A Successful Camp: Open Data, Governance, Digital India and Caddisfly

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DataMeet
held its latest Open DataCamp in New Delhi on 22 November, 2015. The open data movement in India and the community around it, have both grown steadily in recent years and the latest event further helped the cause.

Akvo Foundation’s South Asia hub has been part of this community for a few years and has played a vital role in many aspects, including as a supporting partner in the two Open DataCamp’s held in New Delhi.

 

This year’s camp was a great success, not only in terms of participation – there was a wonderful mix of individuals and organisations attending – but also productivity. We were all able to engage the government, journalists and citizens in meaningful and relevant conversations revolving around open data in governance and citizenship. The theme for the day was Open Data in Digital India, which is a mission of the Government of India to promote and expand the use of technology in education, health, water and sanitation, infrastructure, and so on.

As a co-organiser in DataMeet Delhi, I had the task to moderate one of the sessions on open data in digital citizenship. Akvo’s work in the development sector globally, especially in WASH, informed my opinion and knowledge to stitch together the views of the panel participants and the audience. At the end of the day, participants and organisers were able to put together their thoughts about what kind of information and data should be made accessible under the various pillars of the Digital India mission.

One of the sessions was “Show & Tell” where interested individuals and organisations were invited to take the stage for five minutes and talk about their work and experience with data. This gave Akvo the opportunity to showcase Akvo Caddisfly, the water quality testing kit which is designed to be a simple, fast, portable and low cost drinking water testing kit that can be used anywhere to quickly analyse the level of fluoride in drinking water, using a smartphone.  I had recently visited our team mates in Bangalore, and among other things like jamming with them, I learnt how to test water for Fluoride content using the Caddisfly kit and ran a demo of it during the event.

Video: Guneet Narula from Akvo Asia doing an Akvo Caddisfly fluoride test demo. Open Data Camp Delhi – 22 November 2015.

 

Even though I was a bit nervous, the demo went smoothly and the audience was impressed and seemed fascinated by the process. Kudos to the Akvo Caddisfly team for developing such a simple-t0-use and effective kit.

In conclusion, the camp was a success for both DataMeet and Akvo. We hope to continue our association with DataMeet and the larger open data movement in India.

Guneet Narula is a technical officer at Akvo, based in Delhi.

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