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Introducing: MyData

Open Knowledge International - May 25, 2016 in Community, OK Finland, Privacy

this post was written by the OK Finland team

What is MyData?

MyData is both an alternative vision and guiding technical principles for how we, as individuals, can have more control over the data trails we leave behind us in our everyday actions.

The core idea is that we, you and I, should have an easy way to see where data about us goes, specify who can use it, and alter these decisions over time. To do this, we are developing a standardized, open, and mediated approach to personal data management by creating “MyData operators.”

Standardised operator model

A MyData operator account would act like an email account for your different data streams. Like an email, different parties can host an operator account, with different sets of functionalities. For example, some MyData operators could also provide personal data storage solutions, others could perform data analytics or work as identity provider. The one requirement for a MyData operator is that it lets individual receive and send data streams according to one interoperable set of standards.

What “MyData” can do?

“MyData” model does a few things that the current data ecosystem does not.

It will let you to re-use your data with a third party – For example, you could take data collected about your purchasing habits from a loyalty card of your favourite grocery store and re-use it in a financing application to see how you are spending your money on groceries.

It will let you see and change how you consent to your data use Currently,  different service providers and applications use complicated terms of service where most users just check ‘yes’ or ‘no’ once , without being entirely sure what they agree to.

It will let you change services – With MyData you will be able to take your data from one operator to another if you decide to change services.


Make it happen, make it right

MyData2016 conference will be held in Aug 31st- Sep 2nd in Helsinki Hall of Culture.

Right now, the technical solutions for managing your data according to MyData approach exist. There are many initiatives, emerging out of both the public and private sectors around the world, paving the way for human-centered personal data management. We believe strongly in the need to collaborate with other initiatives to develop an infrastructure in a way that works with all the complicated systems at work in the current data landscape. Buy your tickets for early bird discount before May 31st.

Follow MyData on social media for updates:

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Open Knowledge International – our new name!

Open Knowledge International - May 23, 2016 in Featured, News

Notice something a little different? We have had a change of name!

As of today, we officially move from being called “Open Knowledge” to “Open Knowledge International (OKI)”.


“Open Knowledge International” is the name by which the community groups have referred to us for a couple of years, conveying our role in supporting the groups around the world, as well as our role within the broader open knowledge movement globally. We are excited to announce our new name that reflects this.

Open Knowledge International is registered in the UK, and this has sometimes led to assumptions that we operate in and for the benefit of this region. However, the UK is no more of a priority to Open Knowledge International than other areas of the world; in fact, we want to look more closely at ways we can be engaged at a global level, where efforts to push open knowledge are already happening and where we can make a difference by joining alongside the people making it happen. This is evident by our efforts to support the associated Open Knowledge Network, with a presence in more than 40 countries and cross-border Working Groups, as well as our support of international projects, such as the Global Open Data Index, that both blends open knowledge expertise and draws upon the global open data community. Finally, we are an international team, with staff based in nearly every region, collaborating virtually to promote openness online and on the ground.

By formalising Open Knowledge International as our name beyond the community groups associated with us and to the broader open knowledge movement, we are reflecting the direction we are striving to undertake, now and increasingly so in the future. We are grateful to have such a strong community behind us as we undertake a name change that better reflects our priorities and as we continue to seek new opportunities on a global scale.

We are also planning to transition from the domain name for brand consistency and will begin that transition in the coming months. If you would like to discuss this change of name, and what it means, please join in on our forum –

For revised logos please see and please contact if you have any questions about the use of this brand.

And what are your plans for Transparency Camp Europe?

Mor Rubinstein - May 2, 2016 in Events, Network

This post was written by our friends at Open State Foundation in the Netherlands. 


Let’s face it. When it comes to relevant open data and transparency in European decision-making, we have a lot to do. Despite growing open data portals, and aggregating European data portal, if you want to make sense of European decision-making and public finance, it takes a lot of efforts.

