Happy New Year! Volunteer and Power Open MENA

We are in for 2016: Welcome and thanks. We have been busy doing research on the opportunities the data revolution provides for the MENA region and joining the freshly launched Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data to continue and extend work in that domain. We are also launching a call for volunteers, so be sure to share with others.

More and more people have been following our work and getting in touch – with ideas, comments, invitations to speak, to give training,… Below, we highlight the most prominent achievements from 2015 and outline some of the exciting initiatives to come. Thank you for joining us for new adventures.

Happy New Year from Open MENA! Join us and power open knowledge!

What does the data revolution bring to MENA?

Back in July 2015, we told you about an exciting action research workshop held in Cairo and addressing the reasons why MENA still trails in involvement with the data revolution. The workshop was co-organised by the IDRC (Canada’s international development center) and the Access to Knowledge in Development (A2K4D) research group at the American University in Cairo.

The IDRC, the A2K4D team and Open MENA thus seized the opportunity to imagine the opportunities ahead. The outcome is a critical study produced by Open MENA and exploring the economic opportunities of the data revolution for MENA. Stay tuned!

Sharing is caring. And in 2015, we cared a lot.

In the past months, we travelled a lot, we met many wonderful people and other amazing individuals talked about Open MENA. Here are a few highlights.

  • In October 2015, we travelled to Gaziantep (Turkey) following an invitation from Reporters Without Borders (RSF/RWB). RSF/RWB is partnering with CFI (French Canal France International) to support capacity building for Syrian independent and citizen journalists. The Syrian Media Incubator, #SyrianMI, is a secure, free and open space where journalists can work on their content. Open MENA provided training on data journalism, sourcing and verification of information in a real-time crisis.
  • In November 2015, Open MENA went to Brussels attending OpenCon 2015 and then, to Madrid. The Spanish chapter of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR Spain) jointly with Baseera (the Egyptian Centre for Public Opinion Polling) and supported by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation and the European Commission’s two projects on public opinion in the Arab World, Masar Citizenship and ArabTrans. During an internal high-level seminar and a public event, we shared our knowledge on civic participation in MENA and the opportunities open data can provide to bolster it.
  • We also contributed to Creative Commons’ Kickstarter campaign seeking support for a forthcoming book on open business models: how do you create economic value out of openly licensed material? The book explores how creators make money to sustain what they do when they are letting the world reuse their work. The writing is coming to an end, so expect more on that exciting project pretty soon.
  • Egypt’s Motoon, a collective of techies supporting local communities with open source, secure and sustainable software solutions and capacity building, opened Mushtarak, a beautiful co-working space. It is more than a co-working space, though: it is becoming a virtual community gathering place. Open MENA was invited to join and contribute to the growing community of tech enthusiasts, so expect news shortly!

Champions of the data revolution!

On 27 Sept 2015, 193 world leaders committed to 17 Sustainable Global Goals (SDGs). In the next 15 years, those goals will help end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and fix climate change.

On 28 Sept 2015, the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data officially launched. The Partnership is an unprecedented group gathering governments, civil society, business, international organisations, academia, statistical and data communities, and many others representing all sectors of society.

The Partnership is dedicated to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Open MENA is proud to join the initiative since its inception as one of the champions.

Welcome our first partner of 2016: Refugee Streets!

They dream of becoming teachers, politicians, lawyers, diplomats, police officers, engineers, scientists. They dream of going to school and living healthy lives with their mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters. Yet, their home countries are engulfed in conflict. … Still, their voices are often funneled through multiple coloured lenses before reaching the public.

Refugee Streets aims to change that, providing refugees with a direct channel to the world.

Open MENA has always been interested in helping out with the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Through this partnership, we will contribute our knowledge, expertise and energy to the growing effort to provide refugees and asylum seekers with relief and a future.

Get Involved with Open MENA!

The coming months will be like nothing you have seen from a project. If we are going to bring open knowledge to the Middle East and North Africa, we have to be more, smarter, and more innovative than ever before. Each of us can take the lead in shaping this effort.

That work begins now in your community. Sign up to volunteer today.

Posted on: January 9, 2016, by :