By Adam Alqali
eHealth Africa in partnership with Connected Development (CODE) has hosted a 2-day open data party for journalists, data enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, civic activists and students. The party which was held November 22-23 in Kano, Nigeria’s second city was aimed at promoting the “use of open data for advocacy and compelling storytelling”.
Speaking to African Newspage about the open data party, Dami Sonoiki, eHealth Africa’s GIS manager said the party brought together a community of data enthusiasts, civic activists and journalists to learn the benefits of open data, share skills on various techniques of maximizing open data and network among one another.
“At eHealth Africa we are trying to solve the health challenges of underserved communities in Africa and before you can serve a community you need information about them including an understanding of where they live and its geography, which means you need data as a starting point,” said Sonoiki.
“Data is very important in planning of sustainable interventions as well as in their implementation including monitoring and evaluation. Looking at the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) you will realize that it is only through data that you will be able to determine the progress of the SDGs.”
Adeyemo Ayodele, coordinator of the open data party which was attended by over 200 techies said the idea of the open data party was initiated in 2014 to create awareness about open data as well as create a platform for data enthusiasts, journalists, and civic activists to learn, share data skills and network among one another.
“I have learnt how to source and manage data, how to do mapping,” said Ismail Auwal, an undergraduate at Bayero University, Kano. “As a Nigerian, I understand the government cannot provide jobs to all graduates, I will therefore explore the possibilities of using the skills I acquired to launch my business carrier.”
Increasingly, access to information by citizens is recognized as critical for ensuring transparency and accountability in governance. More so, open data is seen as crucial for achieving development targets by fostering innovation, job creation and economic growth as well as tackling corruption, which are all critical for the successful realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
eHealth Africa’s mission is to build stronger health systems across Africa through the design and implementation of data-driven solutions that respond to local needs and provide underserved communities with tools to lead healthier lives while CODE is committed to improving access to information and empowering local communities in Africa.