In Nigeria, we are in the midst of a data revolution, with more government’s ministries, department and agencies making commitments to publish the data they collect in an effort to increase transparency and accountability, to empower citizens to engage with governments, to improve basic services, and to advocate for change.
Skill gaps of entrepreneurs in using data to make decisions, can be filled by empowering media, civil society, and individual change makers to understand and use data that has been released. Likewise, it is important to build capacities of government institution’s statistics department on providing these data in formats, which are easily accessible, and also responsible. Government officials and entrepreneurs need skills to find, clean, analyze, and present data in a responsible manner, while NGOs and journalist need skills to used data effectively, in order to gain powerful insights and create compelling stories.
Connected Development’s Abuja Open Data Party has been a critical tool in this process of empowerment, providing participatory training and tools to empower government institutions, NGOs and journalist to achieve their desired social, political, or environmental change. In 2014 alone, with support from the Partnership on Open Data (World Bank, Open Knowledge Foundation, and Open Data Institute), Open Knowledge Foundation’s School of Data, and the Heinrich Boell Stiftung Nigeria, our open data trainings reached 450 government institutions, NGOs, journalist and activist, which has resulted into a service delivery monitoring group of 450 individuals by end of 2015 from these same entity.
There is a consensus that more should be done to promote the use of data to better link product development by entrepreneurs, elections, monitoring service delivery and other development issues. There is also a need for greater coherence and synergy among planning entities and building a data knowledge ecosystem amongst national governments, regional organizations, CSOs, community based organizations, youth groups, traditional institutions, academics, and journalist.
By 2016, our trainings had reached 745 individuals from every region of the country. However, we are still posed by the question of how we can reach more people, and also have some of our training modules on the traditional media while leveraging on the growing social media platforms.
This School of Data radio will involve a total 16 program run on live-radio for 16 weeks to educate entrepreneurs on how to leverage on available data, strengthen non government organizations on how to use data for advocacy, and also engage journalist on using data to create compelling stories. It will allow citizens that cannot come for our open data party to have access to training modules on-line, and via the radio. It will also allow even the participants to have access to past training modules they must have forgotten.