Afghanistan Celebrates Open Data Day!

Afghanistan Celebrates Open Data Day!

Open Data Day is celebrated by thousands around the world very year on 3rd of March. In Afghanistan, for the first time this day was celebrated by Afghanistan Data Hub and Porsesh Research and Studies Organization in a formal event. The event was attended by a group of 14 young leaders and activists coming from a diverse background such as university students, researchers, data analysts, computer science and civil service.

The event served two primary objectives:

  1. Raise awareness of open data and call for action.
  2. Establish thematic working groups for practical and impactful projects.

In the agenda, there were two icebreakers/games: (1) fortune telling with data and (2) testing knowledge of geography. Using simple demographic information, Fahim Yousufzai predicted undisclosed information of three participants, which raised a lot of interest in the data and techniques. Fahim is a data analyst with the Asia Foundation and he used the data from the Survey of the Afghan People—the largest and longest running perception survey of close to 100 thousand Afghans collected annually since 2006. The second icebreaker included guessing country shapes, and introducing a RShiny dashboard developed for this purpose, which can be used to teach geography to school pupils.

The main outcome of the event was establishing three thematic working groups for practical and impactful projects. The three groups include: (1) data for journalism group, (2) data visualization group, and (3) generating/collecting new data group.

Data for journalism group works on topics that are newsworthy and important, such as corruption, governance, security and economic topics. This group will work on critically digesting data-backed news stories and react to them.

Data visualization group works to present data in the simplest yet richest manner to help the public consume the data easier. The group will develop interactive data visualization tools too.

Collecting new data group works to add new and important data by collecting or transforming existing, unclean data. This group will focus on public data provided by the government at its first activity.

Each group will be working generally independent of each other, but members of each group can collaborate. The members work voluntarily and mostly remotely. The meetings will be organized among group members by consensus.

Open Data Day 2018 in Kabul