On Saturday 7th March 2020, the tenth Open Data Day took place with people around the world organising over 300 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. Thanks to generous support from key funders, the Open Knowledge Foundation was able to support the running of more than 60 of these events via our mini-grants scheme

This blogpost is a report from Afroleadership in Cameroon who received funding from Hivos to organise a training on the analysis of budget data by civil society using open data.

Afroleadership marks Open Data Day 2020 in Cameroon

Open Data Day 2020 Cameroon was held in Yaoundé and saw the mobilisation of around forty participants made up of civil society organisations, journalists and activists in the field of governance, peace journalism and civic technologies. The workshop started with an introduction on open data by Charlie Martial NGOUNOU, the president of AfroLeadership. 

Starting with the symbolism of the celebration of Open Data Day, he explained what open data is, using Tim Berners-Lee’s 5 Star Linked Data model. He finally called attention to Law No.2019/024 of 24 December 2019 which called on public authorities in Cameroon to publish data on websites accessible to local populations, a great opportunity for civil society organisations doing advocacy for open data.

After these remarks, the floor was given to Mr. Guy Merlin TATCHOU. Guy took the participants through an introduction to the OpenSpending platform, applying some of the open data principles introduced above on a dataset from local governments. He made a slight technical demonstration of the necessary steps to populate the platform, and present information in a way that is useful for citizens. Participants recognised Open Spending as a great tool for transparency and accountability, and requested to be more empowered in the future. 

Next, Mr. Cyprien TANKEU, AfroLeadership’s civic tech director, started his presentation with a demonstration of an example of visualisation of macroeconomic data with Google Public Data which is a platform for aggregating public information. He then moved on to develop a case on geographical data. He finally presented a use of OpenStreetMap. 

The d-portal is a platform that traces the flow of financial data from donors, using the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) Standard. Charlie taught participants how to make queries into the d-portal and to retrieve information according to several indicators. It gives evidence to CSOs, donors and governments to inspect international aid spending against the reality in countries in various sectors (education, agriculture, health, etc.).

As in 2019, Cameroon was part of the Open Data Day 2020. At the end of the workshop, participants requested to be part of the Open Budgets Network and expressed the desire to be trained extensively on how to use the Open Spending platform and the d-portal for advocacy on transparency and accountability.