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An Action Plan for Agriculture & Nutrition Open Data in Africa

An Action Plan for Agriculture & Nutrition Open Data in Africa

AODN’s Action Plan session at the Bristol Data Festival

Data on agriculture in Africa has not always been adequate for those working on policy formulation, implementation, monitoring and review. For those in civil society, academia and the private sector, access to good, well disaggregated data has been more difficult by orders of magnitude.

Some of the data challenges facing the sector came to the fore during the Biennial Report preparation process of African Union member states as they collected data on the indicators for the Malabo Declaration. The first Biennial Review which was held in 2018 was a learning opportunity for all stakeholders on the state of data for agriculture and nutrition in Africa and more so, the paucity of this data in the open.

As part of our participation at the Data for Development Festival held in Bristol, United Kingdom from March 21st to 23rd 2018, AODN organised a session on an Action Plan for Agriculture & Nutrition Open Data in Africa. Organized by the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, the Data for Development Festival brought together champions, practitioners, the curious and the sages to explore what has worked and We were honoured to have the following panelists who set the context on what is currently happening to improve the state of data in Africa.

  • Oliver Chinganya, Director, Africa Centre for Statistics, UN Economic Commission For Africa
  • Ben Paul Mungyereza, Executive Director, Uganda Bureau of Statistics, Government of Uganda
  • Prof. Memunatu Pratt, Open Data Council, Sierra Leone
  • Martin Parr, Operations Director, Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN)
  • The session was moderated by the AODN Project Lead, Leonida Mutuku.

Next Steps

Following the presentations by the panelists,  the participants had a moderated discussion and provided their input on what an action plan for agriculture and nutrition open data should prioritize. The input is being compiled into a zero draft document that will be shared for online consultations in the next week.


Are You in the Open Data Directory?

Are You in the Open Data Directory?

AODN has launched an online directory of practitioners and institutions working on open data in Africa.

Finding specialists and institutions to work with in a specific city on the continent can be a challenge for many. This is complicated further by a fast evolving open data ecosystem where individuals and organisations are specializing fast and establishing open data “outposts” in various sectors/industries.

The Africa Open Data Directory provides users with an online space where specialists and institutions can be found, which now makes networking, peer learning and collaboration easier.

To be listed in the directory, simply visit Opendirectory.africa in your browser.



ODI Mini-Grant Finalists Announced

ODI Mini-Grant Finalists Announced

As part of the Africa Open Data Network, an initiative of the Open Data for Development Network, The Open Data Institute issued an open call inviting open data innovators in Africa to apply for the second iteration of our mini-grant programme. This programme offers three grants of up to £6,000 each for innovators in the private sector, academia or civil society to create an open data project in Africa.

After receiving 78 applications, we are delighted to announce the six shortlisted projects. The ODI will be interviewing project teams and selecting the final three at the beginning of August.

The selected projects will receive:

  1. Up to £6,000 for each team to deliver an open data project in an African country
  2. Introduction to ODI leaders and sector-based experts in the Africa Open Data Network for advice and feedback
  3. A platform for projects to tell their stories and an opportunity to promote their work

Winning projects will solve practical problems and build partnerships, including with government, that put open data into action for social, economic or environmental benefits.

The mini-grant programme is supported by the Open Data for Development (OD4D) programme, a partnership funded by Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the World Bank, United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), and Global Affairs Canada (GAC).

Africa Open Data Resilient Cities, Sierra Leone and USA

The African Open Data Resilient Cities project aims to create a resiliency toolkit for cities, helping those who manage urban environments collect data produced by sensors, satellite imagery and citizen-generated data. Resilient cities are those that can withstand, adapt and grow, irrespective of the stresses and shocks they encounter.

The project will use the extensive experience of project managers in Los Angeles, US and Freetown, Sierra Leone to partner with two African cities and conduct draft pilots in resiliency data collection. The team will then hold a forum with key stakeholders to validate the concepts and data, before publishing an open-source toolkit that can be adopted by other cities.

This project has the potential for significant impact, helping both citizens and government officials in African cities understand how to collect data around their city’s resilience. This will help cities better predict and prepare for potential disasters, climate change and famine.

Anti-Delestron, Burkina Faso

The Anti-Delestron project in Burkina Faso aims to help citizens navigate the inconsistent supply of electricity in the country’s capital Ouagadougou.

In order to deal with an insufficient electricity supply for the city, electric companies regularly carry out ‘load shedding’, interrupting the supply of electricity to avoid overloading generators.  However, information about when and where loadshedding will take place is held by the electricity companies and inaccessible to citizens; as a result, the city’s residents find it hard to predict when they will be able to access electricity.

The project will create a website which maps load shedding in the city, informed by the electric companies’ scheduled programmes and sensors collecting real-time data as cuts take place. The website will also advise citizens on how to avoid an approaching load shed by reducing their consumption. As a result of this approach, the project aims to help citizens predict, plan and avoid loadshedding where possible, as well as improving the accountability of electricity providers to the city’s community.

‘Namba za dhahabu’ (The Golden Data), Tanzania

The ‘Namba za dhahabu’ project, meaning ‘the golden data’ in Swahili, aims to develop a digital engagement platform for agriculture in Tanzania.

Currently, although Tanzania has several open data portals, there is no clear place for citizens to access agricultural data. Even where it is accessible, many agricultural datasets are only available in PDF and are therefore not machine readable. Through working with the National Bureau of Statistics and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Namba za dhahabu will release agricultural data to the public through the platform. The project will also include an open data dashboard for visualisation and a section that shares stories of the impact that agricultural open data is having in Tanzania.