Dieter Schalk / Open State Foundation

The time is ripe. With the Dutch referendum on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and Brexit, debates around immigration and refugees, new bailout talks between the EU and Greece, decisions by the EU affect millions of citizens living and working within its member states and people around the world. As everyone has the right to information, people need to know how these decisions are taken, who participates in preparing them, who receives funding, how you can make your views known, and what information is held or produced to develop and adopt those decisions. 

In the wake of the Panama Papers, renewed calls for open company registers and registers on beneficial ownership, the need for open spending, contracting and tenders data, require us to come together, join efforts and help to make the EU more transparent.

TransparencyCamp Europe comes at the right moment. This unconference on open government and open data, to be held on June 1 in Amsterdam will bring together developers, journalists, open data experts, NGOs, policymakers, and activists. In the run-up, an online European-wide open data App Competition (deadline for submissions May 1) and a number of local events or diplohacks are organized. This will all come together at TransparencyCamp Europe, where apart from numerous sessions organized by participants themselves, developers will present their open data app to a jury.

Dieter Schalk / Open State Foundation

EU decision making is quite complex, involving national governments and parliaments, the European Commission and the EuropeanParliament, the European Council and the many EU institutions and agencies involved.  Still, there is already quite some open data available, differing in quality and ease of use. Definitely, you want to know more about the EU’s institutions, who work there and how you can contact them. Although the information is available at the EU Whoiswho website, the data is not easily reusable. That is why we scrapped it and had made it available to you on GitHub as CSV and JSON. And if you’re crawling through information on EU budgets, finances, funds, contracts and beneficiaries, you’ll notice there is much room for improvement.

So, there you go, join us and help to make the EU more transparent as TransparencyCamp Europe comes to Amsterdam. Registration for the unconference is free, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to the newsletter.

Open Data Day Uganda – Promoting girls in Science and Technology

Mor Rubinstein - April 22, 2016 in Open Data Day

This post was written by Alwenyi Catherine Cassidy from Fund Africa Inc.

Fund Africa Inc. is powered by Open Knowledge International, in partnership with NetSquared and Communication Without Boarders. We’re excited to be part of the 2016 International Open Data Day celebration in Kampala, Uganda.

This event topic focused on open science and methods to encourage girls to join Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) in Africa. The event was attended by mostly non-profit representatives, developers, data journalists, and members of the private sector. Participants were briefed about open data, features, types of open data, and its importance.  This was followed by a presentation from a representative of the ‘One Million Code Girls Project’, a program that aims to teach up to one million girls in Ugandan Secondary Schools between the ages of 13 and 17 how to code. Other resources shared include learning skills in project management, use of software to be used interactively by teams, and the reasons for open data.

The presentations were followed by a focused group discussion and online twitter chats using the hashtag #TechchatAfrica.  A few recommendations were made, and the meeting concluded with a networking session.

The following are the presentations we had:

1. Trello – Ednah Karamaji

While we were waiting for more participants to attend, we had Ednah Karamaji from Communications without Boarders (CWB) make a presentation on Trello – an android app that can be a useful tool for project management, especially in organizing events like the Open Data Day.

She explained several features of Trello that include: team building, where a project manager can subscribe all team members to Trello, assign roles using cards, and allow the project manager to specify venue and time of the event.  Trello allows the user to set alerts for project deadlines, and indicate completion of activities.

SAM_18292. Introduction to Open Data – Alwenyi Catherine Cassidy

The meeting was officially opened with a prayer by Mr. Robert Kibaya of NetSquared, following which the participants were introduced to Open Data by Ms. Catherine Alwenyi Cassidy of Fund Africa Inc. The presentation described how open data is the idea that some data should be freely available to everyone to use and republish as they wish, without restrictions from copyright, patents or other mechanisms of control.

The key features of openness are:

Availability and access: the data must be available as a whole and at no more than a reasonable reproduction cost, preferably by downloading over the internet. The data must also be available in a convenient and modifiable form.

Reuse and redistribution: the data must be provided under terms that permit reuse and redistribution including the intermixing with other datasets.

