The Indigo Trust has awarded a grant of £41,926 to the Open Knowledge Foundation for its School of Data project in South Africa. In the age of big data, the volume of information that voters have at their disposal is monumental. Service delivery failures and corruption are hot political issues in South Africa. Access to this data gives South Africans more power than ever before to hold the government to account at the ballot box.
Leading up to the South African election in May this year, the School of Data provided a series of Data Expeditions and training programmes designed to engage communities in the election. In these sessions, School of Data fellows gave voters all the data they needed in an easy-to-use format to make up their minds on key political issues in the election.
The School of Data hopes to amplify the voice of the poorest and most neglected citizens. Part of the grant will go to supporting civil society organisations who work with these communities. The Open Knowledge Foundation believes that the development of vibrant civil society defending the interests of these communities is essential to create a strong and representative democracy in South Africa and to ensure that government delivers on their promises after the election.
As the old adage goes, information is power. The School of Data is set to empower groups long neglected by government in South Africa and we’re excited to watch their progress in the months and years to come!