Ghana Open Data Initiative operational this month

THE revamping of the Ghana Open Data Initiative (GODI), a project started in 2012 to make data from government institutions open and accessible, is to be completed by the end of this month.

An online portal, www.data.gov.gh, that hosts the data, has been upgraded with contemporary features while a policy document to drive the initiative, is being fine-tuned.

Mr Eric Akumiah, a data expert working on the e-transform project (under which the GODI falls), at the Ministry of Communication, disclosed this at the opening of a Data Upload Challenge and Hackathon in Accra yesterday.

The four-day event, organised by the National Information Technology Agency and Mobile Web Ghana, implementing partners of the GODI, would help stock the portal with ample data from various Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs).

The nearly 100 statisticians, journalists, software developers and data scientists, attending the event would interact on the uploaded data and find out specific needs and what solution could be developed to solve such problems. 

Mr Akumiah recounted that the GODI was initiated seven years ago, with support from World Web Foundation, to create a vibrant open data community where the public could access government data and give feedback for accountability.

 However, he said after the creation of the portal and a few upgrades, the GODI could not be sustained due to lack of funding until in 2014 when through the e-transform project, about $900,000 was allocated for its revamp.

It was in this year that , according to Mr Akumiah, the revamping process, involving review of its legal framework, was started in addition to capacity building of MDAs to embrace the initiative.

He said the initiative would make information more accessible through a one-stop portal and further efforts by the government to ensure transparency following the recent passage of the Right to Information Bill.

Elikplim Sabblah, a project coordinator at Mobile Web Ghana said the event would afford software developers, civic technologists, data scientists, journalists who have the skills and knowledge to develop, data stories and software solutions for the problems faced by government institutions.

He said winners of the data upload challenge would receive prizes ranging between GHȻ2, 000 and GHȻ1000 while winners of the hackathon would in addition undergo a two-month acceleration programme at Mobile Web Ghana to enable them fully develop their software solution.

BY JONATHAN DONKOR

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