Universal participation: everyone must be able to use, reuse, and redistribute — there should be no discrimination against fields of endeavour or against persons or groups. For example, ‘non-commercial’ restrictions that would prevent ‘commercial’ use, or restrictions of use for certain purposes (e.g. only in education), are not allowed.

There are many kinds of open data that have potential uses and applications:

  • Cultural: Data about cultural works and artifacts — for example, titles and authors — generally collected and held by galleries, libraries, archives and museums.
  • Science: Data that is produced as part of scientific research from astronomy to zoology.
  • Finance: Data such as government accounts (expenditure and revenue) and information on financial markets (stocks, shares, bonds etc).
  • Statistics: Data produced by statistical offices such as the census and key socioeconomic indicators.
  • Weather: The many types of information used to understand and predict the weather and climate.
  • Environment: Information related to the natural environment such presence and level of pollutants.
  • Transport: Data such as timetables, routes, on-time statistics.

3. One Million Code Girls – Ashiraf Sebandekke

Since our event was focusing on Open Science and how to engage girls in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). We had Ashiraf who presented to us about his experience working with girls on coding on the One Million Code Girls, a project of Google developers group Makerere University Business (MUBs – GDG) School that aims at training up to one million girls, coding through different programming languages including Scratch, Java, Java Script, e.t.c.  Ashiraf explained the different experiences as the project lead comparing two schools, one mixed secondary school (both boys and girls) and the other single school (girls only) and how they embarrassed the program. He observed that the girls-only schools were more conducive to learning than those in the mixed schools, as some students in the latter feel inferior, thinking science subjects are for boys; but altogether the students managed to change their mindset through the carrier guidance lectures given to them by the project facilitator and they expect to balance other subjects with science and technology.


4. Why Open Data – Mr. Joseph Elunya

This year we also had an opportunity to hear a presentation from Mr. Elunya a data Journalist from Media Initiative for open governance and Reality Check Uganda who explained to us the why data should be open and not restricted to patents and copyrights as follows; Transparency. In a well-functioning, democratic society citizens need to know what their government is doing. To do that, they must be able freely to access government data and information and to share that information with other citizens. Transparency isn’t just about access, it is also about sharing and reuse — often, to understand material it needs to be analyzed and visualized. This requires that the material be open so that it can be freely used and reused. Regarding the release of social and commercial value: in a digital age, data is a key resource for social and commercial activities. Everything from finding your local post office to building a search engine requires access to data, much of which is created or held by governments. By opening up data, governments can help drive the creation of innovative business and services that deliver social and commercial value.

Participation and engagement – participatory governance or, for businesses and organizations, engaging with your users and audience. Much of the time citizens are only able to engage with their own governance sporadically — maybe just at an election every 4 or 5 years. By opening up data, citizens are enabled to be much more directly informed and involved in decision-making. This is more than transparency: it’s about making a full “read/write” society, not just about knowing what is happening in the process of governance but being able to contribute to it

SAM_1835Discussion Session

The presentations were followed by active discussions; some of the questions that were asked included:

“Is Open Data really a practical way to move forward?” Asked Ednah, who explained an incident where a certain gentleman used to extract information and images from their non-profit website to use on his website to solicit for funds. Catherine explained some basic principles that apply when opening data including having an open data license to give clarity the host’s rights.  To Ednah’s question of ‘if open data was really a practical way to move forward?’, Catherine also added the advantages of open data, and shared how most people have learned some skills like web design, programming, graphical design, etc. through data contributed freely by others on the internet.  She also referenced a highly useful open source website: Wikipedia.

“To what extent should data be open?” asked Robert. Some of the participants explained that not all data is to be opened, some data is sensitive and need to be protected.  Ashiraf gave an example of how Apple Inc. could not share information from a client’s phone that would be used to curb terrorism.

