Stakeholder workshop on using open data and digital tool for better project implementation

On 04 November 2019, Open Development Cambodia (ODC) organized a full-day stakeholder workshop on “Access to Open Data, Map and Use the Digital Tools for Better Project Implementation” at Sunway Hotel Phnom Penh. This workshop is funded by the USAID through East-West Management Institute (EWMI), under the project of Cambodian Civil Society Strengthening (CCSS). The workshop aims to share knowledge on the open data and how to access and download the data and information from Open Development Cambodia website; to introduce the digital tools that could assist to research study, project implementation and outreach; and to assess the need of the capacity building for the stakeholders on how to use those tools to benefit and to promote the livelihood and quality of life for local communities, indigenous people and natural resources management for sustainable development.

The workshop was attended by 22 people (4 females and 2 Bunong indeginous people) from 8 provinces including Mondulkiri, Kratie, Stung Treng, Preah Sihanouk, Koh Kong, Battambang, Kampong Chhnang, Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. Most of attendees are Program Coordinator, Project Officer, Project Manager, GIS Officer, volunteer, community facilitator, who are from NGOs and CBOs working actively in the field of natural resources, community livelihood in the northern, the center and coastal areas of Cambodia, including  My Village Organization (MVi), Community Empowerment and Development Team (CEDT Cambodia), Build Community Voices (BCV Cambodia), Cambodian Civil Society Partnership (CCSP),​ Cambodian Institute for Research and Rural Development (CIRD), Forest and Livelihood Organization (FLO Cambodia),  Morodok Organization, Cambodian National Research Organisation (CNRO), Community Training Organisation for Development (CTOD) and Prom Vihear Thor Organization (PVT).

The first session was about “Open Data 101”. In this session, the stakeholders were expected to learn what is the open data, the creative common license, the benefit and how to participate in open data movement from the practicing. The session was started with a quick exercise by asking the participants to write down what they think about “What the Open Data is?”. Most of our stakeholders in general found the term “Open Data” was very new to them. According to the answers collected,  some of the participants said “Open data is the data that is provided for free of charge and no condition”, some said “Open data is data that can be downloaded from any institutes or government website and for the public use.”

Ms. Kim Vanndy,  Executive Director from Forest and Livelihood Organization (FLO), said she used to hear a lot about “Open source”, but this is the first to her hearing the word “Open data”. Many interesting questions have been raised in this session, especially about the use of Copyright and the creative common license.

The next session was about “Open Development Cambodia website and Interactive map”. The session was aimed to give an instruction to the participants how they can access to open data platform like ODC website to download data on natural resources, indigenous people, governance, and other related research and legal documents from the website without any restriction. Variety of ODC’s contents were presented, ranging from topic pages and its related content, online interactive and download map, profile and law page.

Mr. Oung Tivea, Executive Director of Morodok Organization, said “In the civil society, we are experts in different fields, and having the organization who provides the data and information resources like ODC is really appreciated. In daily life, people need to access to information, and for civil organization we also need the reliable and richness data portal like Open Development Cambodia website to access and to learn about the current development trend, research publication and legal document  to support our advocacy work.”

Besides how to access to data and map tool on the natural resources in Cambodia, ODC also provided additional knowledge sharing on using “Info-graphic” or why all the civil society organizations (CSOs) should integrate the info-graphic work into their promotional and outreach materials. In this session, Mr. Chea Singhatararith, ODC Research and Communication Officer, has presented the concept and component and its requirement to develop an attractive, informative and effective info-graphic for the project outreach activities or for expanding the project impact to the target groups. 

Another new tools that ODC was also introduced is “Data collection – Kobo Toolbox”. Kobo Toolbox is a free and open source which suite of tools for field data collection for use in challenging environments. All the attending stakeholders found this tool is very interesting and they were curious to learn more about the tool. Most of them said, in their daily work they collect data or field survey with the community by using paper or printed questionnaires. 

Before the workshop was finished, all participants were required to share their feedback and evaluate the training. From the results gathered from this evaluation, all stakeholders had learned a great deal about open data and creative common license, data searching and especially using the ODC interactive maps that can make their research and works at the target areas becoming easier, for example, verifying the overlap between boundaries of Economic Land Concessions (ELCs) and indigenous communities or community forest lands, which so far they need to ask for help from relevant state institutions to assist in verifying and response back, and this such of work is very time-consuming. In addition, all participants had expressed their expectation that ODC will conduct additional training sessions in the near future, so that they can learn more about mapping, develop the info-graphic, and use of the Kobo Toolbox.

Stakeholder workshop on using open data and digital tool for better project implementation