Spreading the message of open data to girls in Cameroon - Event Report

Saturday 6 March 2021
16:00 (WAT)
Kumba, Cameroon (Europe, Middle East & Africa)
Mafor Anna Ngwenyi, Girls’ Tech-Changer Community

On Saturday 6th March 2021, the eleventh Open Data Day took place with people around the world organising hundreds of events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. Thanks to generous support from key funders, the Open Knowledge Foundation was able to support the running of more than 60 of these events via our mini-grants scheme.

This event received an Open Knowledge Foundation mini-grant thanks to support from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

Photo of Spreading the message of open data to girls in Cameroon

How did your event celebrate open data?

On Saturday 6th of March 2021 at 4pm, Kumba in the south-west region of Cameroon woke up to celebrate Open Data Day. The event was celebrated in two sessions; in my neighborhood with students of all age groups and with the secondary school students at Government Secondary School Kang Barombi. 

The event was celebrated under the theme “Raising awareness in students and uses of open data to solve community challenges”. The main objective of organising this event was to build capacity, create awareness on data use and illustrate to students how they could solve community issues using data.

The objectives of this event were:
• To raise awareness on what open data was all about, its availability and data issue in Cameroon.
• Building capacity of the students, sharing the benefits in the use of open data and how data can help drive innovation and solve community challenges. The work was structured on demonstration and presentation of mini-project belts of using open data, structured presentation, networking and collaboration. 

The following topics were explained in detail to the students:
• Social and economic aspects of open data in society. 
• Media and journalism data, Marketing and social media data, business directory data, academic data etc...
• Encouraging youth to explore open data and to digitally transform Cameroon.
• Using open data as a means to secure public and private funds.
• The use of open data to improve sustainability in agricultural production.

At the end, we were able to create reasonable awareness on the availability and benefits of open data. We encouraged students to explore open data so as to solve the challenges that plague the society. The students pleaded that an open data organisation should be created in Kumba Town to enhance learning.

Lessons learned from your event

I learned that in events like this, everyone around including kids should be considered because they are the future leaders of tomorrow. Teaching them about it will give them early access to data which will help drive innovation.

After facing numerous challenges such as electricity and power failure, I learn how to improvise and use local materials such as lamps, cardboard, bold makers, etc... to present my ideas in a more logical and illustrative manner.

I equally learned the benefits of open data in the following domain:

Transparency. Open data supports public oversight of governments and helps reduce corruption by enabling greater transparency. 
Public Service Improvement. Open data gives citizens the raw materials they need to engage their governments and contribute to the improvement of public services. 
Innovation and Economic Value. Public data, and their re-use, are key resources for social innovation and economic growth. Open data provides new opportunities for governments to collaborate with citizens and evaluate public services by giving citizens access to data about those services. 
Efficiency. Open data makes it easier and less costly for government ministries to discover and access their own data or data from other ministries, which reduces acquisition costs, redundancy and overhead.

Why do you love Open Data Day?

I love open data because, through the adoption of open data policies in businesses, civil society and even governmental bodies, it increases efficiency, transparency, innovation and economic growth thereby solving the problems that plague our society. That is, it is a day that we share a lot of knowledge to a lot of people about open data and how to use this open data to develop creative solutions for our community problem.

Did you or your team produce any resources (datasets/tools/maps/code/etc) during your Open Data Day celebrations?


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