Some of the participants from Youth in Technology – Uganda were not conversant with ICT laws in Uganda to protect their ideas, saying that they work sleepless nights to come up with innovations and for them to just provide them in an open source manner for people to just use without crediting them didn’t make sense.  Ashiraf explained, “All ideas need to be patented for you to be protected”.  He continued by outlining a few Data laws in Uganda which include;

 Computer Misuse Act 2011

 Electronic Transaction Act 2011

 Uganda Electronics Media Act

 Data protection and Privacy Bill 2014

 Electronics Transaction Act

The discussion was continued and was also available twitter using the #TechchatAfrica


Global Open Data Index Insights – Open Data in the Arab world

Open Knowledge International - April 20, 2016 in Global Open Data Index

This blog post was written by Riyadh Al Balushi from the Sultanate of Oman.

I recently co-authored with Sadeek Hasna a report that looks at the status of open data in the Arab World and the extent to which governments succeed or fail in making their data available to the public in a useful manner. We decided to use the results of the Global Open Data Index as the starting point of our research because the Index covered all the datasets that we chose to examine for almost all Arab countries. Choosing to use the Global Open Data Index as a basis for our paper saved us time and provided us with a systematic framework for evaluating how Arab countries are doing in the field of open data.

We chose to examine only four datasets, namely: the annual budget, legislation, election results, and company registration data. Our selection was driven by the fact that most Arab countries already have published data in this area and therefore there is content to look at and evaluate. Furthermore, most of the laws of the countries we examined make it a legal obligation on the government to release these datasets and therefore it was more likely for the government to make an effort to make this data public.

Our analysis uncovered that there are many good examples of government attempts at releasing data in an open manner in the Arab World. Examples include the website of Ministry of Finance of the UAE which releases the annual budget in Excel format, the legislation website of Qatar which publishes the laws in text format and explicitly adopts a Creative Commons license to the website, the Elections Committee website of Egypt, which releases the elections data in Excel format, and the website of the Company Register of Bahrain, which does not make the data directly available for download, but provides a very useful search engine to find all sorts of information about companies in Bahrain. We also found several civil society projects and business initiatives that take advantage of government data such as Mwazna – a civil society project that uses the data of the annual budget in Egypt to communicate to the public the financial standing of the government in a visual way, and Al Mohammed Network – a business based on the legislation data in the Arab World.

“Map of Arabic-speaking countries”

“Map of Arabic-speaking countries” by Illegitimate Barrister – Licensed under CC Attribution 3.0.

What was interesting is that even though many Arab countries now have national open data initiatives and dedicated open data portals, all the successful open data examples in the Arab World are not part of the national data portals and are operated independently by the departments responsible for creating the data in question. While the establishment of these open data portals is a great sign of the growing interest in open data by Arab governments, in many circumstances these portals appear to be of a very limited benefit, primarily because the data is usually out of date and incomplete. For example, the Omani open data portal provides population data up to the year 2007, while Saudi’s open data portal provides demographic data up to the year 2012. In some cases, the data is not properly labeled, and it is impossible for the user to figure out when the data was collected or published. An example of this would be the dataset for statistics of disabilities in the population on the Egyptian government open data page. The majority of the websites seem to be created through a one-off initiative that was never later updated, probably in response to the global trend of improving e-government services. The websites are also very hard to navigate and are not user-friendly.

Another problem we noticed, which applies to the majority of government websites in the Arab World, is that very few of these websites license their data using an open license and instead they almost always explicitly declare that they retain the copyright over their data. In many circumstances, this might not be in line with the position of domestic copyright laws that exempt official documents, such as the annual budget and legislation, from copyright protection. Such practices confuse members of the public and give the impression to many that they are not allowed to copy the data or use it without the permission of the government, even when that is not true. Another big challenge for utilising government data is that many Arab government websites upload their documents as scanned PDF files that cannot be read or processed by computer software. For example, it is very common for the annual budget to be uploaded as a scanned PDF file when instead it would be more useful to the end user if it was uploaded in a machine-readable format such as Excel or CSV. Such formats can easily be used by journalists and researchers to analyse the data in more sophisticated ways and enables them to create charts that help present the data in a more meaningful manner. Finally, none of the datasets examined above were available for download in bulk, and each document had to be downloaded individually. While this may be acceptable for typical users, those who need to do a comprehensive analysis of the data over an extensive period of time will not be able to do efficiently so. For example, if a user wants to analyse the change in the annual budget over a period of 20 years, he or she would have to download 20 individual files. A real open data portal should enable the user to download the whole data in bulk. In conclusion, even though many governments in the Arab World have made initiatives to release and open their data to the public, for these initiatives to have a meaningful impact on government efficiency, business opportunities, and civil society participation, the core principles of open data must be followed. There is an improvement in the amount of data that governments in the Arab World release to the public, but more work needs to be done. For a detailed overview of the status of open data in the Arab World, you can read our report in full here.

