin

Nika Aleksejeva - August 18, 2016 in Events, Fellowship

image alt text

Photo from a data visualization training in Istanbul, 2014. Author: Nika Aleksejeva

‘Data-driven journalism against prejudices about migration’ training course for young media-makers, human rights activists and developers Berlin, 12 – 20 November 2016

Deadline for receiving applications is: 31st August 2016, 23:59h CET.

School of Data fellow, Nika Aleksejeva, in collaboration with European Youth Press (EYP), an umbrella association of young media-makers in Europe, is inviting young media-makers, designers/developers/programmers and human rights activists to participate in a week-long data journalism training. The training aims to produce impartial, data-driven reports on local migration issues using innovative storytelling forms. It will address the current European refugee crisis, from the perspective of 11 European countries (listed below).

What to expect?

The main objective of the training course is to increase data journalism skills through hands-on training and through working on a real story that will eventually be published in the media. During the project, EYP will partner up with established media organisations from the eleven, listed countries, who will each send one journalist to attend the training. Working together, participants will learn data journalism skills and immediately apply them to practical scenarios. The finished results of their work will be published by media partners of the project. It is hoped that this broad public outreach will lead to significant effect on the media’s treatment of the issue. This course will be an opportunity to strengthen an already-established international network of young media-makers, mid-career journalists and activists concerned with migration and refugee rights.

Participants of the training course will:

  • learn and practice data journalism techniques: finding the right data, scraping, compiling, cleaning, storytelling with data;

  • form teams and work on specific projects, with a view to publication in the national media of participants’ home countries;

  • make professional contacts in the field and obtain hands-on experience of working on a cross-border, data-driven investigation.

Financial Information

This training course is funded by the Erasmus+ grant. Participants will receive reimbursement of their travel costs** up to the amount indicated below, **according to their country of residence:

  • Armenia: 270 EUR

  • Belgium: 170 EUR

  • Czech Republic: 80 EUR

  • Denmark: 80 EUR

  • Germany (outside Berlin): 80 EUR

  • Italy: 170 EUR

  • Latvia: 170 EUR

  • Montenegro: 170 EUR

  • Slovakia: 170 EUR

  • Sweden: 170 EUR

  • Ukraine: 170 EUR

  • participants living in Berlin will not be eligible for reimbursement of any travel expenses.

Although travel costs will be reimbursed, participants are asked to make the travel bookings themselves, as soon as possible after being selected. Participants are also asked to take the most economical route from their place of residence to Berlin and use the following means of the transportation:

  • Train: 2nd class ticket (normal as well as high-speed trains),

  • Flight: economy-class air ticket or cheaper,

  • Bus

Accommodation, meals and all necessary materials will be provided.

Who can apply?

Applicants must fulfil all the criteria below:

  • young media-makers, journalism students, bloggers and citizen journalists with a demonstrated interest in issues related to the rights of ethnic minorities, migrants and refugees; human rights activists working on refugee/migration issues; developers interested in the topic;

  • 18-30 year-olds;

  • residents of Czech Republic, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Sweden, Armenia, Ukraine, Montenegro, Slovakia, Denmark and Latvia;

  • proficient in English.

How to apply?

Interested candidates are invited to apply by completing this application form. Please also send your CV, in Europass format, and via e-mail, to with ‘ddj on migration’ in the subject line.

The deadline for receiving completed applications (form and CV) is: 31st August, 23:59h CET.

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Second #OpenDataParty Comes to Benin City, Nigeria

Meg Foulkes - December 9, 2015 in Announcement, Events, Fellowship


“– bring your laptops, coffee mugs and power extension cords!”

On December 11th, the second #OpenDataParty kicks off at Benson Idahosa University, Benin City. During two action-packed days, #OpenDataParty will welcome open data enthusiasts united by the desire to make, meet and speak everything open data!

This exciting event is the creation of Nkechi Oduwuone, School of Data’s 2015 Fellow in Nigeria, and Oludotun Babayemi, a School of Data alum. Together with support from The Indigo Trust , Heinrich Boll Foundation Nigeria, and the Edo State Open Data Portal, Sabi Hub, Nkechi has come up with a promising agenda including a Data Expedition Class focusing on environmental and health data and a session focusing on a new platform for NGOs, journalists and citizens to use in tracking environmental expenditures.

