Open Data Day at Sanfebagar: How did it come true?

 

International Open Data Day 2018 at Sanfebagar Municipality

On March 3rd, Sanfebagar Municipality organized a grand event marking International Open Data Day 2018 under its banner. We organize ourselves to make this day a historic one where several of 16 local governments came together to see what it took Sanfebagar Municipality to become first local government to celebrate this global day.

Achham & Sanfebagar

Achham is a far western part of the country (currently under Province 7) while Sanfebagar is a beautiful small city located as an entrance to the main district. The average literacy rate is approximately 53.18% (37.18% female and 71.54% male are literate). During the armed conflict, the city saw a terrible war between conflicting parties on 2002.

Sanfebagar is now a municipality with elected representatives out of election for local governments in 2017.

Some glimpses of Sanfebagar

SUSASAN brought us together

SUSASAN i.e. Sustainable use of Technology for Public Sector Accountability in Nepal for past a year working with 12 local governments and several civil society organizations through a holistic approach to enhance local government’s accountability through the use of integrated technology. Read more about SUSASAN here.

What did it take to make Sanfebagar the first one?

The day became possible with a thorough preparation and coordination. More importantly, we sat in a continuous consultation with Sanfebagar Municipality. Here are the tasks that we did as a part of the preparation:

  1. Exercised for municipal data portal with government data and local coordination

We sought all public information related to Sanfebagar Municipality in whatever forms they exist. For such purpose, we coordinated with a local civil society organization i.e. Malika Development Organization (MDO) while MDO coordinated with the Municipality for fetching information. We were provided with significant information but in a varied formats as like pdfs, word, excel, even papers.

As a next thing, we worked to prioritize important data related to the municipalities involving the development activities and allocated budget for current fiscal year, development and governance policies of the municipality, decisions of the municipal council, other taxes related information.

Efforts were laid to normalize the data contained in different formats/structures to make it usable.

Based on the data that were available, suitable tech platforms were designed.

2. Set-up to prepare e-profile

We tried to mix the interest of local government to be able to have its Electronic Profile (e-profile). In fact, we worked to develop data platform for different e-profile variables and maintained the visualization of the same.

Sanbagar e-profile page

Sanfebagar started it differently

Two things Sanfebagar Municipality did differently:

Welcomed in Open Data Day event celebration through MunVoice

MunVoice (Municipality Voice) is a unique platform that is developed for a video-interfacing of municipal authorities with general public. The purpose is to relay municipal activities, updates, announcements for public information.

Kul Bahadur Kunwar, Mayor of Sanfebagar announces about Open Data Day, Sanfebagar through MunVoice platform

 

Mr. Kul Bahadur Kunwar, The Mayor announced about the event through this platform about the Open Data Day celebration and welcomed public to join the event.

SMS-based invitation through Municipal Messaging System

The Municipality in order to invite attendees in the event including the Chief Guest, used Municipal Messaging System. The Mayor composed a message for sending it out to a group of recipients.

Mr. Mayor sends invites to participate in ODD Celebration

 

The platform is anticipated to be used by local government in establishing documented communication with stakeholders in for municipal affairs.

Information Technology Center (Municipal Techno-hub)

Sanfebagar Municipality has its own ICT Center, known as Municipal Techno-hub. It is a physical platform equipped with technological components (eg. computers, Internet) along with online and offline technological tools and mechanisms. The hub shall carry out key tasks involving entering/managing and publishing data. Importantly, it will have people visiting that it needs to be availed with appropriate information and other facilitation.

Sanfebagar Municipality arranged for a place next to the main entrance of the administrative building where we went and installed all the necessary equipments, decorated it to look ready for inauguration during the Open Data Day Celebration.

Municipal Techno-hub ready for inauguration

Big Day: International Open Data Day 2018 @Sanfe

On Saturday, 3 March, Sanfebagar Municipality was more than excited to have a lot of people to celebrate International Open Data Day. It was even more exciting because of following additional reasons:

  • Sanfebagar was going to be the first ever among 753 local governmentsto host the global event marking the international Open Data Day 2018
  • Key personnel from Province 7 including Minister of Finance Jhapat Bohara, Parliamentarian Harka Bahadur Kunwar, Mayors of several other local governments were there to witness the day
  • The Municipality was going to launch its first ever information & data portal
  • Inauguration of the Municipal Techno-hub was scheduled as a major event

Big Day: Events

The event day kicked off with Geo-tagging of Baijnath Temple and Bayalpata Hospital by the Finance Minister of Province 7 along with 17 mayors of various municipalities. Representative from Malika Development Organization Mr. Ratan Rawal demonstrated how they have come up with the mapping of most of the important places of Sanfebagar Municipality as well as Bannigadhi Jaygadh Rural Municipality.

Points of Interest Mapping with local leaders

Mass Gathers to talk about the Day

A large group comprising of federal leaders, elected leaders of local government, security forces officials, civil society leaders, journalists came together to talk about the significance of this day and more importantly to discuss “Why it is the right time to ensure an Open Local Government” .

Furthermore, we tried to supplement to this campaign by adding what is going on and around the world when we are talking about open governments. bibhusan presented about how to strategically transit from Open to more Open Government and what impacts can we anticipate out of global experience.

bibhusan presenting on why Openness should go local

Municipal Techno-hub inauguration at Sanfe

Outputs

The event day brought about a lot of positive feedback. More importantly, it drew the commitments from a lot other local government to become the next champion local government.

Kul Bahadur Kunwar, Mayor at Sanfebagar Municipality clarified municipality’s intention to have portal and other tech-components as integral. He stated, “ Through the Municipal e-Portal, we aim to ensure public access to municipal data, information as well as its activities. This facilitates while communicating decisions, program budgets of the municipality to the citizens.”

Harka Bahadhur Kunwar, Member of Federal Parliament expressed that he is happy to witness such a day at Sanfe. He added, “I am happy to see Sanfebagar Municipality leading to establish itself as citizen-friendly through an easy access to municipal information.”

Media Coverages of the Day