A new open data movement in Nepal
The numbers speak for themselves – Over 400 visitors comprising of researchers, CSO representatives, students, techies and the general public; 11 open data stalls showcasing innovative projects related to open data; 8 teams developing products during the Open Data Hackathon; More than 40 people involved in OpenDRI Mapathon. This was the scene at first ever Open Data Day celebration in Nepal on February 23, 2013.
The concept of Open Data is still very unheard of and unexplored in Nepal. But the success of Open Data Day was enough for anyone to recognise that there is growing appetite for Open Data from different sectors in Nepal. People attending the event seemed very excited during presentation session by YoungInnovations and OpenDRI. They were equally inquisitive at the stalls and asked questions on how their day-to-day activities can be related to Open Data and the projects being showcased. Mapathon activity was attended enthusiastically by mappers and general visitors. The show stopper was of course Open Data Hackathon. It was extremely encouraging to see how eight teams comprising of mostly young students used data related to Nepal to develop applications that showed true stories in the form of web and mobile applications within a matter of 7 hours of coding sprint. Hats off to all the hackers !
Looking at this enthusiasm, Open Data Day Kathmandu 2013 can be considered as the beginning of the Open Data movement in Nepal. It is now a challenge for all involved and other open data enthusiasts to live up to expectations and carry the momentum forward on the agenda of transparency, accountability and citizen engagement. We need to prove that Open Data can help bring positive changes in the country by creating awareness on issues that are of national interest. At the same time, we need to shape the open data movement to develop mechanisms for more citizen engagement and participation in the governance process.
The event was possible through a collective effort of YoungInnovations, OpenDRI/WorldBank and Mozilla together with Freedom Forum, NGO Federation of Nepal, aidInfo, Wikimedia Nepal, Institute of Engineering, Kathmandu University, OSAC, FOSS Nepal, Nepal Engineering College and other supporters.