Connected Development (CODE), a non-profit organisation based in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory, famous for its quarterly #OpenDataParty, hosted data enthusiasts and participants across West Africa to another 2-day intense workshop and fun-filled Open Data Party. The event which kicked off on 28th-29th November was in collaboration with Henrich Boell Foundation and Open Knowledge Foundation Network (OKFN).
The Abuja Open Data Party which was scheduled to be part of end of the year activities for CODE witnessed the largest turn-out of Data enthusiasts from various field of endeavours; professionals in information science , Tech savvys, social media experts, bloggers, NGOs/CBOs, top journalists and On-Air-Personalities as well as post-graduate students from various institutions of higher learning across Nigeria and West Africa convened under one roof of Nelson Mandela Hall, African University of Science and Technology, Abuja, to share Knowledge, professional experiences and current development and updates in Data world, with one another in a fun-filled and relaxed atmosphere.
“This is the first biggest data event that I have attended and heard of in Nigeria so far, said Ibrahim Ajala, a Master Student of Educational Measurement and Evaluation, University of Portharcourt.
A participant from Cameroon, Jean Kamga who works as a reporter for West Africa Democracy Radio said, it was one of most exciting moment of knowledge sharing and networking. I will make sure do not miss the next Open data party he said with much anticipation.
Oludotun Babeyemi, CODE, Lead Development Consultant and top facilitator at the event said, the whole idea of this event basically is to enhance the capacities of data enthusiasts across the country and by extension West Africa, through the use of Data scrapping Tools, Data visualisation Tools, Data Analysis Tool, Data collation Tools, crisis/street mapping with the Google maps tools etc. These tools can be used online and offline, for instance, the use of Google tools/drive to collect and collate data and infographics for data visualisation. These tools help you analyse data without stress, with excellent and accurate desired results.
He further stated that most data enthusiasts often ignore these tools because they do not know how to use them to achieve perfect results in data analysis and visualisation.
Oludotun Babayemi and Adams Talsma
Other offline activities such as how NGOs could write funding proposals, community building as well as advocacy/Campaign strategies for Non-governmental organisation were all taught at the event.
Tina Armstrong, one of the top environmental journalists in Nigeria who made presentation at event said as a journalist the use of data has helped improved her reporting skills in journalism over the year, and has made her to become one of the most sought after journalists amongst her colleagues in Nigeria. She added that attending this Open data party has enhanced my outlook and capacities about the use of online tools, and other office tools to present data and information. For instance, I was able to use Powerpoint effectively for my public presentation for the first time at this workshop, she said.
Friday, 28th November, the first day of the Open data party was about theoretical aspect of open data, witnessed different facilitators from different organisations making presentation on the dynamism involved in Data; its sourcing, use, collection, analysis and collation for wide range of developmental purposes particularly in the Non-governmental sector. Organisations such as Reboot, Premium Times Nigeria, Right 2 Know and Central Bank of Nigeria amongst others were there to learn and teach the participants new things as related to open data.
Adam Talsam, Programme Manager, Reboot Nigeria, made presentation at titled “Make Data Matter” he emphasised the need for various organisations to keep enhancing their capacities in the area of application and use of data to achieve speedy progress and results in any projects they embark upon.
Olufemi, a Journalist, Premium Times Nigeris shared journalism tools for storytelling for those who wouldn’t mind to know how journalists tell their stories with elaborate use of data.
Miss Nedum, Programme Assistant, Right 2 Know, who also made presentation spoke extensively on the importance of Freedom of Information Bill for every citizen in Nigeria. She explained the need for the citizery to understand their rights to be well informed of the government’s agenda and successive progress in the polity through the of use open data modalities to carry the public along in decision making.
Participants were encouraged to share and teach one another during the Break out sessions at the first day of the event.
Saturday, 29th November, second day open data party was the day for practical sessions, participants were charged to go fully practical based on the knowledge they had acquired during the various theoretical sessions and presentation previous day.
Sidney Bamidele of E-Health Africa taught the practicalities involved in the use of open street mapping, an online mapping tools to source, collect, collate and analyse data.
Oludotun Babayemi, shared more knowledge on Budget Tracking tools that could be used effectively in Nigeria and other West African countries using samples of Health and Education Budget Tracker Models, which he designed for CODE use.
At the end of the each practical session all the participants were asked to present their practical assignment for assessments by the facilitator. While vote of thanks was given at the closing of the event by Hamza Lawal, one of the top executives of CODE.