Omidyar Network Invests $2m in Web Foundation Open Data Programme

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Today, we’re delighted to announce that Omidyar Network, the philanthropic investment firm, has invested $2m into the Web Foundation’s Open Data programme. Over the next three years, we’ll be using this grant to enhance the scale and ambition of our work in the open data arena, driving positive policy change at an international, national and local level, especially through the international Open Data Charter. We believe that open data, in combination with an open Web, can put power into the hands of people, helping them to fight corruption, build businesses and enjoy a more transparent, mutually beneficial relationship with governments. This investment will help us unlock these benefits.

Anne Jellema, CEO of the Web Foundation, said:

“The message is simple: open data in combination with an open Web can have a catalytic impact – for democracy, for business, for society. But to unlock these benefits, we need common principles to start from, evidence and tools to deliver and measure progress, and ways of holding governments to their promises. We’re already tackling all of these areas, and this grant from Omidyar will help us level up and increase our impact.”

Martin Tisne, Policy Director at Omidyar Network added:

“World leaders have committed to the new Sustainable Development Goals, and there has been much talk of a ‘data revolution’ to achieve them. To enhance transparency, measure progress, enhance data and ultimately put power in the hands of citizens, it is essential that this revolution have open data at is heart. We need open data to hear from beneficiaries directly, to hold governments to account and to drive innovation. We’re delighted to partner with the Web Foundation to help make this vision a reality.”

Specifically, the Web Foundation will harness these funds to:

  • Advance the international Open Data Charter. We helped to imagine and build  this new initiative, which aims to unite national, regional and local governments around a core set of open data principles. The Charter will also deliver practical implementation advice and tools alongside robust monitoring. It’s off to a flying start – more than 20 governments have already adopted or endorsed the Charter in the six weeks since launch. We will now help boost this number to 50, and play a major role in developing the practical implementation and measurement tools the Charter needs to deliver impact.
  • Broaden our Open Data Barometer. The Barometer – an annual 91 country study on the readiness, use and impact of open data, has already led to positive impacts in 20 countries. Using this grant, we’ll be scaling the Barometer up to cover 120 jurisdictions, and driving evidence-based policy change based on the report’s recommendations.
  • Bridge the open data and digital rights communities. Open data is a powerful tool for transparency and progress, but it’s still seen as geeky or niche. By helping to bridge the digital rights and open data communities, we can mainstream open data and create powerful alliances for change.

Our goals are ambitious, and we need strong partners to help us in our work. If you’re interested in finding out more, supporting us, or working with us, please contact us. Otherwise, you can sign up to our email newsletter or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be kept up to date on progress.

 

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