International open data day report from Yaounde Cameroon

Mor Rubinstein - April 8, 2016 in Open Data Day

The Open Data Day 2016  was successfully hosted and celebrated in Cameroon by the netsquared Yaoundé community.  The theme of the day was ‘Empowering Cameroonians to accelerate open data’, bringing together 90 participants.

The event was hosted in Paraclete Institute in Yaoundé, which brought together multiple stakeholders and students, to empower them in advancing open data in this part of the world.

The event started at 3pm with a theoretical session and ended with a practical workshop at 7pm.

12783518_1018005344927962_8147199272335209675_oThe theoretical session was hosted to shared with participants the basic concept of open data, its importance, and how it could be accelerated. This was demonstrated through a powerpoint presentation from panel members who shared examples of the impact of open data on government intermediaries, education and agriculture in strengthening citizen engagement. And the importance of the release of data sets.

This event help to encourage participants to use open data for local content development in Cameroon,  showing how data could be made available for everyone to use, especially government data.

The key concept was resourcing technologies that could be used for smart visualization of data and how data could be made available on a database for everyone to use to encourage innovative collaboration. We also discovered that most data has not been made accessible in Cameroon.f In order to encourage innovation, transparency, and collaboration we need to advance the open data movement in Cameroon,

The practical workshop empowered participants to blog about data andto share it for reuseIt can be distributed on a platform like internet database website using and other blogging sites like

We also made them to understand that research data must be made available for people to reuse and distributed for everyone to visualize it. We also empower them on how they can  made their data  available  socially, teaching participants that they can share data from blogs to other communication platforms or social media platforms  like Facebook, Twitter and Google  

The event was appreciated by every participant.

Open Data Day Spain – Towards IODC 16

Mor Rubinstein - April 8, 2016 in Open Data Day

This post was written by Adolfo Anton Bravo from OK Spain.

Open Data Day in Spain is not something exceptional anymore. Five years after the first Open Data Day was born in Canada, nine Spanish cities have adopted in 2016 this celebration by organizing various local events It is not a coincidence that Spain will host the next International Open Data Conference 2016 in october, given the good health of its data communities, in spite of the fact of its poor results shown in the Open Data Index. Open Data in Spain is definitely a growing seed.

Alicante, Barcelona –with two events–, Bilbao, Girona, Granada, Madrid, Pamplona, Valencia, and Zaragoza were the cities that held activities to celebrate Open Data Day.

Open Knowledge Spain took part in the organization of the event in Madrid, and created a website to announce all of the activities that were going to be held in Spain, including the International Open Data  Conference, that its Call for Proposals had just been opened for applications.


spain ODD

Overview of the events

In alphabetical order, Barcelona celebrated Open Data Day twice.  apps4citizen organized a gathering where people deliberated about the importance of personal data, transparency, the knowledge acquisition process, or the various results that may be reached from the interpretation of data. A week later, organized a data visualization contest on Commons Collaborative Economies in the P2P value project.

In Bilbao, the event run by  MoreLab DeustoTech-Internet, the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Deusto, and the Bilbao city council. The group focused on the scope of the movement in general, and in specific, linked open data.  The participants split into working groups with the objective to design and implement fast and easy applications that link and use open data.