This promises to be a fantastic event and an opportunity for the Nigerian open data community to gain new skills, make connections and have a lot of fun. We can’t wait to hear all about it!

There’s still time to register for the event at, which runs from Friday, December 11th to Saturday, December 12th, 2015, 8am to 5pm both days. The full agenda is as follows:


9-9.30am – Registration | Introductory/Welcome Remarks

9.30 – 11am – Data Pipelines?

Open Knowledge Foundation School of Data

11 – 11.30am – Coffee Break/Media Briefing

11.30 – 1.30 – Skill Share [Using Mobile Phones to Ground Truth Data | Data Scraping Tools | Data Analysis Tools [Excel, Google spreadsheets]| Digital Security and Privacy

Reboot | eHealth Africa | School of Data | CODE | Heinrich Boell Foundation

1.30 – 2.30pm – Lunch

2.30 – 3.30pm – Telling Stories with Data [Storytelling mechanisms and tools for Journalists | Using Data for Advocacy for NGOs| Using the FOIA]

Radio One | Premium Times | Follow The Money | Right to Know

3.30 – 4.30pm – Skillshare 2 [Tools to Collect and Find Data | Data Scraping Tools | Data Analysis Tools [Excel, Google spreadsheets]| Digital Security and Privacy

Save the Children | Population Council | ONE.ORG

4.30 – 5.00pm – What have you learnt



Through Follow The Money, how can we collaborate to track expenditures on the Great Green Wall in Nigeria Go? Let’s Find Out! How can we develop a tool to reduce waste in Benin City?

9.00 – 9.30am  What have we learnt?

9.30 – 9.45am What about Following The Great Green Wall Funds?

9.45 – 10.00am What about the Environment Data Sprint?

10 – 10.30am Tea/Coffee Break

10.30 pm – 1.30pm Mapping | Data Sprint [Laptops + Music + Coffee + Drinks]

1.30 – 2.30pm Lunch

2.30 – 3.30pm Rounding Up + Presentation: Mapping | Data Sprint

3.30 – 4.00pm Networking + Vote of Thanks


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The Latin America open data community speaks loud

Camila Salazar - October 22, 2015 in Community, Data Stories, Events, Fellowship

Last September the open data community in Latin America gathered in Santiago de Chile in the two most important events in the region to talk and discuss about open data. Since 2013, Abrelatam and ConDatos have been a space to share experiences, lessons learned and discuss issues regarding open data in Latin America.

In this third edition hundreds people from the region came to Chile showing that the open data community has a lot of potential and is continuously growing and involving in the open data movement.

As a fellow of School of Data, this was my first time in Abrelatam and ConDatos and it was a great experience to see, exchange ideas with the community and learn from all the different projects in the region. I had the opportunity to share with journalists, civil society and technology groups that were working on amazing open data initiatives.

Since there was a lot of interest in learning new tools and working specifically with data, there was also a training track in the conference with several workshops about data analysis, data cleaning, data visualization, access to public information, among others. School of Data had three workshops with ex-fellows Antonio Cucho (Perú), Ruben Moya (México) and myself as a current fellow from Costa Rica. The attendants were excited and interested in learning more.


In the past years I’ve been mainly working as a data journalist in Costa Rica, but I had never had the chance to meet the community that shared my same interests and concerns. This is what makes Abrelatam and ConDatos most valuable. It helped me learn about how things and data projects are done in other countries and see how can I improve the work I’m doing in my own country.

We all have similar issues and concerns in the region, so there’s no point in trying to fix things by yourself if you have a huge community willing to help you and share their lessons and mistakes. On the other hand, as a School of Data fellow I was given the opportunity to share my knowledge with others in data workshops, and it was a great way to show people from other countries the work we are doing in School of Data, helping build data literacy in civil society.

The most important lesson learned from this four days in Chile is that there’s an eager movement and a growing need to work together as a region to make data available and to push the open data agenda with governments. There’s no doubt the region speaks loud and is creating a lot of noise worldwide, so it’s in our hands to keep up and innovate as a community!

If you are interested in learning more about the projects, here’s a list of the projects that participated in AbreLatam in 2014 (the 2015 list well be ready soon!).


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Open Data Party Akure – Treading new grounds in Nigeria!

