As part of the Open Data Day 2022 small grants program, the Open Knowledge Foundation (OKF) supported 14 events.  2 organisations received small grants under the Data for equal development category to host open data events and activities: Agro Tech Liberia from Liberia and SUUDU ANDAL from Burkina Faso.

Category: Data for equal development

Here are some highlights of the Data for equal development events supported by Open Data Day 2022.

  1. Agro Tech Liberia (Liberia)

For inclusive and sustainable development, open data serve as a catalyst and contribute to the planning and monitoring of social and economic development in modern societies. With this motive, on 15 June 2022, Agro Tech Liberia organised an Open Data Day event in Paynesville under the theme: Data for Food Security Symposium. The event was held at The Innovation Lab of YouthConnekt, situated at the Ministry of Youth and Sports. The event brought together participants from diverse backgrounds: students, social workers, young farmers, and digital experts.

The event’s goals were to raise awareness, transfer knowledge, and share experience on the importance of open data for social and economic development in relation to national food security. Experts presented in-depth insights on data production, processing, and sharing. They also indicated possible sources to access open data.,

Mr. Donish Mulbah Pewee, Executive Director for Youth in Art and Technology Network (YOTAN) was the expert speaker for the event. His presentation provided a basic knowledge of data, its use of it, and data innovation as well as processes of data development. The presentation also included the benefits of open data for the people. An interactive session followed, where participants had the opportunity to ask questions and get practical experience in the use of open data.

A panel discussion was also held at the event to allow professionals using open data to share their experiences. The panelists were Ms. Aretha K. Togbah, Executive Director of Organisation for Women Empowerment, Mr. Courage Cheleegbo, Technical Director of CYGEC IT Solutions, and Mr. Joseph M. D. Johnson, National Coordinator of YouthConnekt – Liberia. The discussion was based on their experiences using open data to design solutions to social problems affecting vulnerable populations, including youth, women, and rural communities. The discussion was moderated by Mr. Jonathan S. Stewart, a food security advocate, agriculture development professional, and open data enthusiast.

40 participants (25 males and 15 females) joined the event. They were students, social workers, farmers, and emerging agriculture professionals.

The outcomes of the interactive discussions were: 

  • The government should develop and make available data on agriculture, specifically on production, soil, water, market, consumption, and farmers.
  • The government and development organisations should use digital platforms to disseminate data, to make all citizens aware of things that are happening in their communities
  • Youth and farmers should always be granted access to data, in order  to enhance their work in food security, community development, and decision making
  1. SUUDU ANDAL (Burkina Faso)

On 22 July 2022, Suudu Andal organised a fireside chat on open data with Séoné BILAL and Abdoul Aziz TRAORE to discuss how communities can use data for local and global development in the context of governance and security in Burkina Faso. 20 participants including 12 females and leaders of different organisations were present at the event.

At the fireside chat, the leader discussed how data can be used to inform the development and contribute to peace and security in Burkina Faso in a context of deleterious political transition and security. One of the things that participants agreed on was the difficulty of accessing data in this crisis. The government authority is often reluctant to provide data, whether it be on populations, existing projects, funding opportunities, etc. This is because one cannot necessarily control the use that the citizen makes of it and for what purpose.

Also with the transition in Burkina Faso, many changes have taken place in the administration. The observation made by the leaders of associations who participated in the event is that there is a lack of knowledge of the concept of “open data” by the latter. In addition, these authorities are afraid to share information. Beyond the government aspect, access to information and transparency are not always present among civil society organisations, which also do not disclose certain data that can help avoid repetition in development projects. This is justified by the fact that organisations want to preserve their data in order to apply for other calls for projects and better position themselves in areas of need.

The young people attending the event agreed on the fact that citizens must be aware of their right to access information, which must be a default and not an option. Another point is that access to information can also limit unemployment: if the information is disclosed for example on the support funds for youth, the latter can compete and engage in entrepreneurship and have stable incomes.

As a way to facilitate access to information, the leaders mentioned that frameworks for meetings between the administration and civil organisations; open data days in rural and urban areas could be initiated to better inform citizens. After the event, many were committed to promoting data provision for equitable and inclusive development. The fireside chat had a total of 50+ questions; lasted about 150 minutes and saw 20 participants.

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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.