Do you want to use your tech skills or design talents to change South Africa? Digital activists, designers, developers and data journalists will kickstart South Africa’s open data movement this weekend at a 48hr hackathon in Cape Town to build web and software applications that will help make government more accountable.
The Code4Democracy event is the first public gathering hosted by the new ODADI (Open Data & Democracy Initiative) coalition, and will offer R25,000 in cash prizes and tech support for ideas that have the potential to empower ordinary citizens, make government more transparent, or make public services more efficient and open.
ODADI hopes to spark experimentation by providing access to previously difficult to find databases, including the national and Cape Town budgets, plus Service Delivery Agreements and contact information for constituency representatives, for participants to use as ‘feedstock’ for their hackathon ideas. Project teams are also welcome to bring or source their own datasets, or to instead build digital projects that don’t use data and instead use crowdsourcing or other civic engagement strategies.
The hackathon will be opened at a cocktail function on Friday evening with a keynote address by digital thought-leader, GustavPraekelt, who will speak about the transformative potential offered by open data. Social justice campaigners such as outspoken former national cabinet minister BarbaraHogan and health rights activist ZackieAchmat will join in kicking off the weekend’s proceedings with short speeches highlighting ways for digital activists to make a difference .
The initiative echos similar campaigns that have revolutionised the way that civic debate and public accountability works everywhere from Kenya and Ghana, to further north in the USA and Europe. ODADI hopes to build on South Africa’s early support for the OpenGovernmentPartnership, by inspiring a grassroots data-driven movement in South Africa, giving ordinary citizens the tools and information they need to make better informed choices about public issues.
ODADI is a broad-based volunteer-led non-partisan movement, that bases its principles on the Constitution, and does not align itself with any political party or other political interest group. ODADI’s manifesto is available here.
The Code4Democracy hackathon has been made possible via a seed grant from the AfricanMediaInitiative’s prototype fund for civic engagement, as well as through logistic support from the Open Society Foundation’s Money & PoliticsProject (MaPP) and venue and material support from Cape Town’s NdifunaUkwazi center for active citizenship.
Other ODADI coalition members assisting with the Code4Democracy hackathon include HacksHackersCapeTown, the OpenDemocracyAdviceCenter, the ParliamentaryMonitoringGroup, the Right2Know campaign, and the SiliconCape initiative.
Code4Democracy will launch with a cocktail function at Ndifuna Ukwazi’s resource center at 47 on Strand, Cape Town, at 6pm on Friday, August 3. The hackathon itself will kick off at 9am, on the 2nd floor of Ndifuna Ukwazi’s resource center, on Saturday, August 4 and will run right through to 4pm on Sunday, August 5.
Judging of the best projects / ideas developed during the hackathon will take place at 3pm on Sunday, with winners announced at 4pm.
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For further information / public comment, please call:Coding for democracy Hackathon, ODADI, Uncategorized