As evidenced through documented experiences lack of access to information prevents informed decision making on where and how best to direct help and resources. Information such as number of households in the affected area, population size, number of lives lost, nature and extent of destruction, types of needs of the affected populace, resources available to respond etc can support response teams to effectively plan resources and coordinate necessary services.
Having good access to accurate and timely information is crucial for effective disaster response. However, in disaster situations when the environment is fragile, communications are broken and the needs are rapidly changing, how challenging is it to find, access, and use information?
To find out more about the information needs and barriers to information access and use, Open Nepal spoke with a number of people engaged in the Nepal earthquake relief operations. We share their experiences here.
While Nepal has been reeling from the chaos, fear and devastation caused by the two massive earthquakes, some resolute souls have walked that extra mile to underpin rescue, relief and rebuilding efforts by making pertinent information accessible. Over the past three weeks a number of nationally-led initiatives have sprung into action to facilitate information flow.
The news of the devastating earthquake in Nepal and the impact of its aftershocks this weekend are of great concern to everyone at Development Initiatives. The reports of rising death tolls are extremely worrying as the impact of the disaster becomes increasing clear.
What happens when you try to collate all available data on spending in education and health, within specific localities, to a maximum level of granularity –while building interoperability with data about the social impact of that spending?
Development Initiatives, a partner of Open Nepal, has been working in Uganda to find out whether “joining up data” like this could make information more accessible to local decision-makers.
March 25th was Document Freedom Day – an international day to celebrate and raise awareness of Open Standards. Open Knowledge Nepal in collaboration with the Centre for Labour and Social Studies celebrated the day with a half-day seminar to give voice to the movement for a free information infrastructure. With their permission, Open Nepal is pleased to share a blog post about the event, written by Nikesh Balami, volunteer of Open Knowledge Nepal.
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.