The Girona Municipal Archive and the Center for Research and Image Distribution organized the event in Girona; their theme revolved around the documentary heritage data that included 125 archives and collections, 31 inventories, and 75 catalogues.

In Granada, the Free Software Office at the University of Granada organised a hackathon with eight candidate projects from March 4 to March 7. The projected looked at various topics, from traffic to gender bias.

The Medialab-Prado data journalism group, Open Knowledge Spain, and Open Data Institute (ODI) Madrid, organised a hackathon where three teams from different background such as   developers, journalists, programmers, statisticians, and citizens worked to open data in different aspects of open data: city light pollution, asbestos, and glass parliaments.

Pamplona took the opportunity to present the open technological platform FIWARE, an initiative for developers or entrepreneurs to use open data for innovative applications.FINODEX is the first European accelerator that is already funding projects that reuse open data with FIWARE technology.

The first OpenDatathon ETSINF – UPV took place in Valencia and was organised by  It was organised by the Higher Technical School of Computer Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Valencia, MUGI, the Master’s degree in Information Management, and the DataUPV Group.   16 teams participated,, with the objective of supporting, promoting and disseminating the use of open data, especially among the members of the university. It was supported by the Department of Transparency, Social Responsibility, Participation and Cooperation at the Valencia Regional Government, Inndea Foundation, Cátedra Ciudad de Valencia at UPV, and the private companies BigML and Everis.

The Zaragoza city council is well known  for  its support to open data. The city mission is to provide open, accessible and useful data to its citizens. For example, all the information about bills is open and can be found on the city website. In this regard, they are not only talking about open data but also transparency and municipal policies on open data.

Finally, on March 17, the University of Alicante organized a meeting  with participants from the Department of Transparency at the Valencia Regional Government, the Open Data Institute Madrid (ODI), the data research data opening network Maredata, and an initiative that promotes the University of Alicante startup ecosystem, ua:emprende.  The Open Data Meeting 2016 consisted of a series of lectures about the current condition of open data in Spain,  and emphasized that public sector information (PSI) reuse means an opportunity for entrepreneurship and the impact it generates in the field of of transparency and accountability. and some of its participants are. The event concluded  with the #UAbierta for open data entrepreneurship award ceremony

Code for Ghana Open Data Day 2016

Mor Rubinstein - April 6, 2016 in Open Data Day

This blog post was written by Florence Abena Toffa from Code for Ghana. 

The International Open Data Day is a gathering of citizens in various cities around the world to write applications, liberate data, create visualizations and publish analysis of  open public data. This year, we partnered with National Information Technology Agency (NITA) to provide us with Ghana’s election datasets for the hackathon.


Code for Ghana’s theme for this year’s event was: Open Data for a free and fair 2016 election. The people of Ghana are going to the polls again this year. Since 1992, Ghana has been among the countries that have had peaceful elections and successful change of governments in Africa. Usually, the atmosphere is unpredictable. Also, elections reportage is often bereft of data analysis and visualisations. The benefit of hindsight provides an enormous opportunity to even predict future events. The goal of the hackathon was to empower the youth to understand election trends and contribute to it through data analysis and visualisations. This will help to understand election issues better.


We had a total of 21 participants and as early as 8 am participants started trickling in, most of whom were software developers, CSOs and data enthusiasts. Among the attendees were two young ladies who exhibited unwavering enthusiasm in open data and data visualization and one guest  came all the way from Togo to attend the event. The hackathon started with a brief introduction to the Code for Ghana election project by Florence Toffa, the project manager. Also, in attendance was the Open Data 233 team led by Raindolf Owusu. They gave a brief presentation on their election project  and how it is aimed at keeping a vigilant eye on the 2016 election proceedings and also to enhance public participation in politics. Participants were introduced to the various open data tools and libraries available to use to analyse election data. They were then divided into teams to brainstorm on election ideas. We had four main projects in total. Below are the various projects that were done.

