Open Data PH at the ENCITE-OGD Training Workshops in Bohol and Negros Oriental

Date Originally Published: March 02, 2015
Date Republished: October 13, 2017

Alongside our efforts to foster a culture of transparency in government, the Open Data Task Force is also working to build the capacity of civil society organizations (CSOs) to understand and use government data. To this end, we have been conducting training sessions aimed at spreading the open data gospel and teaching essential skills that would help CSO members maximize data’s myriad applications to work and everyday life.

Most recently, the Task Force participated in two workshops under the Enhancing Citizen Engagement with Open Government Data (EnCitE-OGD) project, an initiative of Step Up Consulting Services funded by the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Open Data Working Group. Primarily a research project, EnCitE-OGD aims to explore the ways in which CSO engagement with open government data can be instigated or enhanced. The project involves two training programs which center on building CSO knowledge and capacity to interact with data. These are currently being implemented in two provinces in the Central Visayas, Bohol and Negros Oriental.

In line with these programs, the EnCitE-OGD team conducted two introductory training workshops in Tagbilaran, Bohol, and Dumaguete, Negros Oriental. These sessions were held from January 31 and February 12-14, respectively. From the Open Data Task Force, Creatives Lead Smile Indias and Data Lead Gianne Gaoiran attended these workshops and served as resource speakers and facilitators during the events.

The one-day Bohol workshop was attended by representatives of CSOs based in the province. They sat through sessions which introduced them to the EnCitE-OGD project, Open Data, the Open Government Partnership (OGP), and the Department of the Interior and Local Government’s (DILG) Full Disclosure Policy. During her talk, Indias gave an overview of the Philippines’ Open Data initiative—briefing participants on open data principles and goals as well as the benefits of data transparency—before walking them through a live demo of The attendees were shown some of the 1,237 data files currently accessible and downloadable from the website.

Likewise, Gaoiran also gave a presentation on Open Data Philippines during the three-day training held in Negros Oriental. In addition, she facilitated workshop sessions on cleaning data, creating online data visualizations, and tying together data-based narratives. Lessons ranged from the general—for example, recognizing the difference between open and closed formats—to the specific, such as determining which visualization style (e.g. line graph, pie chart) would best fit which type of data. Gaoiran also shared with the participants useful tools like Many Eyes and Data Wrapper, which allow even beginners to make stunning visualizations. The participants applied these skills at the data narrative workshop, during which they generated stories around data and shared them with other groups.

Under EnCitE-OGD, the two different approaches used for the Bohol and Negros Oriental CSO groups are meant to provide insights on the strengths and weaknesses of each method. The aim is to provide guidance to those wishing to undertake similar capacity building activities in the future. At the end of a two-month-long mentoring period, both the Bohol and Negros Oriental CSO groups are expected to come up with an output based on their learning experience. For example, they could analyze their city’s data and present their findings to local government officials, or they could make posters to raise citizen awareness about open data. As the goal is to encourage creativity, the participants are given free rein to come up with their own ideas.

From the beginning, the Open Data Task Force has recognized that the work of promoting data transparency involves not just the government, but also CSOs and ordinary citizens, the end users of data. As such, we remain committed to expanding our engagement with these sectors, with the aim of advancing the free and widespread use of data.