As part of the Open Data Day 2022 small grants program, the Open Knowledge Foundation (OKF) supported 14 events. 5 organisations received small grants under the Environmental data category to host open data events and activities: Tanjona Association from Madagascar, Bolivia Tech Hub from Bolivia, Dream Factory Foundation from Botswana, Lekeh Development Foundation from Nigeria, and Fundación Datalat from Ecuador.
Category: Environmental data
Here are some highlights of the Environmental data events supported by Open Data Day 2022.
- Tanjona Association (Madagascar)
Tanjona Association, a Madagascar based non-profit organisation hosted a two-days workshop for young researchers from the University of Mahajanga and offered them basic training on GIS and spatial analysis for biodiversity conservation. The event was held on 26 and 27 July 2022 at the University of Mahajanga under the name “Hay Tech”. The objectives of the event were to familiarise young researchers from multiple backgrounds with using GIS as a crucial conservation tool for decision, strategy, and planning; to train young researchers in critical thinking about conservation strategy and climate change action based on GIS outcomes; and to create a space for networking among researchers.
30 participants joined the workshop and 3 mentors from the University of Mahajanga facilitated the workshop. The initial session started by setting up QGIS, and for that Herizo RADONIRINA helped participants. Kanto RAZANAJATOVO opened the workshop by welcoming participants, conducting a self-introduction, and an ice-breaking session. Then, Dr. Bernard ANDRIAMAHATANTSOA made an introductory session about the importance of GIS in the environmental context and biodiversity conservation. The impact of climate change on biodiversity loss and the necessity of monitoring biodiversity were also pointed out.
The workshop content was beginner friendly so that everyone could follow it easily. Case studies and datasets of the Boeny region were given to participants as an application and the whole session has been conducted using both French and Malagasy languages. The following modules were done during the session:
- Understanding the QGIS interface
- Creating a map and importing data, scaling
- Handling vector and raster file
- Basics spatial analysis
Mentors lead the participants to think about solutions to tackle climate change effects and biodiversity loss in Madagascar based on the outcomes from the GIS workshop session. In this session, participants are trained to adopt critical thinking on issues that Madagascar biodiversity is facing. Numerous ideas were collected from each participant; to support researchers from the local/national government to undertake an in-depth study about biodiversity and climate change; to adopt an adequate policy and good governance to stop biodiversity losses; to build synergies for the multidisciplinary collaborations and commitments.
- Bolivia Tech Hub (Bolivia)
Bolivia Tech Hub organised Open Data Day Bolivia on Saturday, 18 June 2022; where participants paired as a team to work together for data exploration and collaborative work. During a 7 hours long event, the participants selected 5 topics to organise the exploration. The topics were:
- Environmental needs water and soil
- Environmental monitoring
- Environmental biodiversity
- Waste and protected area
34 participants (14 female and 20 male) from La Paz and El Alto city joined the event. During the event, we learned that access to environmental data from Bolivia is not readily available as we thought. Nevertheless, there’s a vibrant community with the need and desire to work to make them accessible. Also that the networking part of the event was the participant’s favorite.
- Dream Factory Foundation (Botswana)
On 25 June 2022, Dream Factory Foundation hosted the first ever in-person workshop focusing on the importance of using Open Data sources to support smallholder farmers’ agricultural activities. Guest lecturer of the workshop was Bashanganyi Magwape who not only made the workshop informative but also practical by running an exercise where attendees created an open data source using the Whatsapp Business API to input information they wanted on each other in real-time.
One of the highlights of the event was the presence of Honourable Tselawa, the Councillor who was there on behalf of the Mayor of the City of Francistown. He remarked how this event was the first of its kind in the city and that he would use the learnings to parliament to advocate for diverting currently closed river channels to be reopened for the benefit of local farmers. He said, “I have walked away from here with a new mandate to take to parliament”.
