The last organisation we have met in Bangalore is the Karnataka Learning Partnership (KLP), an initiative launched in 2007 by the Akshara Foundation, which collects, analyses and visualises data to improve primary education in Karnataka. By browsing its website, users can find a very elaborated map and reports containing information on public primary schools. Position, availability of sanitation facilities, demographic and nutrition statistics are the kind of datasets that are being presented. Among others, public officials are making use of this material for the improvement of the decision-making process. The data comes from various sources: public administration, collaborating organisations and volunteer surveys too. Since these information is also relevant for parents, who most of them don’t have access to online resources, KLP is working on a SMS/phone based methodology for them to access the data. The results have been already proven to be really successful and the future plans include the expansion of the number of districts covered, currently 3. We invite you to watch the following video to experience more about it:
We met Gautam John, Head of KLP, former lawyer who actively works in the educational sector and initiated also Pratham Books, a non-profit publishing house that uses Creative Commons licenses to further distribution, translation and reuse of children’s books.
Together with him, we organised our event at the Centre for Internet and Society, which is a non-profit research organisation in Bangalore that works on numerous relevant issues like freedom of expression, accessibility for persons with disabilities, access to knowledge, intellectual property rights reform and openness; engaging in academic research on digital natives and digital humanities.
An intense open debate characterized our workshop and many of the around twenty participants had ongoing projects to show as example of smart use of data. Most of them are indeed active members of the datameet group, the indian-wide online forum that we have already mentioned in our previous articles. We experienced about projects like theballot.in, a weekly online data publication which presents political facts and figures about the world’s largest democracy by using richly illustrated graphs and charts. Also, we could learn more about the Indian Water Portal, an organisation with a deep understanding on how to use data to improve water management; and even one member of TacticalTech talked about their activities we have recently covered. However, there were attendees who are still working on the initial phase of their projects, in areas such as the fight against sexual harassment or the improvement of waste management at neighbourhood level. Those were specially interested in topics as data collection or how to face challenges like the lack of data or citizen engagement. It was for sure an interesting session!
With this productive event, we put an end to our busy week in Bangalore. We are happy to have met such passionate activists and learned so much from them!
Update: Here you can watch the video of the theoretical part of our presentation. Not complete, apologies for that…