How CODE Grew to Become a Voice for Local Communities

codepress April 20, 2016 0

This post was written by Tyo Faeren Jennifer, a Mass Communication Student of the Benue State University, during her Student Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES) with CODE  

Connected Development [CODE] a non-governmental organization [NGO], headquartered in Abuja and formed in 2010, has empowered 9 local communities in Africa through its Transparency and Accountability initiative. And has mobilized 30 million Nigerians and 1 million citizens in 7 other West African countries to take action around Environmental Sustainability in Nigeria.

Through its Follow The Money project that advocates, visualize and track funds meant for local communities, it has helped in providing water to the 15, 000 inhabitants in Kadandani, Kano; Bachaka, Kebbi; and Jeke in Jigawa by tracking and advocating for the 10 billion Naira meant for the Great Green Wall project [GGW].

Follow The Money came to limelight by providing access to healthcare for 1,500 lead poisoned children, and providing hostel for 440 pupils, and providing an overhead tank for 200 pupils in government school in Zamfara State, communities.

At one of its traditional stakeholders meeting on making sure water is provided in three villages – Kadandani, Jeke and Bachaka, the representative from the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Mr. S.M.Babarinde said, “Follow The Money is the most objective transparency and accountability initiative I have followed over 2 years now on radio, TV and their online platforms.”

The World Wide Fund [WWF] ‘s Earth Hour , now coordinated by Connected Development [CODE] and the Young Volunteers for Environment, since 2010 has united the people of Nigeria and other Seven countries in West Africa by mobilizing millions of individuals, organizations and government to take action for the environment.  

It’s OpenDataParty [ODP] makes and spread open data. The ODP is where participants from every part of the country come together to learn and share data skills. It’s ODP has taught 430 Nigerians with hands on workshops, which included-Data Analysis using Google Spreadsheet and Microsoft Excel; Data Scraping using Tabula and Import.io; Visualizing data using Maps with CartoDB and Open Street Maps; Visualizing data using Info.gram

“I have learnt where to get budget for environment especially ones related to my state, and how I can analyze it using Excel, I never knew this before coming” said Erdoo Anango of Kwasedoo Foundation International from Benue state.

It’s Sustainaware  project,  an initiative that aims to improve Youth Knowledge, Interest and Leadership on Environmental Health, Green Economy and Social-Environmental Entrepreneurship), initiated by CODE’s European partners in 2014 was  and supported by the European Union connects eight partner countries (Nigeria, U.S.A, India, Slovenia, Argentina, Hungary, Croatia, and Liechtenstein), and now added Zambia and Somalia, as implementing countries of Sustainaware in 2016

CODE seeks global partners committed to a sustainable future and to empowering marginalized communities to make a difference by creating the missing feedback loop between the government and the people by amplifying the voice of these lurked away. Of course, these feat would not have been achieved if not for support from Indigo Trust, Omidyar Network, Heinrich Boell Foundation, Open Knowledge Foundation, Code For Africa, European Union and the thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook.

The #OpenDataParty : Enhancing Data Literacy in Nigeria

codepress December 16, 2015 0

“I felt excited like a child learning new stuffs I never knew before. It was hands on learning. Great experience. I’ll attend open data events over in the future.” – Oluwaseyi Akinrotimi, Scientific Officer, Ondo State Ministry of Health

“This was quite a revealing session as  I have had some table data which is in PDF format that I can now extract as Excel spreadsheets, I was used to typing the data out into Excel, this data scraping session is really helpful for me” – Mamman Umar

“I never knew all these characters could be used in depicting data in 10 minutes, that is what I just learnt, and that has made my day” exclaimed Desmond Chieshe of ISPHS Abuja

“This event was very interactive and educative in terms of knowledge acquisition on tools for data journalism. I have started using some of the tools taught.” – Jamiu Akangbe, African Resourceful Leaders Foundation, Team Leader

 

[View the 646 Photos and 15 Videos from this event here]

Connected Development [CODE]’s last event of every year is always a bar camp tagged “the Open Data Party (ODP) where participants from every part of the country come together to learn and share data skills. This year, the ODP was taken to the ancient Benin City, led by our School of Data Fellow and the team lead at Sabi Hub – Nkechi Okwuone, and Friday, December 11 and Saturday, December 12 in 2015 welcomed 117 social workers, civil servants, journalists, academics and other data enthusiast to the Law Lecture Theater Annexe of the Post Graduate School of the Benson Idahosa University in Edo State, with support from the Heinrich Boll FoundationIndigo Trust, Open Knowledge Foundation, and Code for Africa. As at the time of writing this 61.1% of the participants rated the different aspect of the event as excellent, while 33% responded that it was good; 38.9% rated our facilitators as good, 38.9% rated them as excellent.

