First Regional Networking Meeting in Nairobi

The first ever GODAN Partnership Networking Meeting was convened in Kenya at the Regional Centre for Mapping Resources for Development (RCMRD) in Kasarani, Nairobi. The event, organised by the Association of Freelance Journalists Kenya (AFJ), brought together partners who are interested in the field of Open Data. Developers, researchers, mapping experts, agricultural experts, and organisations shared Open Data knowledge and contacts.

During a speech an behalf of RCMRD Director General, Dr. Emmanuel Nkurunziza, Business Development and Marketing officer, Byron Okubasu Anangwe, emphasised the need for partnerships in data usage. He noted that his organisation had over 300 terabytes of GIS data that would be useful to many users in the data world. “We have a lot of data that is very relevant to people’s livelihood on GIS, satellite, and mapping data and therefore we work closely with governments and other institutions on the same.”

On the same note, Dr. Kiringai Kamau, Executive Director for Programme for Agriculture Capacity Development in Africa (P4ACAD) said that open data was critical for development especially in the area of Agriculture: “Many governments have not put some of their data open to the public and this is a barrier to the users.” Dr. Kamau also called upon the participants to make use of GODAN initiatives providing capacity building through the online courses being offered through GODAN Action in the agriculture sector.

Irene Kimani, CODATA ATG Secretary and also an ICT Specialist at the Kenya Agriculture Livestock and Research Organization (KALRO), told the meeting how their institution had created over 200 Apps, downloadable free of charge from Google Play store: “We have many applications including one on gooseberries, showing the nutritional value of the berries and many recipes that one can use to make juices and cakes out of them, and we have many more apps” she said as she demonstrated using her phone.

Winnie Kamau, President of the AFJ, noted the importance of journalists in Open Data: telling their stories and informing readers of the benefits. “There’s a need for people to tell their stories on how they have leveraged on data in making their products and we can work together and publish stories on our online platform Talk Africa,” said Winnie.

GODAN would like to join Winnie in thanking  attendees for their continued commitment towards the Open Data agenda, and to thank Winnie herself for her instrumental help in coordinating and organising this useful and informative event.