Open Data to Strengthen Citizen Participation
Chiclayo, Perú On Friday, March 22, 2019, the Open Data Day was held in the city of Chiclayo in northern Peru, the event was intended to strengthen citizen participation through open data, called Comunidata. The main purpose of this meeting was to provide a first approach to the concepts of open data, access to information and transparency of public data and its importance to improve social problems in the city.This first edition was organized by the members of: Iguana Org, a collective dedicated to creating spaces where participation is strengthened, and citizen networking is built, and the members of Social Innovation Laboratory: NaimLab, who consolidated a structure composed of three parts: virtual exhibitions, discussion forums and a open dialogue space. The total capacity was of 25 participants of all ages, who shared 4 virtual exhibitions, 1 discussion forum and 3 topics in an open dialogue space that allowed integration with the public.
The goal of the first part was to provide different views about Open Data, from its main concepts, such as the conceptual basis of access to information, to successful cases of Open Government. These exhibitions, although having been online, strengthened a network of collaboration between participating specialists and local organizations, and initiated proposals and ideas to apply what they learned in local projects. The participants were: the leader of Open Data Peru, Antonio Cucho Gamboa, who told us the first steps of the ODD organization in our country and also gave us a technical scope of how to use the information obtained to solve local problems; Jimena Sánchez Velarde (Digital Government Advisor) who presented a series of examples of municipalities working with Open Data. She emphasized the need to articulate the political will, and the voice of citizens with the aim for transparency and participation becoming reality in Peru. Finally, thanks to Miguel Morachimo, leader of Hiperderecho, an association that promotes the respect of rights and freedoms in digital environments. He contributed from his perspective an explanation of the Peruvian Law of access to information and public transparency, emphasizing that access to information is every citizen’s right.
he second part was composed of a speech by Alan Saavedra, leader of the technological laboratory ITnovate Peru, representatives of the Codescill (The Civil Society Coordinator of La Libertad) and David Chaupis, biologist and social entrepreneur, who works with themes of Open Data Science. The event was relevant in that it showed different edges of how it was possible to approach Open Data. From innovation and entrepreneurship, in the case of Alan Saavedra, developer of InfoCity, an application that maps information on the web to inform the community about the status and report of basic services; to the intersection of arts and science. Thanks to David Chaupis, who spoke about scientific research with free licenses for the community and insured to companies, which allows generating sustainability in the model of bio-entrepreneurship. He also emphasized the relevance of models of collaboration among the four pillars of the community: science, technology, arts and entrepreneurship. Finally, the participation of the members of the CODESCILL, Coordinadora de la Sociedad Civil de La Libertad, region near Chiclayo, gave us ideas on the matter to initiate a process of citizen articulation that is currently used to promote the Open Government of La Libertad. The experience of Leopoldo León and Paula Santos, whom have been involved in social activism for years, gave the #Comunidata an intergenerational vision, and also a firm invitation to actively engage in upcoming activities. The final part of the event was an integration of the audience with the experts, previously mentioned. Guests were able to ask questions to the members of the panel who gave their knowledgeable answers which concluded a great evening.
In conclusion, COMUNIDATA has been an opportunity to gather citizens interest in learning to work with Open Data, with civil society organizations and entities working on projects from the local level, regional level to the national level. This networking will be materialized in our future meetings, for example, in mappings of civil society organizations and their projects, in the legal strengthening of initiatives that work with accessing information, and in the development of the first “Experimental Laboratory Festival”, Festilab, in Chiclayo, which will be related to the use of Open Data. This event could not have been possible without the amazing support from the co-leader of Naimlab: Keyla Sandoval, and the leader of Iguana Org: Karen Diaz. Both are special contributors to this project with whom we will continue to work to strengthen citizen’s participation with the use of Open Data.