Connected Development Open Data Party in Benin City

70% of registered participants for this year were male while 30% were female (a 70% increase from last year female participants). 48% were civil society representative; 29.4% were entrepreneurs; 20% were student; 12.5% were media professional (a 40% decrease to last year); 28% were designers and data wranglers (an 40% decrease); 16.3% were academics; 6.9% were government official (a 40% decrease); 82.5% of Participants say they want to learn more about Understanding Data Pipelines, Using Data Analysis, Data Reporting and Visualization. Only 45% of the participants were good at presenting data, 66% of the participants were not good at collecting data and 41.3% of the participants were good at Data Analysis.

“So far, outside the United States and a few other major Western democracies, we have really seen open data being something happening at the national level. When we try to solve problems for citizens, problems are local. People need data to know about what is happening to them locally and often that is managed by sub-national governments” – These were the words of Katelyn Rogers of the Open Knowledge Foundation while giving opening remarks at the event. One important session introduced at this years ODP was the ideation session which allows participants to proffer solutions to a pressing waste management challenge in Benin City, a session that was introduced through the Code for Africa partnership.

Connected Development Open Data Party in Benin City

Adam Talsman of Reboot training participants on how to use FormHub for surveys

The introduction to Data Pipelines that always opened sessions at the Open Data Party was immediately followed by three ignite talks to ignite participants on how organizations are using the data pipelines in working around data. The Open Data Companion (ODC) was presented by Osahon Okungbowa showing how they have compiled all open data portals around the world into one platform. Abdul Ganiyu Rufai from the Center for Information, Technology and Development (CITAD) explained how they aggregated hate speech for the just concluded general elections in Nigeria, while Blaise Aboh from Orodata shared how they are visualizing available government data, and creating simple information products that citizens can understand, in order to hold the government accountable.

Connected Development Open Data Party in Benin City

Blaise Aboh training participants on how to create infographics from data sets

As a follow up to the maiden Open Data Party in Abuja, and owing to feedback’s from last year event , this year’s event had nine hours of hands – on – training (skill share) embedded in the two days event. The hands – on workshops included Data Analysis using Google Spreadsheet and Microsoft Excel; Data Scraping using Tabula and import.io; Ground Truthing using Mobile apps such as FormHub and Textit; Visualizing data using maps with CartoDB and Open Street Maps; Visualizing data using infographics with specifics on infogr.am; and writing effective Freedom of information (FOI) letter. “The Data Analysis session is one of the most educative sessions I have attended amongst the sessions. “I have learnt where to get budget for environment especially ones related to my state, and how I can analyze it using Excel, I never knew this before coming” said Erdoo Anango of Kwasedoo Foundation International from Benue state.

Connected Development Open Data Party in Benin City

Oluwamayowa Oshindero training participants on Google Drive collaboration tools

Because the Open Data Party was meant for participants, and we really want them to participate, and make decisions on what they would like to teach, three hours was dedicated to an un – conference session on the second day which included a Follow The Money session where participants were exposed to how they can track funds meant for their local communities, and an opportunity for them as well to engage Follow The Money Nigeria as a state monitor. “We are aware of the Great Green Wall project, however it remains unclear how the funds budgeted for this have been spent, and we think we should be part of this team to track the funds in Yobe” explained Mohammed Garba Musa. Another intersesting session was the Funding your projects/Ideas and using Google Drive for Collaboration and Web Analytics.

Connected Development Open Data Party in Benin City

From left: Hamzat Lawal of CODE, Nanso Jideofor of Reboot, Temi Adeoye of Code For Nigeria, Katelyn rogers of open knowledge, and Destiny Frederick of EcoFuture during a Panel Discussions on Open Data, Waste Management and Internet Governance

The Open Data Party was concluded by ideation session which had 14 participants presenting their ideas on how they can help to reduce waste in Benin City. The ideation participants presented ideas ranging from advocacy strategies, development of applications to help create situation awareness,development of applications that waste managers can also use in tracking waste in municipalities.Abdul Ganiyu Rufai who presented an idea of creating a platform for the Waste Management Board in Kano that can help them track where new dump-site are located, and also create awareness by sending SMS to Kano citizens was paired with Emmanuel Odianosen who presented the prototype of an app called Clyn that can be used in sending messages to Waste Managers, letting them know of waste available to pick up. They both won the ideation sessions, and will be supported by Connected Development [CODE] and Sabi Hub to develop their idea to reduce waste and improve waste management in Kano and Edo state.