The event was attended by 31 guests, including government officials as well as farmers across the country. The tagline for the day became: “Open Data is about we and not me”. We used a WhatsApp Chatbot data collection tool to show how we can practically contribute to open data, how easily farmers can contribute, and how we can benefit from the answers as well.
- Lekeh Development Foundation (Nigeria)
With a goal to train the Ogoni community on practical air quality monitoring for effective environmental management, Lekeh Development Foundation organised the Open Data Day to train critical stakeholders on the use and deployment of air quality monitoring sensors, and the need of advocacy to entrench a clean and healthy environment for the Ogoni people. Ogoni has become a symbol of environmental degradation, which has impacted air, water and soil. This has led to various problems ranging from environmental, socio-cultural, and then, to health issues. The event was hosted on 28 June 2022.
40 participants were carefully selected among climate defenders, environmental/human rights activists, members of coastal communities, and key stakeholders to be trained on air note devices and practical air quality monitoring for effective environmental management and advocacy. Presentations were on;
- Air quality reading for advocacy, engagement, and campaign at the local, state, and federal levels.
- Practical demonstration on how to take readings and use the air quality monitor.
- Impact of air quality monitoring on health and wellness.
The event strengthened the capacity of the community to protect themselves and the environment in general by increasing their knowledge of environmental data collection. During the event, it was stressed many times that there is a deep relation between the well-being of a community and the well-being of the environment.
During her presentation, Nnenna Obike Oviebor noted that the air quality note is an apt tool that should be deployed in all areas of air pollution monitoring to actually get the real data and extent of air pollution. The data could serve as evidence for advocacy to bring about the needed action for the well-being of the community people. Participants appreciated the organiser and funder of the project for enlightening them on air quality management. Participants said there is a need for coastal Ogoni communities to monitor the air quality and have devices installed at strategic points, a soil spills and gas flaring are sadly becoming normal incidents.
LeBari Baridakara from the local government called on the air note devices to be donated to a climate change unit in the local authority for in situ air quality monitoring for record-keeping at the local level. We hope to further engage 10 volunteers who would be monitoring the instrument for bi-weekly and monthly analysis of the data. The data will be compared with allowed limits, and the outcomes will be shared with the local authorities within Ogoni. This will hopefully help drive the needed action.
- Fundación Datalat (Ecuador)
Fundación Datalat organised Mapathon to create maps with environmental open data. The Mapathon was a hybrid event that took place on 29 July 2022 that promoted the use of environmental open data that are being published by the Ministry of Environment related to forests, national parks, and conservation lands in Ecuador. A kit was provided to all participants, which included all material needed to visualise maps offline using the data provided during the event.
The Mapathon was aimed at people between 18-35 years old, including students, activists, journalists, civil society, and other data and environment enthusiasts. It took place locally in Latacunga – Ecuador and it also had a virtual space through Zoom. The activities included a workshop to explain open data, environmental open data, off-line mapping tools, and mapping indications, followed by hands-on activities to produce maps with the provided materials.
The event was facilitated by the Datalat team which included experts on geography, data analysis, visualisation, and communications and design. It also included personnel from the Ministry of Environment that guided the attendees about the use of the environmental data. The Mapathon lasted 4 hours and was carried out in 3 parts;
The participants used 5 open geographic datasets focused on the province of Cotopaxi. These databases were: a) National Protected Area System, b) Restoration priority area, c)Area Under Conservation from the Socio-Bosque Programme, d) Land Cover 2018, e) Deforestation period 2016-2018. In total, between online and on-site participants, the Mapathon produced 30 analog maps about environmental and conservation issues that allowed us to understand the perspective each participant had about these issues and environmental conflicts.
Open Data Day is an annual celebration of open data all over the world, where we gather to reach out to new people and build new solutions to issues in our communities using open data.
For the 2022 edition of Open Data Day, Open Knowledge Foundation supported 14 events with small grants. Please find the details of all grant winners here.