The Development Cooperation Report (DCR) is the government’s annual flagship publication aimed at disseminating comprehensive information about the international aid coming to Nepal. The latest 2012-13 edition reveals that 22 percent of our national budget in the fiscal year 2013-14 comprised of aid from international sources, and that these resources finance most of Nepal’s development expenditures.
On 22 June, around 20 participants came to the computer lab we booked at Centre for Software Engineering, Surkhet Road, Nepalgunj. We waited till 10AM before the event kicked off. Bamdev Pokharel, Nepalgunj District coordinator of Youth Initiative, welcomed all the participants before handing over the sessions to me. Youth Initiative, a not-for-profit youth organisation, working for the capacity development of youths in Nepal, has presence in number of districts in Nepal.
Open data provides huge potential to advance our understanding of the world and ultimately to bring about change to improve the lives of people around the world. Increased access to data from government, donors, the private sector, civil society and citizens provides a huge opportunity for journalists to use this data to help shape and inform their work and to provide greater insights into what is happening in the world.
Development Initiatives are currently looking to hire a consultant to take forward Open Nepal, a national CSO led initiative to increase the availability of open development data. The role is exciting and varied and the successful candidate will lead our involvement in all aspects of Open Nepal to maintain momentum and prepare the groundwork for future plans.
In contrast to many other countries, the main drivers of the movement for access to open information in Nepal have been civil society and technical activists. In this blog we introduce you to some of the movers and shakers in Nepal’s open development world.
The Open Development Toolkit is a joint project between Open Nepal partner Development Initiatives and the Open Knowledge foundation to equip those in developing countries with the tools needed to access, use and understand aid data. We conducted a short interview with the Toolkit’s Project Lead, Zara Rahman, to find out more about this intriguing new project.
So, tell us... what is this Toolkit about?
As in many other countries, both developing and developed, corruption is a serious problem in Nepal. Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index rates Nepal at 116th out of 177 countries, listing Nepal as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Corruption takes place when power holders abuse their authority to fulfill their own vested interest instead of using it to serve the intended beneficiaries. The act of misusing power will continue until the system in which power-holders function is made more transparent and until their performances are regularly tracked.
At Open Nepal we hope that by sharing useful resources designed to enable development actors to better understand, disclose, access and use data we can strengthen efforts to improve accountability. Ultimately we aim to improve the overall effectiveness of development efforts in Nepal, and hope that by sharing the work, recommendations and materials from others we can build our shared expertise. If you are aware of any interesting materials please get in touch – we would be pleased to share them with the network via this blog.