July 31, 2013

Ghana and Malawi Data Bootcamp


Since 2012, the Open Institute, in partnership with the World Bank Institute, Africa Media Initiative and Google, has been running data bootcamps for various intermediaries and user groups across multiple channels. These camps are typically an intense 2-3 day event, that immerse users into the value of Open Data, teaches them new skills in Open Data Tools and Platforms, and allow delegates to practice these skills in designing real life prototypes.

The latest in the series of data bootcamps were the Ghana Data Bootcamp held at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration from 27th to 29th May 2013 and Malawi Data Bootcamp held at Kamuzu College of Nursing, Lilongwe from June 12th to 14th, 2013.

The Malawi Data bootcamp was the country’s first data literacy event and brought together 65 participants from Civil Society, Government, Media and the technology sector to learn how to find, extract, and analyse public data, using powerful tools, to tell better informed stories.

Accra hosted 35 participants drawn mostly drawn from the journalism community for the second Data Bootcamp in Ghana.

As part of the bootcamps, participants are required to work in teams to build news-driven mobile apps and civic engagement websites, to augment traditional news reportage. The best of these applications win a seed grant and technical support to turn their prototypes into real newsroom products.

The top projects from the bootcamps are as follows:

  1. Ghost Busters (Ghana) – It is estimated that Ghana loses up to 1 billion Ghana Cedis to nonexistent government workers, i.e. ‘Ghost Workers’. This project provides a simple solution by comparing government payroll to workers actually working on ground

  1. Follow the Issue (Ghana) – News and issues are buried in noise before they are addressed  and it becomes hard to follow it up. This tool allows you to add an issue and allows others to ‘follow the issue’ through email updates, Twitter, or joining groups that are trying to do something about it.

  1. Umoyo Scale (Malawi) – This tool is a Trip Advisor-like review system to collect and display crowd-sourced information on all health facilities in Malawi through web, mobile and SMS to help Malawian citizens know if a healthcare facility is good or not.

  1. Election 2014 (Malawi) – This tool will aggregate election data such as election registration centres and polling station information, as well as candidates information and disseminate this info via SMS

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