I have recently joined the Open Data Charter and I am excited that as part of my role as Programme Officer I will be supporting the Charter’s network. This excitement brings to mind my formal introduction to the magic that is the field of open data, which was an initially daunting internship with the Mo Ibrahim Foundation in London.
The introduction was hard, but over a period of six months, I gradually learned the intricacies involved in the production of the Ibrahim Index of African Governance — an open data tool that provides an annual assessment of the quality of governance in every African country. More importantly, I came to appreciate how open data can potentially deliver more transparent and accountable governments across Africa.
I went on to work with Penplusbytes — a civil society organisation in Ghana using technology to promote effective governance. Here, I coordinated projects with the aim of enhancing information sharing between local governments and citizens. Mirroring my own growing interest in open data, I witnessed the increasing excitement of the local population at the possibility of engaging their elected representatives on how the public purse was managed.
With this experience, I joined Open Knowledge International, where I helped coordinate the Open Knowledge network. Working closely with a community of people who are committed to opening up data, and using it to improve lives, was deeply satisfying. It’s also why I’m looking forward to coordinating the Charter’s network of governments and organisations around the world.
I am particularly excited about my new role at the Charter because of the nature of the team — a small dynamic group with varying backgrounds who are using an interesting approach to help governments open up data in the right way.
I hope to mature as an open data enthusiast and support the Charter’s network in its work to make governments around the world more efficient, innovative, and transparent.