With the 2015 Open Data Awards just around the corner, we catch up with Oluseun Onigbinde, Co-founder of BudgIT, a Nigerian civic startup with a mission to make government budgets easier to understand for citizens. BudgIT is a finalist for the Open Data Social Impact Award.
The Open Data Awards celebrate innovation and excellence in open data across the world. Hundreds of inspiring people and organisations have been nominated across five categories, from social impact to publishing.
Hi Oluseun! How are you doing?
I am fine and elated that my organisation is nominated for the Open Data Awards. This truly makes us happy to be recognised beyond Nigeria.
What do you, or your organisation, do in a nutshell?
The role of my organisation, BudgIT, is to make data more simple and accessible for citizens, raising their ability to demand accountability from public officers. Layered on open data, we use creative representation to intersect civic engagement and institutional reform in Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
What first got you excited about open data?
We were interested in the potential to use data in open formats as a unit of communication and also the excitement and curiosity of citizens when they see our visualisations. We are glad to be making an impact, having reached over 270,000 citizens in Nigeria.
What are your biggest data challenges?
Most data in Nigeria is still limited to PDF, making it difficult for us to analyse. The biggest overhead in our organisation is the process of data clean-up, it is very challenging. Most of the time we also wish we had more comprehensive data to allow citizens to make better judgements.
What kind of open data would you like to see more of?
We would like to see more open data on actual spending in Nigeria, along with detailed budget data in Africa. This is crucial for our work as most governments cast a thick shield around spending data, which encourages corruption, especially in procurement.
How do you feel about being nominated for an open data award?
We are so glad to be nominated and also to be part of the final list. This gives a whole lot of excitement to the team. We are glad that respected people around the world see the impact of what we do, and find it right that we have been nominated for the Social Impact category.
The Open Data Awards will be held on July 9 in partnership with Bloomberg at Bloomberg’s London offices on Finsbury Square.