Category: AskNepal

AskNepal

Amateur Nikesh, Amateur Journey: Looking Back 2016

Reflection is something that makes you emotional, at some point, you enjoy the taste of success and at some point, you almost cry remembering the journey you travel. Memories of old new friends make you feel sad and the enthusiasm of making your future bright push you harder to move forward. The year 2016 was one of the confused years for me, where I struggle to make a big decision, in the beginning, lost my Grandfather, planned something and did something else!! Here are some Ups and Downs of my journey of the year 2016, Where enthusiasm of junior was stronger than the pressure of senior, where people criticize me for my childish behaviors and at the same time some people support my never giving up attitude.

1) Joining Acme once again

A confused year and a totally confused decision made in 2015 and realized in 2016. Gaps, Bachelor Degree, Future, Friends and much more. Was Engineering my right decision, I doubt so but I am still confused. Let’s see how long I can go!!

2) Launching Nepal Open Data Index

The work of 2015 but was launched in January 2016, the result of crowdsourced open data survey done in 10 different districts of Nepal, which helps us to understand the condition of open data and technology in the local cities of Nepal.

3) Organizing International Open Data Day 2016

Officially the first event of the year, Yes once again we organize International Open Data Day in Kathmandu. This year we organize Datathon, where we collect the information of different Public Bodies of Nepal. Thanks go to awesome teams, supporters and well-wishers, with limited resources and time, we did something great that day.

4) Loosing Grandfather started drinking alcohol

One of the moments of 2016, which I never wanted to remember, yes never. Maybe that’s the reason why I started drinking alcohol, to forget that pain and memories. The pain of losing grandfather, the pain of being alone.

5) FOSS Nepal PoC and celebrating Software Freedom Day 2016

Working to shape the FOSS Nepal Community structure was another thing where I worked hard by bringing the concept of FOSS Nepal Person of Contact (PoC) but was unsuccessful at the end. Yes or Maybe, I don’t know but the Software Freedom Day 2016 celebration was a huge success. The preparation was good and execution was perfect, Kudos to the team, those new faces, and their enthusiasm. Ohh Gosh, I love them and miss them, they were awesome.

6) Working on Open Data Handbook Nepali Version

One of the 75% completed core project of Open Knowledge Nepal, where we work hard for translation, which isn’t really that much good but we did it. I personally work lots in writing so that we can do fundraising for that project, let’s see, we plan to launch that project in 2017 since the review of the handbook is still left.

7) Virtually marking Open Access Week 2016

For the third time in a row, I decided to mark the Nepal presence in Open Access Week. Since Open Access Week falls in festival season, it’s always challenging to celebrate it through physical events, my previous experience of organizing it says. But this year the plan was something different, We did QA with some know and active Open Access Activist of Nepal so we can gather the info about is the current situation and share it with others.

8) Joining Code for Nepal as AskNepal Initiative lead

I was always the secret well-wishers of Code for Nepal, the things which they are doing or trying to do is really awesome. In October 2016, I decided to join them as an AskNepal Lead. A project which I think is very impactful in the context of Nepal.

9) Receiving Shuttleworth Flash Grant

The highlight of the 2016 end, being nominated by the Founder of Open Knowledge Internation for Shuttleworth Flash Grant to recognize my contribution in the field of Open Knowledge and Data in Nepal. I was one of the grantees of Flash Grant.

10) Structuring Open Knowledge Nepal

Last planning of 2016 and first work in To-Do list of 2017, giving right structure to the work and projects of Open Knowledge Nepal. Lots of works are already done, planning is in the right stage, let’s see how well we can execute it in the year 2017.

2017 I am ready for you, Come on!!

AskNepal

Rebooting AskNepal initiative

October 17th, 2016 – A day when I messaged Mr. Ravi Kumar Nepal, Co-founder of Code For Nepal showing my interest in leading and contributing AskNepal initiative and within a day my meeting was fixed with him for October 22nd, 2016 where we discuss the different possible ways of my engagement. Today right after one week of that meeting, here I am writing this post with the possible Project Plan, Admin Access, Project Lead tag. Unbelievable, Isn’t it a super fast way of joining a community. Yes, it is and thanks to Ravi and team for accepting me as a C4N family.

So, What are the possible next steps and how we are doing it?

Like every others project, AskNepal initiative also needs multi-stakeholders, supporters, collaborators to make a greater impact and easy outreach. So, our next step is to search for possible organizations and civil society organization (CSO) who can help us. Our initial discussion with some RTI Activist of Nepal had found that there is more than 10 organization working all around Nepal for the betterment of Right to Information Act with greater implementation and impact. At first stage, we will be starting this discussion with two organization of Nepal, Citizens’ Campaign for Right to Information (CCRI) and Freedom Forum because this organization has great experience of working in RTI field and human resources who believes in technological solution. We will keep searching others possible organization. We want these kinds of CSO, who understand technology to be our collaborators because AskNepal initiative is all about increasing citizen’s reach of Access to Information through the use of technology.

We will be taking feedback and suggestion from this two organization (CCRI Nepal and Freedom Forum) regarding site customization so, that we can make it more user-friendly because the current version of the site is the replicate of the global initiative https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/. Where you choose the public authority that you would like information from, then write a brief note describing what you want to know. Then we will play the intermediary role where we will send your request to the respective public authority or officer. Any response received is automatically published on the website for you and anyone else to find and read.

But we plan to localize the site according to the local context and needs to increase our chances of reaching local citizens from all around the country. We will implement and try all kinds of suggestion regarding site customization because, at the end of the day, all we want is to make the site user-friendly.

After making site perfect, our next step is to discuss initiative with a government organization in search of help. For this, we will follow Top-Down approach and will directly start from National Information Commission (NIC) because when it comes to working with government, Bottom-Up approach never works and I personally have a good experience about this. We also believe our chances of getting positive responses from government officials is high and after getting linked with government and CSO, the project outreach is just a matter of time.

Last but not the least, the site is still empty, what about data, where are the list of public authorities?

The answers are clear and simple, we will search and crowdsourced it. National Information Technology Center (NITC) already have this data because all the (.gov.np) domain are control and maintained by them. We will ask those data with them by using RTI Act and the ongoing project of Open Knowledge Nepal, PublicBodies Nepal can be another possible source of data.

The outreach and frequent maintenance of site will be done by the team of Code for Nepal and Open Knowledge Nepal. More importantly, If the initiative got selected for Accountability Lab Incubator, all the implementation of this plan is going to be easier.

Want to join or support AskNepal initiative, contact project lead Nikesh Balami (nikesh@codefornepal.org)