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 Khumbo Bangala Chirembo, a librarian at the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources in Malawi, who received funding from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to host a workshop for other librarians to raise awareness of open data and its benefits.

On 6th March 2020, Malawi woke up to celebrate Open Data Day. The event was celebrated at Bunda College under the theme: Open Data Day awareness and its benefits. The theme’s target audience was librarians from various institutions.

To raise awareness of the open data management gap in the library and information science field in Malawi, myself and Mr Anthony Nyangulu, as facilitators of the event, thought it necessary to reach out to librarians and organise a special workshop on open data.

It was hoped that librarians who interface with knowledge seekers could play a pivotal role in open data advocacy once they became aware of the tenets and benefits of open data. The workshop imparted skills on accessing and using open data for research and development. 

Participants were taken through the philosophy of openness, data and metadata, open data principles, the Open Government Partnership charter, data types, potential uses of open data, open data portals, publishing open data, creating and managing open data repositories, data hosting plans, open data licensing and copyright.

The workshop was well attended by a cross section of librarians from the Malawi Parliament, Bunda College of Agriculture, Natural Resources College, Mitundu Secondary School and Library Science students from Malawi Library Association (MALA). Participants hailed the Open Knowledge Foundation for sponsoring the training. Fifteen librarians participated in the workshop.