Open data is data that anyone can access, use and share. From transporting information, to improving education, government accountability, and access to healthcare, open data affects our everyday lives and is changing the way we live our lives and interact with each other. Through a new project – GODAN Action – CTA and partners will build the capacity and diversity of open data users to tackle food security and nutrition challenges.
Providing smallholder farmers with accessible and accurate data can increase agricultural productivity and improve nutrition. But to fully realise these opportunities requires insight to ensure that access to quality data is widely available and linked to local solutions for improving food security and nutrition; not least the ability of people to engage with open data practically.
Launched in June 2016, GODAN Action is a 3.5-year project which was conceived to enable data users, producers and intermediaries to engage effectively with open data and maximise its potential for impact in the agriculture and nutrition sectors. The initiative is doing this by building the capacity of potential stakeholders to understand the potential of open data in these two fields and to engage with it practically.
Supported by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), GODAN Action is led by Wageningen UR–Alterra together with international partners with a strong agriculture, nutrition, data and ICT record including AgroKnow, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR), the Land Portal, the Open Data Institute (ODI), AidData, the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and CTA.
CTA has taken the lead in building the capacity and diversity of open data users.
CTA's approach is focusing on the following thematic areas:
- Building sustainable communities of practice with special attention on the capacity of journalists as digital storytellers. The project is collaborating with existing networks and organisations such as the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme journalists network, supported by NEPAD. CTA and partners are producing and customising open data training materials, including infographics, charts and maps. The main objective is to create an open data learning repository to create awareness and maximise the use of open data within this group of stakeholders.
- Addressing the digital divide. This means not only reaching communities excluded by no internet access, but also addressing the needs of those who have potential access but where this does not translate into access and use of digital services.
- Strengthening participation of women and young people. CTA's gender strategy has focused on: women's access to knowledge and skills; gender sensitivity of products and services; improving the information, communication and knowledge management capacity of women and women's organisations; and, access to women beneficiaries. The GODAN Action initiative follows this approach to ensure effective mainstreaming of gender throughout the project.
The project will reach 3,000 infomediaries and open data stakeholders through the training programmes. It has already built a community of trainers and capacity development organisations of nearly 200. Together with the GODAN network CTA work through GODAN and GODAN action is reaching over 250 organisations in Africa the Caribbean and the Pacific with over 4,000 people reading GODAN materials online every month.
15 African countries have signed up to the Nairobi declaration to publish and promote Open Data on Agriculture through National initiatives at the GODAN Ministerial Conference supported by CTA and AGRA.
By the end of 2019, it is expected that 70 ACP organisations will be active members in GODAN and 10 ACP governments will have adopted open data policies in agriculture.