Open and participatory governance for all
We <3 data: what about you?
Defending the right to read

Open Gov

“In all parts of the world, we see the promise of innovation to make government more open and accountable. And now, we must build on that progress”, once said US President Obama. Yet this movement must focus on social justice, not only on wealth creation.

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Open Data

There is a significant focus on the potential of Open Data for economic growth, public sector efficiency and social justice. Here is why open data matters for social justice and democratic accountability -- and how anyone can contribute to bring it to MENA.

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Open Knowledge

If you think that science, education, research and culture should be open and freely accessible for anyone, you are on the right place. We value traditional knowledge and defend the human right to access any type of commons. Do you, too?

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Image in the public domain.

Refugees Flows

The Middle East and North Africa region continues to face multiple and complex emergency situations on an unprecedented scale, that are likely to pose further overwhelming challenges in 2015. This region is also one of origin, destination and transit of refugees and migrants. Many of those caught up in mixed…
3D Budget Pie Chart by StockMonkeys.com (www.stockmonkeys.com) on Flickr, CC-by 2.0

Opening Up Budgets in MENA

Government budgets are at the core of development. It is the government’s most powerful economic tool to meet the needs of its people, especially those who are poor and marginalized. Whether you are interested in health, education, the environment, or pensions, the most well-meaning public policy has little impact on…
The Hague Declaration, CC-by

A Declaration to Improve Knowledge Creation in the Digital Age

LIBER (the Association of European Research Libraries) brought global experts together to draft a collective statement on access to facts and ideas in the digital age. This is how the Hague Declaration on Knowledge Discovery in the Digital Age was released. In a nutshell, the Declaration calls for rehabilitating the…
Access to information compared across MENA states.

Are Open Government Partnership members more open than non-members?

A recent research attempted to assess whether Open Government Partnership (OGP) members perform better than non-members in terms of openness and accountability. Here we focus on the MENA states, and elaborate on the OGP relevance for the region. The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is an international platform launched in 2011,…
Image by Nepenthes (Own work), licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons

Commons Treasures: Sands as far as one can see

Today's image gets us to Rub' al-Khali (الربع الخالي‎), or Empty Quarter in English. This immensity of sands covers Saudi Arabia, Oman, the UAE and Yemen. There are amazing images from this place on Wikimedia Commons originating from the NASA, individuals and famous adventurers such as Wilfred Thesiger who crossed…
Visualisation under CC-by-NC-ND

On The Brink: MENA Youth Unemployment

The great people at Visualizing Impact (VI) have created this striking visualisation showcasing the amount of youth unemployment in the MENA region. VI explains: 7.4M youth across the Middle East and North Africa are unable to find a job. With the highest unemployment rate in the world, this is a generation…
Screenshot of the website

Mwazna: Government budget explained

Mwazna ('budget' in Arabic) recently launched in both English and Arabic. Planned for and beautifully executed by Amr Sobhy and Tarek Amr, Mwazna aims to break down financial complexities so anyone can understand where their money goes. I asked Amr and Tarek to answer five questions to elaborate on the…
Sweet moroccan honey biscuits from Morocco. Image by La Chimère, CC-by-SA 4.0 on Wikimedia Commons

Commons Treasures: Sweets from Morocco

This Tuesday's commons treasure comes from Morocco, from the city of Marakech. These are all sweet honey biscuits from the souks. P. S. Do not forget to have a look at Open Knowledge Morocco's page. P. P. S. Check out our dedicated project: Commons Treasures. [caption id="attachment_408" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Sweet…
Qatar's performance as assessed by the Open Data Barometer 2nd Edition (screenshot).

Open Data for Qatar: Now What?

A year ago, I wrote a quick overview of Qatar's draft Open Data Policy paper and responded to the public consultation on how this policy should evolve. The Qatari Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies (generally referred to as ictQATAR) announced the finalised policy in December 2014, through a dedicated…

Commons Treasures: Spicy Dreams

These are spicy dreams, from Tunisia: [caption id="attachment_275" align="aligncenter" width="640"] By HalwaStudio (Own work) on Wikimedia Commons, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0[/caption] (source)
Koshary by Dina Said on Wikimedia Commons, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Commons Treasures: Koshary!

Today's post is twice more pleasurable than previous weeks: two amazing photos of koshary. It used to be amongst the major dishes during the 18 days of the Egyptian revolution -- liberation, indeed, requires massive amounts of strength. The bestest here? There is a recipe for koshary on Wikibooks. [caption…
barbie

The Plot to Privatize Common Knowledge

How patents, copyrights and trademarks have been grossly distorted --- even Barbie is tied up in court. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="785"] A very popular toy doll who shall remain nameless due to lawsuit fears. (By Deborah is Lola under a Creative Commons license)[/caption] We often have to pay twice for…

