Who is data for? Who gets to use it and for which reasons?

Can data help social causes? If so, how?

These are some of the questions that we are asking ourselves while we think about Open Data Day. We know that the answers to these questions may look very different depending on the context, the people involved and the cause that we are fighting for. That’s why for this year’s mini grant program we want the events supported to have a social justice component.

What is Open Data Day?

Open Data Day is the yearly event where we gather to reach out to new people and build new solutions to issues in our communities using open data. To make sure some of those events have everything they needed to be great for their communities, this year we have the support of Hivos, Mapbox, Frictionless Data for Reproducible Research and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom to provide mini-grants for the people organizing Open Data Day events.

Now let me introduce you to this year’s tracks:

  • First, we have a track to Follow public money flows, particularly focusing on Open Contracting;
  • Then, we have the Open mapping track where we want to learn about the power of maps to develop better communities;
  • For the Open Science track, you can cover anything from open research data, to open access and how that fits in making science more relatable and useful for people;
  • Last but not least there is the Equal Development track, this topic can cover anything from SDG’s to using data at a very local level to give our community more agency on how it evolves.

For each of this tracks we want you to plan together and include a group that may benefit from open data but isn’t necessarily using it yet. This can be a women’s rights organization, a LGBT group, a school or university, maybe the children in your neighborhood. The possibilities are pretty broad and we want you to think and engage with different people that can benefit from using data.

Cool, so what are the mini-grants?

A mini-grant is a small fund of between $200-$300 for groups to organize Open Data Day events. Event organisers can only apply once and for just one category, so choose well.

How to apply for a mini grant

The application form will be open from today until February 3 February 10 at midnight (CST). In the application form we ask some context about where are you will organize it who is organizing it and want to plan to achieve with your Open Data Day event. We want you to explain why you want to work with certain group and how you will use the mini grant to improve your community.

There are some important things to be aware of:

  1. To all grants: We cannot fund government applications, whether national or local. We can only support civil society actions. We encourage governments to find their local groups and engage with them!
  2. For all tracks we have agreed with the supporters to prioritize applications from groups and organizations in the global South. We still encourage you to apply for a mini grant if you think that the funds will help you achieve the goals of your event wherever you are.

If you have any questions, you can reach out to the Network team. There’s also the Open Data Day google group, where you can connect with others interested in the events!