We’re delighted to announce that the Open Knowledge Foundation Brazil has signed a Memorandum of Understanding to become a, full, official Chapter of the Open Knowledge Foundation. You can read the official announcement on our press page, and here their coordinator, Everton Alvarenga, tells us more.

In July 2011, during the Open Knowledge Conference in Berlin, the formation of a Chapter of the Open Knowledge Foundation in Brazil was proposed. It was exciting to see that global network of people opening up knowledge in several fields: government data, educational resources, scientific knowledge and cultural goods.

In Brazil, several groups and individuals had already been doing amazing projects related to open knowledge (or “conhecimento livre”, as we translate it), from volunteers involved in the Wikimedia projects to members of the civil society trying to reform our outdated copyright law, from professors and students advocating for open educational resources to researchers trying to improve the access to scientific knowledge, and from developers and journalists starting to use modern tools to improve data analysis to create stories to developers and activists raising awareness of the importance of government date to be open and giving examples on how to use the available data.

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In the same spirit that guides the global Open Knowledge Foundation Network as a whole, the Brazil Local Group has been working for the last 2 years to form a local network supporting open knowledge, which we call “Rede pelo Conhecimento Livre”. We have brought together a national network aiming to connect all the amazing actors of the free culture movement and open movement in the country. We place a high value on our community roots, emphasizing decentralized collaboration. We firmly believe that all the fantastic groups and individuals building towards openness in Brazil will be stronger together, and our main task is to facilitate this, be it through projects aligned with our mission to open all forms of knowledge or supporting the communities part of our network.

To make this possible, the hard work of many people was necessary. We have been participating in and organizing events to promote open knowledge in several ways: at the international and local level, and also in the context of Latin America. We are supporting an active open science working group, and supporting other civil society organization to understand the importance of open data, for example through our visualizations of budget data. Our group has also actively bringing the School of Data to Portuguese speakers and we are planning to continue with several activities in the following years. And there is more: with some of our partners, from academics to other civil society organizations, we have started to work as a hosting organization, making projects to happen in a more dynamic and less bureaucratic way. Being a very young organization, we are still building our governance with a focus on community-driven decision making whenever possible, and we are also working to have a channel for crowd-funded projects to achieve our goals.

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Going forward, we see big challenges and opportunities for Open Knowledge Brazil, the “Rede pelo Conhecimento Livre”. We see the OKF Brazil as a key driver for a truly participatory democracy in the country, with access to knowledge and openness in several sectors as a key to our development. One of main challenges will be to build an organization with sustainable projects and give continuity to several good initiatives from the civil society we have seen that ended in nothing, but we are willing to change that. And you all are very welcome to join our network through your collaboration or new projects we can make together!