The team hopes making this data open will help show farmers, businesses and government the importance of data for decision-making, as well as encouraging conversation around opportunities and challenges facing agriculture in Tanzania.

Durban Answers, South Africa

Durban Answers is a platform built by Open Data Durban (ODD) that helps citizens access information about how to live, work and play in the South African city of Durban. Users enter questions or keywords about the city, with the platform returning responses and step-by-step guides that help them in navigating these problems. In the first phase of the project, ODD crowdsourced over 200 sample questions through the #AskDurban campaign and held a write-a-thon for volunteer researchers to address these responses on the platform.

In the next phase of the prototype, the team aim to curate and build the platform through engaging civil society, local governments and citizens. As well as holding another #AskDurban campaign and subsequent write-a-thon, the team will set up a ‘brain trust’ of experts on Durban and its challenges to help curate and review content. ODD will also continue its formal partnership with the City of Durban to deepen their involvement with the platform.

Through this project, Durban Answers hopes to transform how citizens across cultures interact with the city, aiding them in making more informed decisions and helping city officials respond to citizen needs. This will lead to a better functioning and more resilient city, and providing a model which can be scaled to other cities in the future.

Urban Waste Open Mapping in Akure, Nigeria

The Urban Waste Open Mapping Project aims to address the issue of urban waste in the city of Akure in Nigeria. Currently, large amounts of unregulated rubbish are not properly cleared and left around the city, causing environmental and health problems for the city’s residents.

The project aims to use remote sensors and geographic information systems to map the location, amount and type of refuse in the city. This will help local authorities plan and organise the clearing of this rubbish, as well as tracking the use of these sites in future. The team also hopes that visualising this information will help alert citizens to the problem of urban waste, promoting a collective response to this key issue in the context of a growing city population.

TransGov: Community Issues Reporting, Ghana

TransGov: Community Issues Reporting in Ghana plans to help residents within the  Greater Metropolitan area of Accra report and fix problems in their local community. Currently, citizens do not have a way of reporting development and infrastructure issues affecting them to the correct authority, meaning potholes and leaking pipes can go unreported and unfixed for months.

The project plans to address this issue through the TransGov platform, where citizens can report and track progress of their issue with the relevant public agency. The platform will crowdsource information on issues through a web, mobile and SMS application and provide this as open data. This application will enable citizens to use their phone to report issues, including the option to geotag their location. During this phase, the project will focus on building the web and mobile application and gathering information from citizens about physical infrastructure problems such as roads and buildings, as well as engaging the relevant public agencies.

Through crowdsourcing and providing this data to utility agencies, the project aims to increase the use of data in their decision-making and improve the service delivery for citizens in Accra.

Keep an eye out here, on the ODI website as well as on Twitter @ODIHQ and @networkfordata for news on the winning projects and their progress in the upcoming months.


Add Your Voice to the Formation of the Africa Open Data Network

Add Your Voice to the Formation of the Africa Open Data Network

Thank you for your interest in the Africa Open Data Network. During this initial phase, we will be seeking input from the community of stakeholders in Africa, and supporters from beyond, on how the network should take shape. We hope you will add your voice to how the Network takes shape and adds value to Africa’s development agenda.

To register your interest in providing input into the process and joining the network when it launches, please click here.

The Africa Open Data Network Announced

The Africa Open Data Network Announced

OD4D is pleased to announce that the Local Development Research Institute (LDRI) will be the initial coordinator of the Africa Open Data Network, our OD4D regional node for Africa. The announcement was made during the International Open Data Conference in Madrid following the successful conclusion of a competitive process and open call.  The Local Development Research Institute (LDRI), led by Muchiri Nyaggah, will begin planning the Africa Open Data Network that was inspired by the first African Open Data Conference in 2015.

The announcement followed a meeting of champions of the AODN network held on 4 October 2016, which included representatives from IDRC, World Bank, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Hivos, dLab, Africa Open Data Conference, Open Data Institute, Open Knowledge International and the Web Foundation. During the meeting, LDRI received a strong endorsement from the multiple stakeholders involved in the selection process. (some quotes below).

The initial champions of the African Open Data Network commit to work together in a number of priorities for the community in the forthcoming years. These priorities include:

  • Increase the awareness of open data Innovation in Africa at all levels, promoting and supporting related initiatives, events and convenings;
  • Link research with advocates, implementers, governments, civil society, communities, and the private sector to increase the effectiveness of research results in informing policy decision making;
  • Collaborate towards policies, and strategies for the inclusion of open data as catalyst and prime component of Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals, with strong emphasis on the role of open data in economic rights, benefits, and growth.

In this scoping phase, LDRI will consolidate lessons from on-going open data initiatives in the continent and further explore collaboration with the growing African open data communities. In the forthcoming months, the priority will be to engage with local and regional organizations advancing open data work in Africa. The next key milestone for the development of the Africa Open Data Network will be the World Data Forum in Cape Town in January 2017.

The Africa Open Data Network will act as a hub for the African-led research on open data for development. It builds on similar OD4D initiatives in Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and East Europe, while addressing the specific opportunities and challenges in the African continent.

Africa is embracing a wide range of data communities and a diverse range of data sources, tools, and innovative technologies, to provide disaggregated data for decision-making, service delivery and citizen engagement; and information for Africa to own its narrative on the data revolution for sustainable development.

The important place that data occupies in the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals and the keen interest of the African Union to ensure an integrated approach in implementation of both Agenda 2063, and the SDGs, requires a more vibrant data ecosystem and a network of actors and stakeholders ready to rise to the policy, community and industrial development challenges through data.

For more information contact: thinking[at]developlocal[dot]org.

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