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No open data? No problem. 5 ways entrepreneurs are fueling open data in the developing world

Sandra Moscoso's picture
Also available in: 中文 | العربية | Français | Español
Nuevos métodos de recopilación de datos

Open data is creating opportunities for governments to work more efficiently and effectively, for citizens to engage with government and take a more active role in communities, for activists to support their advocacy efforts with facts, for entrepreneurs to bring new products and services to market, and for the bulk of us to be able to make everyday decisions

On the entrepreneurial side, the World Bank's Open Finances team has been exploring the commercial value of open data, and looking for opportunities to support entrepreneurs. These goals are achievable thanks to governments who have fostered innovation around public data by taking the step to open it. What happens when governments haven't yet opened public data? Is it possible for entrepreneurs to take advantage of open data where it does not exist?

Data and Development

Mahmoud Mohieldin's picture

WASHINGTON, DC – Since the turn of the century, the international development community has rallied behind the Millennium Development Goals, which set specific targets in eight key areas, including poverty, child mortality, and disease, to be achieved by 2015. In formulating the post-2015 development agenda, measuring the MDGs’ successes – and identifying where progress has lagged – is critically important. And that demands more and better data.

To be sure, international institutions and many developing countries have invested significantly in improving data collection to track better their performance against MDG targets. In 2003, only four countries had two data points for 16 or more of the 22 principal MDG indicators; by last year, that figure had soared to 118 countries.

But development data remain a scarce resource in the developing world. Given their value in measuring – and propelling – social and economic progress, this shortage must be addressed urgently. A catalyst is needed to expand the production and use of development data. With this in mind, the high-level panel on the post-2015 development agenda is right to call for a global “data revolution.”

From Participation to Opportunity in Women's Work: What Data Tell Us

Jeni Klugman's picture
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A new World Bank report, Gender at Work, emphasizes the need for multidimensional assessments of gender equality in the world of work. A fuller picture of the problem lends to more comprehensive policy solutions.

It is tempting to use a single indicator as the gauge of a country’s standing on gender equality and women’s economic empowerment. None is more alluring than labor force participation. It is consistently available and provided yearly for the vast majority of countries—currently 183 out of 214 on the Gender Data Portal. This is an exception in the universe of economic gender indicators, which are often patchy, irregular, and unreliable. However, this leaves an incomplete and even misguided impression of how countries fare.

Which country has the highest proportion of women in parliament?

Leila Rafei's picture
Also available in: العربية | Español | 中文 | Français

The latest data from the Inter-Parliamentary Union show that Rwanda tops the list as the country with the highest proportion of women in parliament, with nearly 64 percent of seats held by women in 2013. Globally, women account for an average of about 20 percent of parliamentary seats, up from 15 percent a decade ago.

The top ten countries are a mix of high and middle income economies, some with legally mandated gender quotas and some without. Rwanda, a low income country, is followed by Andorra at a flat 50 percent and Cuba at 49 percent. Sweden, with 44 percent of parliamentary seats held by women, is the country that achieved the highest rate without any gender quota.

Proportion of seats held by women in national parliaments (%)

An Open Data Community That Grows Together, Stays Together 

Samuel Lee's picture

The power of open data to bring together people from different streams of life for civic purposes was on full display around the world on February 22-23, 2014. Washington, D.C. was home to one of the 194 global International Open Data Day events that dotted cities around the world. Data was scraped. Visualizations were made. Code was written. Interfaces were designed. Prototypes were built. Initiatives were born (Here’s looking at you, Code for Nepal!). New friends were made. And a tooth was chipped.


photo credit: @anjelikadeo

 

Despite the unseasonably warm weather in Washington, D.C., more than 350 civic hackers, development specialists, coders, designers, and enthusiasts participated in two days of Open Data Day hacking and tutorials at the World Bank. Based on an informal poll (raise your hand, please?!) of all attendees at the beginning of the event, nearly two-thirds of the audience had  never attended an Open Data Day event before. This was an unexpected but welcome surprise and bodes well for the continued growth of the open data community in Washington, DC.

The Feedback Hyperloop

Samuel Lee's picture

This post originally appeared on the FeedBack Labs blog.

Arcturus Aldebaran
Photo credit: Arcturus Aldebaran via photopin cc

Feedback is always present. Even silence is not the absence of feedback, but a quiet subtext open for interpretation. In both online and offline communities, the most difficult part is not generating feedback or even collecting it. People typically care about what is happening around them and are often willing to share their sentiments and reflections- sometimes even unable to hold back expression. The advent of writing perhaps marks an innate human desire to share information and to be heard without speaking; “true” silence may actually be quite rare, more a condition of looking and listening in the wrong places or employing a less holistic approach. The graffiti that marks the architecture of repressive regimes past and present is in itself a type of feedback, representing citizen engagement with institutions that refused to officially afford that right or offer practical channels to its citizens. As such, the key challenges that exist with feedback loops are whether or not we are listening, engaging, and actively responding by catalyzing appropriate change.

Sub-national Malnutrition Data

Vanessa Moreira da Silva's picture
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There is a growing perception that spatial disparities in development indicators within countries are becoming more pronounced. Sub-national data are needed to inform policy makers on such matters. However, data on the sub-national level is less frequent (curated in a global setting) because sub-national administrative areas change frequently.

The Global State of AIDS in 4 Charts

Tariq Khokhar's picture
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Yesterday was World Aids Day - an annual event to raise awareness about HIV and the global fight against it. When it comes to international data about HIV and AIDS, the cross-organisational UNAIDS program publishes age and gender disaggregated data on indicators such as prevalence, new infections and deaths. In turn, we incorporate some of these data into the World Development Indicators

Here are some highlights from the data that have been released:

1) There are more adults and children living with HIV than ever before

In 2012, there were an estimated 35.3 million adults and children living with HIV in the world. The majority of these people are in Sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia. As you can see from the decreasing slope of the “global” line - while people continue to become infected, the rate of new infections is going down.

Multilingual DataBank

Reza Farivari's picture
Also available in: Español | Français | العربية

A year ago we had a post on launching a new version of the World Bank’s data query system, DataBank, offering over 9,000 indicators with which users can create custom reports with tables, charts, or maps. These live reports can then be saved, shared between users, and embedded as widgets on websites or blogs. A year later, DataBank is multilingual, offering a multilingual interface across the different databases and fully-translated data from the World Development Indicators. We’ve asked one of the founding fathers of DataBank and Open Data’s Lead Information Officer, Reza Farivari, to tell us about the tool and what to expect in the future.

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