Reading from books and hearing influential people speak about the ability of information to provide robust bases for making decisions and improve people's lives, I have all my life believed that "Information is power". However, lately I've come to realize that this is true only in cases where information is available and accessible to people. Unless citizens have access to information the power remains only in the hands of those who are holding it and, in some cases, this creates an environment for corruption to thrive.
Over the past year, the Open Aid Partnership, AidData and the Government of Nepal’s Public Precurement Monitoring Office (PPMO) have worked on an initiative to use Open Contracting principles to “open up” government procurement data in Nepal. Open Contracting means easy access to important information about government contracts in Nepal.
The “Regional Open Data Agenda-Setting Workshop” held in Jakarta from February 4 to 6 brought together 34 people from 15 countries from Asia, Europe, and Africa working to take the open data movement forward. The meeting was hosted by Open Data Lab (Jakarta) initiated by the Web Foundation, and the participants ranged from government bureaucrats to journalists and I/NGO representatives. Open Nepal was also represented at the workshop.
“Once data is open to the general public, it helps sidestep the waste, corruption and inefficiency”
Dr. Swarnim Wagle, Member of the National Planning Commission (NPC), expounded the importance of open data during the opening ceremony of the Open Data Day in Kathmandu, Nepal. He stressed how no one should have a monopoly over data, and that it should be free and available to use for public consumption. Increasing the availability and accessibility of data will bring different government services to the people.
This blog post by Bibhusan Bista, Chief Executive Officer of Young Innovations was originally published in Development Initiatives website.
An initiative on open data for transparency and civic participation in Nepal
This post by Anna van Schiewas was originally published in Development Gateway's Blogs.
This post continues coverage of breakout sessions held at the 7th Annual Aid Management program Good Practices Workshop in Kathmandu, Nepal.
In the last three months, I’ve been a student of “data journalism” - a form of journalism that is the product of the Internet age and the vast amount of data it generates and makes accessible. To be sure, journalism has always been driven by information derived from data, but data journalism promised something more: stories based on machine-readable, structured datasets, with the information in them extracted using software and visualized in novel ways.
Last week we celebrated Open Day 2015 in Kathmandu with great enthusiasm. The day long celebration was a full platter of events, including a hackathon, mapathon, talk sessions, discussion roundtable, theatrical play and a showcasing of initiatives.
Take a look at the Open Data Day 2015 video below for the flavour of the day!
Open Data Day this year presented a new experience for the participants. Previously, Open Data Days have highlighted the benefits of open data through technical events – for example, using data in hackathons and creating data in mapathons. This year, in addition to these tech events, we also had something very non-technical to engage a broader audience with the role and potential of open data.
At an international level we are hearing the term “Open Government Partnership” (OGP) increasingly mentioned. In Nepal, this is also becoming an increasingly discussed subject.