Category: Code for Nepal


Diversity and Enthusiasm: My take on Digital Nepal Conference,…

As we know, things are pretty unpredictable in Nepal. Right before the Digital Nepal Conference – Janakpur, because of unfortunate and tragic events, a strike was announced. After monitoring the situation closely, talking to people, and considering the high demand from youths in the region, Code for Nepal decided that it would be OK to go forward with the conference.

I had only been to Janakpur once as a child many years ago. As someone who had not really explored the southern parts of the country, I decided to go to Janakpur despite the challenges of the strike. Frankly, my friend, Avinash, and I were both a bit nervous. However, we were also very excited.

We decided to fly on March 8. I almost did not make it to the airport on time because of heavy traffic on the road in Kathmandu. After all the hassle, when we landed safely in Janakpur, Ravi and the Code for Nepal team were there to greet us at the airport. It was so reassuring to see familiar faces. Half of the passengers who traveled on that plane were attending the conference. Isnโ€™t that amazing?

From the airport, we took a Tuk Tuk. It was my first time riding a Tuk Tuk. On the way to the hotel, I realized how clean and beautiful Janakpur had become (Ravi says the town used to be cleaner when he was growing up there). Most importantly, the weather was perfect. Later that day, we also visited Janaki Mandir and surrounding ponds. Janakpur is such a religious and historical town. People are friendly.

That evening, there was a journalism workshop for local journalists of Janakpur. It was a normal kind of workshop, similar to ones I used to see more frequently while attending events in Kathmandu. The workshop was facilitated by Dietrich Ayala, David and Ravi Kumar Nepal, where participants learned about using technology for storytelling. But it was when the team of Accountability Lab started the discussion about Open Government, that I saw the enthusiasm of participants. They openly discussed how the concept of Open Government can be helpful for all Nepalese citizens. Some also shared problems that they are facing, which can only be solved by governments.

Since there was a strike that day, there was nothing much to expect. But thanks to Pratap Adhikari from Association of Youth Organizations Nepal (AYON) who made our night awesome. He took us on a Janakpur tour, during which we visited almost all the important temples and ponds of Janakpur. We also enjoyed watching puja happening at Ganga Sagar, and more importantly, enjoying the taste of Janakpur lassi was an awesome feeling.

On the 2nd day of the conference, I joined Alisha Chettri from the Women Development Advocacy Center at the registration desk. This gave me a chance to understand how diverse the conference was going to be. Yes, diverse – which is hard to see in Kathmandu-based events. Young students, housewives, shopkeepers, journalists and community leaders were there to attend the conference. Female participants were also in a good number.

The conference started and as usual, I started snapping photos to post them on our social media account, which I believe is one of the best ways to do documentation of an event. Taking photos, listening to speakers and going Facebook Live sometimes, I was enjoying it. However, I found it interesting when participants started asking questions to presenters. This showed how enthusiastic they were. They were engaged in all presentations and panel discussions. Asking questions, sharing their views, interactions were from both sides. After all the presentations and panel discussions, a token of love was given to each presenter, and t-shirts were given to all participants. Some left the venue and the rest of us went for a group photo. Ohh, group photo and my selfie ๐Ÿ˜›

After the conference ended, we caught up with Pratap Adhikari again and went to taste Janakpur fish. Don’t know whether I should be saying it or not, but that evening I came to know that strong beer is found only in Terai districts. After enjoying the fish, we went for dinner where Ravi gave us a treat, and I must say that the food was amazing. Later that night, Dietrich and I enjoyed an omelet of a duck egg also.

I must say that my three-day-visit of Janakpur was awesome, and this time my experience was different. My contribution at Digital Nepal Conference was limited, but the conference gave me an opportunity to enjoy and interact with nice people of Janakpur. Hope this kind of event will be organized outside of the valley more frequently.

Code for Nepal

Twitter thread turns into impactful project

Last week we the team of Open Knowledge Nepal and Code for Nepal launched the first Beta version of Election Nepal Portal. It’s a crowdsourced open portal that brings all kind of Data related to Nepal’s Local Election together in Open and Visual Format. Election Nepal project will contain data forms various sources which are accumulated in the local election which is due on 31st of Baisakh, 2074 (14th May, 2017).

Today I this post, I wanna share how it all started and the awesome story behind it. Personally, I consider this as one of the cool examples of working openly. On 20th March 2017, I started this discussion of Twitter quoting “Let’s run an #LocalElection data camping for a month, visualizing data and publishing facts at the newspaper, who is with me, let’s discuss” and shared the same post on Facebook too.

The response was simply amazing, within 3 days more than 15 volunteers who were interested in contributing were already with us. Sad part none of them were girls and good part many of them were also new to me. Once again we failed in making the diverse team in terms of gender. But, that didn’t stop us, the process of asking email address for starting email thread started.

Introduction Session
Introduction Session
Portal MockUp Discussion
Portal MockUp Discussion
Project Name Voting
Project Name Voting

And from there we didn’t look back and we never met physically for discussion. Everything we did was completely online and collaborative. We made the best use of technology, using Slack for discussion and introduction, GitHub for code collaboration, Google Docs for content collaboration and Google Hangout for virtual discussion. Yes, try everything and this thing worked. I think 2 weeks were enough for us to partially complete everything with showable results. Project name, mockup discussion everything ๐Ÿ™‚

All these things were possible because of the contribution of many on the same project. We used the partially open methodology for it and today there are people who contribute data, code and contents with regular feedbacks about improving it. There is still some question about making the project sustainable but we will constantly work on it and I am super proud of those open minded people who were part of this journey.

Let the world know, what we had built:ย

Election Nepal Portal
Election Nepal Portal