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 by Dr Hector Mongi from the University of Dodoma in Tanzania who received funding from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to invite girls from a local school to a geospatial open data networking event to instil environmental thinking among young girls.

The University of Dodoma (UDOM) in Tanzania with support from the Open Knowledge Foundation (OKF) and its partners, organised our Open Data Day activity on March 7, 2020.

The University invited young girls from Dodoma Secondary School to celebrate the day through a networking session that ended with a demonstration of open environmental data resources and some hands-on practices. Fifty girl students accompanied by their teacher, Ms Mwajuma Musa, together with an enthusiastic team of UDOM Library staff gained knowledge about open data and open environmental data resources.

The opening session was chaired by Dr Hilda Mwangakala, Deputy Principal of College of Informatics and Virtual Education of UDOM. Before her inspirational opening talk, I briefed Dr Mwangakala and the rest of participants about Open Data Day, where it was being celebrated globally and how the participants would benefit from the sessions.

Kicking-off the networking session, Ms Agatha Mashindano, the Coordinator for Institutional Repository at UDOM, introduced the students to the open access databases, zooming in the UDOM Institutional repository and other available free online resources.

Later I took the participants through more open databases and other open resources for environmental data. The first one was Resource Watch, then NASA Open Data, Global Forest Watch, and ESRI’s COVID-19 Hub.

During the session, Dr Grace Msoffe who is Director of Library Services at UDOM and the host of the event, encouraged the young girls to pursue their dreams because they are able. She led them to sing and dance a song “I am a Superwoman” that was composed by Tanzanian Women All Stars.

After introduction topics on open data for the environment, participants performed hands-on exercises with guidance from the library staff and other technical personnel. The presentations and hands-on session was followed by a library tour where the participants were shown the many collections on informatics, virtual education, earth sciences and engineering available at the UDOM Library