Open Data for Development (OD4D) is a global partnership that supports southern leadership and locally-led data ecosystems around the world as a way to spur positive social change and sustainable development.
Using data for development requires an ecosystem approach. To help build the local supply of good quality, relevant open data, we provide technical support to governments at all levels and other data providers such as NGOs to support the release and updating of existing datasets and to co-design strategies to identify and release new ones. But releasing data is just the first step. Ensuring that data is released using agreed upon technical standards helps to ensure the interoperability of data – allowing it to be more easily used.
To ensure that open data is used in ways that support sustainable development, OD4D’s partners collaborate with a wide network of actors to support the use of data – data journalists, civil society, civic tech actors, local businesses, local scientists, and government innovators alike. By improving local capacity and data literacy, and supporting innovative uses of open data, they help to create a loop that helps to promote the ongoing release and use of open data. OD4D also supports high quality research to inform effective data policies that support openness and innovation but balance other fundamental rights such as the right to privacy. Finally, OD4D supports initiatives that monitor impact and progress in the open data field, and using these findings around “what works” to continue to inform sustainable development initiatives in a variety of thematic sectors.
Our regional hubs are responsible for coordinating regional open data efforts particularly around research; building capacity for the production, use and application of open data; and fostering open data innovations.
Our global initiatives are primarily focused on a collaborative global agenda to advance open data, measuring the state of open data in the world, and encouraging coordination and standardization of open data formats for more effective use.
The OD4D program is funded by the International Development Research Centre, Global Affairs Canada, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The program is hosted at IDRC, and delivers work through a global network of implementing partners. Each hub coordinates regional efforts, often supporting a network of local organizations and collaborating with regional agenda setters.
Open Data for Development’s long-term vision has been developed through extensive consultation with the open data community since the beginning of 2015, and has evolved with global development agendas and local needs. This included discussions at the 3rd, 4th and 5th International Open Data Conferences (IODC), where the global open data community comes together to reflect on progress, explore challenges, and discuss common actions.
The International Development Research Centre has been working on open data projects dating back to 2010. Various programs were consolidated under the Open Data for Development (OD4D) umbrella in a multidonor partnership starting in 2015.
The OD4D partnership network consists of a donors committee, which helps to inform the overall network strategy and prioritize certain thematic areas. The active implementing agencies of the OD4D program are also a part of the OD4D network. Each agency has its own set of deliverables and objectives that it has co-developed and committed to (including through sub-grants). Each agency has the autonomy to lead their regional or global initiative and to establish partnerships in the way that they deem most valuable and sustainable. Finally, OD4D has a series of advisors that it collaborates with.
OD4D also supports collaboration and learning with the broader open data community, co-hosting the International Open Data Conference and key regional events.
The OD4D program is hosted at the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), and co-funded by the Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade, and the Hewlett Foundation.