Nkechi Okwuone - September 3, 2015 in Events, Fellowship


Cross-Section of participants

Cross-Section of participants

We took the open data party to the Southwest of Nigeria with the goal of building a data literate community in Nigeria. School of Data collaborated with the Nigeria Open data Access (NODA) team of the University of Technology Akure, to host the first open data event in that region.

It was a 7 hours awareness and skill share session. Similarly to our previous event, the participants had little or no knowledge of open data. one of the participant said:

I only just saw the post about the open data party and came out of curiosity to know what it is all about

Their interest was in knowing what open data is and how they can apply it to their work as a business or in advocacy. Some misconceptions had first to be cleared, as some of the participants thought of open data as a tool, a specific project or even a software. So, how do you explain open data to a group of 30 where no one knows exactly what is it?

We split the event into two sessions  : one was about awareness while the other was focused on skillsharing. The awareness session featured talks about open data, its relevance and case studies. We took a practical example of a participant who is currently working on a project to automate course attendance in her school. She said afterwards –

I now have a better perspective and will work towards automating and opening attendance data. Students will be able to access it for monitoring their performance.

We introduced them to our data Pipeline and gave them success stories. For those without projects, we succeeded in spurring them to research their options as they appreciated the leverage they could get using open data.

In the skillsharing session, participants were more interested in learning how to visualize the plenty of rows and columns they had stacked up in folders. Sessions in visualization, storytelling, advocacy and even fund raising for NGOs, were held concurrently.

Participants were really excited to meet new tools like Tableau, CartoDB, E-draw and even Excel. Links to resources that could make their work easier were also highlighted. We were worried about the receptiveness of the participants but were eventually amazed by their engagement and the innovative concepts about data harnessing they came up with for their various fields.

Breakout skill share session.

Breakout skill share session.


Strengthening the community.

Rounding up, we had a Google Student Ambassador from the University of Technology of Akure explain to the participants how to use the Google Drive collaboration tools. They learnt basic –intermediate skills of working with Google docs. So great! We now have a working group in the South-West of Nigeria with the NODA team to continue keeping the community vibrant.

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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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What does a School of Data Summer Camp look like?

Cedric Lombion - June 5, 2015 in Community, Events, Fellowship

On 24, 25 and 26 May, members of the School of Data network came from all around the world to gather in Ottawa for the 2015 Summer Camp. There was a lot of work to do: the new School of Data fellows were tasked with preparing a detailed roadmap of their fellowship while representatives of the member organisations of the School of Data network were asked to work on the future of the project.

This Summer Camp was exceptionally focused and productive which allowed us to achieve a lot in a little time. Participants worked from 9am to 6pm, while coordinators started earlier and finished later.

How we succeeded in making 25 people from 16 countries work together during 3 intense days is still a mystery, but the photos taken during the event help shed some light on the process.

The coordination team

The first ingredient is a great coordination team ready to work 12h a day. Of course, the preparations for the Summer Camp started several months in advance. From left to right : Dirk Slater from Fab Riders (lead facilitator), Zara (top), Milena (bottom), Marco, Cédric.

Group photo

And a group of very motivated participants. The ‘moose’ sign has been a core part of Open Knowledge’s facilitation toolkit for years. And people love it.

Then you need a lot of group discussion. Here, a governance session with Milena as a facilitator and note taker. From the left of the table to the right: Antonio (former fellow, Peru), Cédric (coordinator), Ignasi (Spanish local instance), Bardhyl (School of Data Macedonia), Natalia (Escola de dados), Anna (School of Data Germany), Marco (coordinator), Nisha (former fellow, India), Juan (Social-TIC, Mexico). At the bottom left is Charalampos (School of Data Greece).

A lot of writing in small groups helped participants share their insights without being overwhelmed by the bigger group. Someone from the group then shared back to the larger group. From left to right: Sylvia (Ecole des données, France), Katelyn (coordinator), Natalia (Escola de dados, Brazil).

From left to right: Julio (2015 fellow, Ecuador), Sander (Open Knowledge), Sheena (2015 fellow, Philippines)

The drawing activities of the Summer Camp were the most anticipated event. Thanks to them, participants are able to share more than words ever will. From left to right: Natalia, Marco, Sylvia.

Sharing is a core value of the network, so sharing workshops are a central to the Summer Camp. Antonio (former fellow, Peru), Camila (2015 fellow, Costa Rica), Julio (2015 fellow, Ecuador).

From left to right: Bardhyl (School of Data Macedonia), Ignasi (Escuela de dates Spain), Cédric (coordinator).

