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 Africa Open Data and Internet Research Foundation in Ghana who received funding from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to show how local communities can use open data for sustainable development.

On Saturday 7th March 2020 and Wednesday 11 March 2020, the African Open Data and Internet Research Foundation together with the Ghana Open Data Initiative Project and with support from the Open Knowledge Foundation organised two academic open data awareness programmes for 300 participants. 

These important events were organised at two locations, Valley View University College and the University of Professional Studies (UPSA). Both events were attended by students from the computer science and engineering departments. UPSA had a total number of 140 student participants and Valley View University hard a total of 160 student participants.

The overall objective was to create awareness on data use, issues and ultimately illustrate to students how they could use data in creating citizen-centric native web and mobile applications. And, also to bring awareness to availability of open data and build the capacity of academics in Ghana. Discussions were centred on the following objectives as enshrined in the national data sharing policy:

  1. To realise the potential contribution of government data to sustainable and equitable development through improved governance within the educational sector
  2. Discuss with the academia with clear guidelines on how to implement and sustain the publication and sharing of data
  3. To provide stakeholders external to the government with assurance of the government’s ongoing commitment to publishing and sharing data, and to provide clarity on the government’s strategy for institutionalising data sharing across all public institutions
  4. To enhance and support the capacity of educational institutions to publish and manage the sharing of open data
  5. To ensure access to and use of government data by all stakeholders
  6. To ensure the quality, relevance, and usability of government data published by public institutions
  7. To enhance the policy and legal frameworks for the implementation of the Ghana Open Data Initiative and the Data Exchange Hub

The aims of the programme were three-fold:

  • Awareness creation on the availability of data and data issues in Ghana 
  • Build capacity of the students in the use of open data and how data can help drive innovation
  • Awareness creation of what application could be built out of data 

The two forums were structured in four main segments: structured presentations, panel discussions, group discussions and demonstrations of the use of open data.

At the end of the programme, we were able to create a reasonable awareness on the availability of data and use of data in open formats.  Demonstrations gave data generators an incentive to continue working to produce quality data in the open format for development.