iWatch Africa marks International Open Data Day 2018

International Open Data Day in Ghana

iWatch Africa, marked the 2018 International Open Data Day, on 23rd March, 208 with a conference on the theme; The importance of Open Data in deepening democracy in Ghana.

The event brought several journalists from across the country to discuss the role and importance of Open Data in strengthening the democratic process in Ghana.

Gideon Sarpong, iWatch Africa’s Director of Policy and Content Analysis who delivered a speech on the main theme emphasized the importance of Open Data in addressing the challenge of corruption in Africa.

“Open Data in governance is critical to addressing corruption in Ghana as well as developing effective policy reforms and an efficient public sector. It is in the interest of public institutions to join in the open data initiative and actively take steps to open up,” Mr. Sarpong stated.

Resource person, Justice Kumordzi addressed the theme; Effective use of Data Journalism tools to effectively track government expenditure/budget in Ghana. Mr, Kumordzi focused on the vital role of data journalism in detecting bottlenecks, inefficiencies and/or corruption in the transfer of public goods and resources. He also noted that Open Data is a key tool for the government and civil society organizations (CSO) to guard against corruption and work towards ensuring a transparent, accountable and effective public financial management.

Banini Kwasi Phillip, Communication Director of iWatch Africa also addressed the theme; The use of Data visualization to tell effective stories. Mr. Phillip demonstrated how various data visualisation tool and systems play an important role to enrich one’s story.

His presentation focused on the different methods of data presentation emphasizing the text, graphic and tabular forms of presentations.

After a practical session of his presentation, participants held on open forum on the theme; How can data journalists harness the power of the new media to promote transparency and accountability in Africa.

Participants also resolved to focus on four key themes in 2018 as part of their effort to drive the open data conversation to make meaningful impact in policy making in Ghana.

These include;

1. Critical focus on the Right to information bill
2. Procurement- Focus on Open contract
3. Focus on employment data in Ghana
4. Open government data

The 2018 International Open Data Day conference organized by iWatch Africa is also part of the larger goal of launching the iProcurement Watch initiative before the close of the year.

Below are some pictures:

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Gideon Sarpong

Gideon Sarpong is a media practitioner with over six years experience in data, investigative and policy journalism. Gideon is currently the Policy and News Director at iWatch Africa. His major role includes developing news strategy for correspondents across Ghana, as well as designing project and policy focus for the organisation. He is an author with over eight publications; a fellow of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), Thomson Reuters Foundation (Wealth of Nations Program), Commonwealth Youth Program (DYLP) and Bloomberg Data for Health Program. Gideon holds a degree in economics from the University of Cape Coast and PgD in Policy Journalism and Media Studies from the University of Zambia. He is a firm believer in the use of data journalism and technology for development and is committed to promoting transparency and accountability in Africa.

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