“The possibility for civil society to request data relevant to public policies and procedures is essential for democracy, and the open data concept is a generator of prosperity and democratization of society, said UK Ambassador to Macedonia Charles Edmund Garrett at the promotion of the School of Data – Macedonia website.
The “School of Data” website provides continuous support to civil society organizations, journalists and all citizens interested in the use of data. The website is part of the “Open Data Civil Society Network” project, implemented by the Metamorphosis Foundation in partnership with the Open Knowledge Foundation, and supported by the British Embassy in Macedonia.
“The possibility for civil society to request data relevant to public policies and procedures is essential for democracy,” said Garrett at the promotion.
The British Ambassador underlined that open data are a “two-way street” – on one hand, governments and institutions increase transparency, and on the other, civil society increases its participation in the decision-making process and amplifies the voice of marginalized groups.
“This project is based on UK’s previous engagement in this area through the “Open Government Partnership”, and I hope that our cooperation will continue and contribute to an increased transparency of the government and an increased citizens’ participation in the evaluation of the government’s activities, as well as an increased level of information of the citizens when making decisions.”
The director of the Metamorphosis Foundation, Bardhyl Jashari, added that access to data is important for both sides, “because data helps citizens to have an equal knowledge with the politicians, who have the data from state institutions available at all times.”
The promotion was attended by thirty representatives from civil society organizations, associations and the media, as well as interested individuals. Dona Djambaska from the Metamorphosis Foundation outlined that the website includes courses on data basics, as well as information about tools and applications for data use and processing.
“If any civil organization needs training for a particular skill, we will find/adapt or create such a training, and share it with them,” Djambaska said.
Aside from the website, a call for proposals for open data projects was also announced. The deadline for submissions is June 22, and all civil society organizations can apply with a specific idea for an open data project. After the call for proposals is closed, four project proposals will be selected to receive support by the Metamorphosis Foundation.
More photos from the event are available here.
The call for proposals for open data projects is available here.