The U.S. Department of State is funding a project to improve the use of open data in Tunisia, and has tapped local non-profit Hawaii Open Data to lead the initiative.
The funding comes from the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs within the State Department, through its Office of the Middle East Partnership Initiative.
Burt Lum, executive director of Hawaii Open Data, was engaged by MEPI as a volunteer expert under the auspices of the Financial Services Volunteer Corporation to launch the Tunisia open data initiative. FSVC located Lum through the Open Knowledge Foundation, where he serves as the ambassador for the U.S.
The World Bank is also involved in the Tunisia project in a coordinating role.
Lum’s role is part of the FSVC’s initiative to help the Tunisian government to make more of its public data open and accessible, thereby driving economic development, as well as improving government transparency. Lum participated in open data workshops the first two days of a week-long workshop in Tunisia last week, and facilitated discussions among various ministries, civic society organizations and state-owned enterprises.
Lum also met with the Office Du Commerce De La Tunisie (OCT), which is responsible for foreign imports, including sugar, tea, coffee, rice and spices. His meeting with OCT was followed by a consultation with the Office of Vocation and Workforce Development. His consultation concluded on Friday at a meeting with the Institut National de la Météorologie to discuss weather data.
“After the revolution in 2011 that created the Tunisian democracy, it is impressive how the national government has embraced open government and open data as ways to build trust in government,” Lum said in a press release. “I am quite honored to have been invited to participate in this important initiative.”
Lum advised the government organizations on the selection of open data formats, data integrity, and governance to help them prepare for publication of the data on the government’s open data portal.
About Hawaii Open Data
Hawaii Open Data, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, is dedicated to advancing the adoption of open data/knowledge standards and the development of solutions leveraging open data in Hawaii. Hawaii Open Data focuses on helping organizations leverage data as an asset through education and improving data accessibility and integrity. Hawaii Open Data pursues its initiatives to support public-private collaboration, government transparency, and civic engagement. The organization’s core focus areas include research, best practices, tech policy community building and civic engagement.