Commons Treasures: The Ancient City of Lambaesis

The image below is a rare aerial view of Lambaesis (today known as Lambèse-Tazoult), taken from a helicopter in March 1962. Lambaesis was established between 123 and 129 AD in today's wilaya of Batna (read more: English, français, العربية). [caption id="attachment_277" align="aligncenter" width="950"] Aerial view of Lambaesis (Vue aérienne de Lambèse). The…

Commons Treasures: Egyptian grains

The image below is from Egypt, and was a second prize winner of the 2014 edition of WikiLoves Africa (WLAf). WLAf is "an annual contest that invites people from across Africa (and beyond) to contribute media on a specific theme. All photos are posted to Wikimedia Commons, where they can be…

Commons Treasures: Pottery wares from Sidi Bou Said

Our inaugural post is from Tunisia, courtesy of a special person whom we are humbled to have met and worked with: Emna Mizouni. [caption id="attachment_267" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Pottery wares at Sidi Bou Said, CC BY-SA 4.0 on Wikimedia Commons, Emna Mizouni[/caption] (source)
Open Education Week banner

Learning in The Open: To Open Education Week and Beyond!

Open Education Week is a celebration of the global Open Education Movement. Its purpose is to raise awareness about the movement and its impact on teaching and learning worldwide. Last week was Open Education Week. In its third edition, the global celebration of open and free learning resources and practices has…
Open Education Week banner

Creative Commons Arab World Hangout on Open Education Week

March 9-13 is Open Education Week (also referenced on social networks under the hashtag ‪#‎OpenEducationWk‬). Riyadh Al-Balushi, contributor to both Creative Commons Arab World and Open MENA, hosted a Google Hangout discussing open education and open educational resources (OER) in the Arab World. The two speakers on the session were…

Creative Commons Arab World Hangout at Open Data Day 2015

[This is a guest post by Sadeek Hasna] On February 22, the Creative Commons Arab World community organised Google Hangout session about Open Data in the Arab World. The online event was on the occasion of the Open Data Day 2015. The Hangout was moderated by Sadeek Hasna (Syria), and Riyadh Al-Balushi (Oman), Faiza…
Oman, Matrah Corniche (Muscat). Image by Andrew Moore on Flickr, CC-by-SA 2.0

Oman Needs Open Data

Open Data can provide great opportunities to Oman. The government has massive amounts of data about all aspects of life in the country that remain stored without ever getting used or, at best, remain constantly under-utilised. [caption id="attachment_257" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Oman, Matrah Corniche (Muscat). Image by Andrew Moore on Flickr, CC-by-SA 2.0[/caption] As part of…
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Open Data Index Stories from Egypt and Oman

The Open Data Index team invited the community to send in their 2014 open data stories. Open knowledge enthusiasts from Egypt and Oman, among others, contributed: Egypt ranked #79 in the 2014 Open Data Index Last year I contributed to parts of the Index, but the majority of the work…

2014 Open Data Index: Slow Progress by MENA Governments in Opening up Key Data

Government data still not open enough – 2014 evaluation highlights little change in favour of Mid-Eastern openness Open Knowledge has published its 2014 Open Data Index which shows that whilst there has been some progress, most governments are still not providing key information in an accessible form to their citizens…

Open Government in Tunisia: “Support us to be supportive and annoying”

The regional Open Government Partnership (OGP) Regional Summit took place in Dublin beginning of May 2014. Originally adressing Europe and the Old Continent's OGP progress, the Summit featured a MENA-related keynote: Selima Abbou, president of Tunisia-based NGO Touensa spoke at the opening. Since its foundation in 2011, Touensa has been…

Opening up governance: Open MENA joins public consultation process in Tunisia

Read in/Lire en/بلغات أخرى: Arabic Our friends at OpenGovTN have asked us at OpenMENA to join a forthcoming national public consultation. The latter aims to build an action plan which will bring greater openness and more collaborative governance to Tunisia. The process, referred to as OGP.Dialogue, will run starting 28…

Making it matter: Open Education in the Global South

The 'Making it matter' workshop, gathering Open Education supporters and promoters, was held in London on Friday, May 16. The event strived to "be a ‘first-step’ in bringing together communities interested in the technical issues related to open data and education" in the Global South. We discussed a number of…

TimeMapper: Archaeology of wine

OKFN Labs has a very neat tool that allows you to create timelines: check out TimeMapper! The below archaeology of wine gives you a good overview of what one can do.