The first group created a web platform displaying data visualizations of results of the 2008 general elections. They focused on the 3 major political parties in the country: NDC, NPP and the CPP. The datasets used were very detailed, covering election results from all the regions in the country – constituency by constituency. At the bottom of the home page, they provided an overall visualization of the 2008 elections. The project is hosted here;

Ghana’s 2008 Presidential election results



Figure 1 – Results for the greater Accra region

The second group also studied the Presidential election results of the NDC and NPP from 2000 – 2012. Their main aim was to discover patterns in order to make predictions in this year’s elections. We asked Abubakar Siddique (the leader) to give us an overview of their project and this is what he had to say:

For example NPP have always won the Ashanti and Eastern region, also they have only lost in the Western region and Brong Ahafo once since 2000 (for the years we have studied). Also NDC have never lost in Volta, Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions since 2000 (also for the years we have studied).

It is important to emphasize that we did not intentionally decide to study just NDC and NPP, but this was due to the fact that as we were studying to obtain regional victories and after 2000 and 2004 analysis, it quickly became a competition between the two. From our analysis the ruling party has to work super hard to maintain power.

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 13.20.22

Fig 2. NDC’s presidential election results in 2000

The third group, made up of two ladies, looked at the correlation between rejected ballot papers over the election periods and voter literacy in the country. Based on this analysis, they will predict the occurrence rate of rejected votes in this year’s election.

The last group developed an SMS app to check election results.

The outcome of the hackathon was great. Code For Ghana will be working with Open Data 233 on their election project. Some of the interesting projects from this hackathon will be integrated into their platform. Two of the projects are still work in progress and as soon as they are finished, we will partner with other organisations to launch these projects. We have also established a good relationship with our Togo attendee who wants to start an open data initiative in his country.  It was a great event and you can get all the pictures here ; Flickr. Thanks to Open Knowledge International for supporting us with the mini-grant.

Diplohack in Brussels – The first hack in the Council of the European Union

Mor Rubinstein - April 5, 2016 in OK Belgium

For the first time in history, we can hack from inside the Council of the European Union building! Join us at #Diplohack in Brussels in the Council of the European Union on the 29-30 of April.


We invite everyone to take part, whether you’re a diplomat, developer, designer, citizen, student, journalist or activist. We will connect different profiles together in teams to use European data for good.

The idea is that you create a prototype or MVP (minimum viable product) with this data in just 24 hours that is focused on transparency and decision-making. We will support you in any way possible, explain the data and help you get started.

Diplohack, as the hackathon is called, forms part of the Dutch Presidency of the Council of the European Union transparency strategy. The Brussels diplohack will run for 24 hours straight and is part of the several Diplohacks across Europe. Those hackathons intend to make the EU more transparent.

Tech developers, EU diplomats, journalists, citizen activists, social entrepreneurs, data experts and many more will join forces and think of transparency applications to make decision making in the EU searchable and understandable.

Everybody interested in the EU data can enter the hackathon. The winners of the diplohack will be invited to compete in a European final in Amsterdam during the TransparencyCamp Europe Unconference.

The Diplohack event is organised the Council of the European Union, the Dutch EU Presidency and Open Knowledge Belgium. Get your free ticket for the #Diplohack!

The Diplohack will be preceded by the Webinar with EU data experts to explain more about the data. You can join even if you don’t participate in the Diplohack itself. Register here. Check or the discuss forum thread more info on the programme and the Eventbrite page for more practical information. pic_3

On the “Open Data Day 2016” wave – Burkina Faso

Mor Rubinstein - March 31, 2016 in Open Data Day

This blog post was written by Justin Yarga. 

A modest day, but a rich day: Open Data Day in Burkina Faso has helped advance the uptake open data by the open data ecosystem and also helped explore new areas for opening up data. And this time, it is the health sector that was the subject of focus for the open data activists’ community. Let’s go back over a day of discussions and heated debates around open data.

