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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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…
Mwazna, Egypt's state budget explained. 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?

The Qatari Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies announced a finalised Open Data policy in December 2014. It is encouraging to observe that, despite its various transparency caveats, Qatar is quite openly discussing an Open Data policy. A year ago, I wrote a quick overview of Qatar's draft Open Data Policy paper. Alongside, I also responded to…

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…
How patents, copyrights and trademarks have been grossly distorted -- even Barbie is tied up in court.

The Plot to Privatise 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…

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…