Afghan journalists put data journalism skills into practice

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="220"] Thirteen Afghan journalists participated in the first-ever data journalism workshop held in Afghanistan. (credit: Internews)[/caption] During a training workshop held by Internews, Afghan journalists immediately saw the potential of data journalism to combat corruption, and wanted to jump right into ambitious investigative topics such as tracking…

Wandida: Ceci n’est pas un MOOC

Our friends from OKFN Morocco published a very interesting interview with El Mahdi, on of the people behind Wandida. Wandida is an online platform which collects and provides a wide range of open educational resources (CC-by-NC-SA 4.0). The platform is entirely built and maintained by two Moroccans working at the…

Draft Open Data Policy for Qatar

The Qatari Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies (generally referred to as ictQATAR) had launched a public consultation on its draft Open Data Policy. I thus decided to briefly present a (long overdue) outline of Qatar's Open Data status prior to providing a few insights of the current Policy document.…

Morph.io, A New Scraping Platform

Scraping is where you run a program to extract structured data from web pages, and web scrapers could be called the unsung heroes of data liberation. The OpenAustralia Foundation is announcing a new Scraping Platform called Morph.io [caption id="attachment_121" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Morph.io, a new scraping platform[/caption] You can write scripts…

Help us translate the Open Data Handbook

Read in/Lire en/بلغات أخرى : Arabic, French The Open Data Handbook  aims to introduce the readers to the legal, technical and social issues related to Open Data. It starts by introducing Open Data and sheds the light on its importance. Then, it explains how people can liberate data, and the…

“Open-washing” – The difference between opening your data and simply making them available

(This is the English version of the Danish blog post originally posted on the Open Knowledge Foundation Danish site and translated from Danish by Christian Villum, “Openwashing” – Forskellen mellem åbne data og tilgængelige data. Originally published on the OKFN main blog.) Last week, the Danish it-magazine Computerworld, in an article…

Visiting the Open Knowledge Communities around the World

Two young Berliners, Alex (a software developer from Spain) and Margo (a graduate in European politics from France) decided to leave their daily lives and travel around the world for one year to meet people and organizations working actively in open knowledge related projects, documenting them on their website, OpenSteps.org.…

After Open Data Day #ODD14

On 22 February, the open knowledge enthusiasts celebrated the International Open Data Day (#ODD14) across the world. More than 190 events took place around the globe and many of these were organized by Local Groups of the Open Knowledge Foundation. Christian Villum from OKFN Central has published a summary highlighting…

Launching Open MENA!

[Scroll for English] أصدقائنا الأعزاء يسعدنا أن نعلن عن تدشين مبادرة جديدة وطموحة وهي مبادرة عالم عربي مفتوح مبادرة عالم عربي مفتوح هي فريق عمل ضمن مؤسسة المعرفة المفتوحة تهدف إلى تعزيز مجتمع عربي يتعاون في مجالات المعرفة المفتوحة، ونحن نتمنى أن يضم المهتمين بالمعرفة المفتوحة من محيطكم الأوسع، لذا…

Open Data Day 2014 | اليوم العالمي للبيانات المفتوحة 2014

Bloggers, hackers, designers, statisticians and other citizens who are interested in Open Data and Transparency will gather online and offline for the International Open Data Day on February 22, 2014. The event takes place to encourage governmental data openness. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Open Data Day | اليوم العالمي للبيانات…

Open Data Index reopens for submissions

Bloggers, hackers, designers, statisticians and other citizens interested in Open Data and technology for transparency will gather online and offline for the International Open Data Day on February 22, 2014. The Open Data day is a yearly event meant to encourage openness and government transparency. The Open Definition sets out…

The Journal of Open Archaeology Data invites submissions

The Journal of Open Archaeology Data (JOAD) features peer-reviewed data papers describing archaeology datasets with high reuse potential. The JOAD cooperates with a number of specialist and institutional data repositories to ensure that the associated data are professionally archived, preserved, and openly available. Equally importantly, the data and the papers…

Morocco: Open Data Portal relaunched on CKAN

The “Digital Economy” department at the Ministry of Industry, Trade, Investment and Digital Economy in Morocco mentioned via Twitter (French) that the new version of the official Open Data portal of the Kingdom of Morocco will be based on CKAN. During the last months, OKFN Morocco Ambassador, Abderahman Zohry, had conducted…

Egypt: Freedom of Information Project | مصر: مشروع حرية المعلومات

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=81ec4SC4gNM The Egyptian-American Rule of Law Association (EARLA) published an insightful report entitled Freedom of Information: A Cornerstone of Egypt's Democratic Transition, authored by Angela Migally (Director of EARLA's Freedom of Information Project). The report can be downloaded here [PDF, English]. * * * مشروع حرية المعلومات إقرأ تقرير أنجيلا…

Nota, a pastebin for Arabic content

“Arabic is the seventh most spoken language by Internet users but only three per cent of digital content on the web comprises of Arabic material,” estimate experts. Among the most frequent web usages is sharing text, through Pastebin and similar services. Yet these do not properly support Arabic text. Developed…

OKFN Community Stories Tumblr now live!

The Open Knowledge Foundation Community Stories Tumblr was launched back in September 2013 and is currently curated by Kathleen Luschek of the Public Library of Science, assisted occasionally by the Open Knowledge Foundation's Zara Rahman. The Tumblr is licensed under the Creative Commons CC-by-SA 4.0 international license and gathers stories from Bangladesh…

Hello World!

The Open MENA initiative is in its infancy yet ambitious: it aims at opening knowledge in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Open MENA is a project bootstrapped by members of the OKFN community interested to bring the values and ethics of openness in the Arab World, from North…