The atmosphere: In the amphitheatre of the Institut Supérieur Privé Polytechnique ISPP, a private high education Institute located at one end of the new town of the capital city, the atmosphere is warm on this Saturday morning. Passionate debates of small groups of people gathered in the amphitheatre  in at certain times make you believe that this a day of classes. An atmosphere created by passion, but also laughter. In fact, when we were talking loudly about health and data, especially where to find the data, an inspired participant came up and thought we were looking at agriculture and open data instead (just imagine). Well, the open data and agriculture parenthesis were closed shortly afterwards but the confusion made here is easy to interpret because open data in Burkina Faso is moving simultaneously in many directions, from agriculture to health. We are a country, the first in Francophone Africa, to engage strongly in the process of opening up data. And it was important to interest more people in this fashionable concept that is the open data.

Recap. Burkina Faso’s open data community has once again succeeded in attracting new sectors and new people in the process of opening up data. The celebration of the Open Data Day took place around the themes of opening up data in health and energy sectors, achieving good results, particularly in terms of open data and energy.

Who were at the Open Data Day Event?

One of the objectives in participating in the Open Data Day was first to present the existing ecosystem in the area of Open Data to the various stakeholders. And then, to build and strengthen partnerships to advance open data in the entire data ecosystem  in Burkina Faso.

Many different stakeholders, active in the field of open data who attended the event were presented, including the “Initiative pour un Burkina Ouvert” (Open Burkina), Open Knowledge Foundation (OKFN) Burkina Faso, BEOG NEERE (For a better future), Geek Developers Network (GDN), Burkina Open Data Initiative (BODI), Open Street Map (OSM) and the Fablab Ouagalab. This is a small group yet representative of the entities that are leading the open data movement in Burkina Faso. We can say that since the first meeting held in April 2014 in Jokkolabs, the small community has grown and contributed to an entire open data ecosystem in Burkina Faso. There was also some participants, students from the medical department of the University of Ouagadougou and health professionals, many of whom discovered the concept of open data for the first time.


What did we talk about?

The importance of open data and open data opportunities. The day began with an updating participants about open data. Many of the students and health professionals discovered the concept of open data through the introductory presentation given by Idriss Tinto, Ambassador of Open Knowledge Foundation in Burkina Faso. The presentation stressed the importance of open data for democracy with the edifying example of open elections, and opportunities in areas such as education, agriculture and health. After this theoretical phase, the day continued with more hands-on workshops.

Open data in the health sector: The first workshop focused on open data and health. The idea behind this workshop was to present the opportunities offered by open data in health, to identify key data to be collected, to consider data reusability and finally to lay the foundations of a strategy for opening data in the sector. The discussions revealed many opportunities with open data in the health sector. In addition, they also revealed something very important: the reluctance of actors in the health sector, including students …. fearing intrusion in their trade. The best example to illustrate that point was the idea to open the list of drugs and indications (in which cases the drug must be used, or not used). The students were afraid it would push patients to self-medicate, and the indications have finally been withdrawn from the list of keys information to open, for the moment. Untitled-1024x576

A citizen-based mapping project: The second workshop of the day focused on a power cuts mapping project in the city of Ouagadougou. This project, supported by Open Burkina, was presented to participants. This ambitious project aims to enable Ouagalais (citizens of Ouagadougou) to adapt to the discomfort of the power cuts by giving them quality information out of data collected from the electricity supply company. For the least, we can say the project has received valuable contributions which will enable it to evolve and take shape very soon.

Lessons learned: Anytime and anywhere where there are discussions about opening data there is also some reluctance. And the organizers of the Open Data Day 2016 in Burkina have done well to invite professionals and students in the health sector to discuss Open Data and health. To say that, when you are interested in a given sector, it is important to involve from the outset professionals of that sector to understand their fears, their reluctance and to move forward together through constructive debates. Sometimes, they are the first allies as data producers and even the beneficiaries of open data. Proof? The NENDO project which have been presented at Open Data Day was made possible thanks to the data collected by a professional of the education sector in the municipality.

At the end, in the global wave of celebration the Open Data Day 2016 (257 events), on Saturday, March 5, 2016 all the participants acknowledged that Burkina Faso has proudly made it.