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.
For the first time we celebrated the Open Data Day in Feira de Santana. The date marked the beginning of a discussion with various sectors of the city and beyond about transparency in the city, its problems and opportunities.
Feira is a city that, unfortunately, is marked by a lack of government transparency. There is a lack of knowledge both by the citizens about their rights to have access to any public data and by the public authorities about the benefits of opening their data and letting society participate in solving problems.
Thinking about the local reality, we organised two round tables: the first one about transparency as public policy and the second one about open science. In the first, we discussed the role of transparency in the creation of public policies and its impact on popular participation. We were attended by members of the press, public agencies and activists. A councilman also participated in the panel. In the second we talked about open science, a theme that has become even more relevant during the pandemic of the new coronavirus. We had the presence of researchers from the region and from renowned institutions such as FIOCRUZ.
Besides the round tables, we also organised a hackathon to analyze the city's data, aiming to encourage the exploration of data that the open data project of Feira has been collecting.
The event was 100% online and can be followed on YouTube. Photos and videos can be seen here.
The organisation was done by Dados Abertos de Feira, a civil society initiative that advocates for transparency in Feira de Santana, and the Graduate Program in Computer Science from the State University of Feira de Santana.
Nosso hackathon começouuuu! 🌵🧑🏾💻— Dados Abertos de Feira (@DadosDeFeira) March 6, 2021
As equipes terão que desenvolver análises com dados de Feira de Santana usando 2 objetivos sustentáveis da @ONUBrasil como tema.#OpenDataDay2021 #ODDFeira2021 https://t.co/mSDjI6ZDCe
The most relevant thing we learned was that collaboration is essential to advance any agenda. By bringing together a civil society activist group and researchers, we can address the same theme within the needs of each group.
We also learned about the needs that exist regarding data. We had almost 30 teams signed up for the hackathon, but only one delivered. When we approached the teams to understand the reasons for dropping out, we realized that two reasons were essential: 1) the deadline was short (two days) and 2) a lot of data that the participants wanted to explore is not available.
Understanding more about the data and the limitations in data exploration will help us guide the actions of the Feira Open Data initiative and what collaborations can be made in the future to make data more accessible in the city of Feira de Santana.
How couldn't I? :) It's amazing to have one international day, where we can celebrate the goal of making the world more transparent. This makes easier to organising events and inviting people to come over and discuss the topic.