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 the Federal University of Bahia in Brazil who received funding from Mapbox to popularise open data mapping systems, especially OpenStreetMap, among undergraduate students and young people from vulnerable areas of Salvador. But their plans had to change in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to heavy rains, we had to postpone our planned Open Data Day event until 14th March 2020. And then, on the 13th, the Federal University of Bahia decreed the indefinite suspension of all face-to-face events due to the new Coronavirus pandemic.

In the midst of the pandemic, we realised that we still have a long way to go before we can meet in person and that we are facing new challenges that are urgent, demanding our solidarity and a debate on access to information and to open data.

So we redesigned our event to take place on 10th June and to make it virtual. We will make some changes to our schedule, add international debates and convert all the funds raised to support young people from vulnerable communities in Salvador, partners of our project, so that they can stay connected to the internet in this moment of crisis. Helping them to stay in their homes, to participate in events like ours, to educate themselves, inform themselves and support their families and community. We believe, in all aspects, that we are stronger together.

And the event’s activities have already started. On 14th March, we held a virtual mapathon with the support of the Startup Social Communitech, which monitored the young people who stayed in the community while we were broadcasting the course.

In partnership with the Group Geocombate COVID-19 BA, we are undertaking joint efforts to map areas related to the flow of people and to the formation of agglomerations, in slums of Salvador. The mapping aims to guide the actions of community leaders and public authorities in the application of tests, disinfection of public places and awareness about the virus among other actions. The guidelines for this activity can be found on our event site. You can also find materials of the presentations and banners. With the support of the Open Knowledge Foundation, we made banners and shirts for the laboratories that host the event and purchased items for snacks which will be donated to community leaders.

The event will be free but a payment of R$10 can be made by those who wish to receive a certificate or donate to this cause. The new payment method and details about the event will soon be available on our website. 

We’ll see each other soon! #FicaEmCasa and #FicaEmPaz (#StayAtHome and #BeInPeace)