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Annual Report 2017

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Open Data Medias 2

Supporting the development of a network of African data activists

Calendrier : July 2017 – December 2018 / Budget global : €600,000


Despite the recent progress, journalists from French-speaking Africa still lack the skills to transform open data into a key tool of accountability and citizen-led control of public initiatives in their countries.

Open Data Media 2 helped to structure an autonomous network of open data activists from twelve African countries. It is essentially based on the network of journalists and civil society organisation leaders in French-speaking Africa who have already been trained in the technical basics and the issues of open data in the context of Open Data Media 1 and who have taken the first steps towards promoting and developing open data in their countries following the OGP Summit (Open Government Partnership) in Paris in 2016. Participants from the Sahel (Niger, Mali and Mauritania) supplemented this group and benefited from a session bringing them up to date.

During the two training courses carried out in 2017, the participants honed their technical skills in collecting, disseminating and promoting open data. Thanks to the acquisition of new tools, they are now capable of taking a critical approach to data and discussing sensitive issues while ensuring that files are transmitted securely. They are also able to extract large quantities of data and feed the Open Data Index (an indicator that lists countries according to the openness of government data) with information regarding their own countries. Finally, they launched projects to set up a database relating to public policies in their countries of origin.

Creating a hub of expertise on open data in Africa

Eventually, this network of “data activists” will constitute a hub of expertise in terms of using and advocating open data, for use by the media, international and local organisations that defend democratic transparency, or the public. They will also be able to support the integration of their country into conventions and conferences involving open data and will constitute the preferred points of dissemination for research and data publication organisations.

Supporting around 20 open data pioneers for investigative or advocacy purposes constitutes a first step towards more effective questioning by civil society on important political, economic, health and environmental issues. By training a vanguard at the forefront of the issue of open data, Open Data Media 2 has created the conditions for constructive dialogue between citizens and the authorities.

I was able to discover the power of data in the practice of investigative journalism, in order to make the subjects investigated more credible. I have now mastered my computer as a comprehensive and effective work tool.
Gaston Sawadogo, beneficiary of ODMedias 2

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