Mariel (Social-TIC, Mexico).

And of course, post-its. From left to right: Antonio (former fellow, Peru), Nisha (former fellow, India), Juan (Social-TIC, Mexico).

Lots of them. Here with David (2015 fellow, Ghana), Nkechi (2015 fellow, Nigeria), Anna (School of Data Germany) and Sheena (2015 fellow, Philippines).

Post-its, post-its everywhere.

We do love posts-its. But then you have to digitize every single one. Jennifer (Code 4 South Africa).

The cake was an essential part of the facilitation strategy.

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School of Data coming to Ottawa!

Zara Rahman - May 22, 2015 in Events

Photo CC-BY, taken by d.neuman.

Photo CC-BY, taken by d.neuman.

In a couple of days, the School of Data community will be descending upon Ottawa – first, for our annual Summer Camp, and then to join the International Open Data Conference.

Summer Camp will be the chance for our Class of 2015 fellows to meet the rest of our community, with representation from local instances from all around the world. All in all, with only 30 participants at Summer Camp, we’ll have people from over 20 countries represented! Our new fellows will be learning about School of Data and planning the rest of their fellowships, and representatives from our local instances will be coming together to discuss governance of the School of Data network.

On Thursday and Friday, we’ll be at the Open Data Conference where we’ll have a room for the whole of Thursday. If you’ve had any data-related problems with your projects, any questions or tools you’d like to learn – come and talk to us!

We’ll be running a data clinic on Thursday morning, with people at hand to talk you through any data driven projects you might have or questions you might have, and in the afternoon, we’ll run a short data expedition – a way to get hands on with data. No experience is necessary, and we welcome total newcomers to working with data.

If you don’t have a chance to come and meet us on Thursday at the conference, together with the rest of the Open Knowledge community we’ll be having a meet and greet on Thursday evening at The Brig Pub, 23 York St, from 7.30pm. All welcome – just come by on the night. We’ll be there with fellow Open Knowledge staffers, the School of Data community, and open knowledge advocates from around the world!

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‘Where has this been!?’ Open Data Day in Benin, Nigeria.

Nkechi Okwuone - May 15, 2015 in Community, Data for CSOs, Events, Fellowship

In the city of Benin, located in the Edo State of Nigeria, the 21st of February was a memorable day. At the occasion of the worldwide Open Data Day, the first ever open data hackathon of the city took place, alongside another event called Open Data party .

This event, organised by SabiHub, was supported by Open Knowledge, the Ministry of Agriculture and Edo Open Data.  The event focused on the agriculture sector, looking at the challenges and engaging citizens to imagine data driven solutions using the available Agriculture datasets from the state’s open data portal. 50 participants were expected but over 90 participants joined us: Civil society organisations, NGOs, journalism Students, government officials and other open data enthusiasts.

As we kickstarted the 6-hour long event, the place was buzzing with excitement. 6 facilitators guided the participants through an adventure about data around the world, wrangling and making sense of numbers. Participants welcomed the knowledge with frowns, questions, excitement, and ‘where has this been’s!



Lunch and tea break were welcomed to calm the minds. We then introduced them to a list of challenges the agriculture sector was facing, and asked them to wrangle and create data-driven solutions with those challenges in mind. They broke out into groups and hacked for 3 hours.

What was the outcome? Many ideas sprung up, from bridging the information gap between famers and the market, to easier location of agricultural facilities and more. A common challenge in the groups was the lack of data skills to solve the problems idendified! Read more at #ODDBenin15


Although Edo state is the first government in Nigeria to launch an open data portal since 2013, low data literacy among potential reusers is still a problem that keeps the initiative from reaching its full potential. The economic benefits of Open data has yet to be harnessed. The Edo State joined forces with organizations like BudgIT, Connected development in spreading the skills necessary to visualize government budget, track government spending and train civil society organisations and journalists while also evangelizing the use of data in schools.

With a population of over 170 millions, more has to be done to reach out to CSOs, entrepreneurs, NGOs, journalists. This work will be done thanks to School of Data and other organizations who continuously support the campaign for data literacy, active citizen engagement, fact-driven stories and advocacy, job creation and a lot more. We are not where we want to be, but things have definitely improved in the past years. I’m optimistic that the 2015 School of Data fellowship will drive us steps ahead towards a more literate and informed society.

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