June 1 event in Banyuwangi will share results from projects looking at how open data can be used to tackle HIV/AIDS
On 1 June, government officials, civil society organisations and selected citizens will gather in Banyuwangi to discuss how open government data can best be used to tackle the growing issue of HIV and AIDS in the area. Participants at the event will share findings and outputs from the Banyuwangi Open Data Social Innovation project — a project led by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit’s (GIZ) Transformasi programme and the World Wide Web Foundation’s Open Data Lab Jakarta, which examined how open data can increase collaboration between government and civil society to strengthen governance reforms in the region. HIV/AIDS patients will also be in attendance, to witness the presentations and gather an understanding of the project’s possible impacts on this health issue firsthand, as well as provide their insights and feedback to it.
In November 2015, citizens and government came together to determine high priority social areas to tackle as part of the project, and identified HIV/AIDS as the project’s key area of focus. Banyuwangi has one of the highest recorded incidences of and mortality rates due to HIV/AIDS in Indonesia. Civil society and government representatives worked jointly to develop four projects that used government data as the basis for addressing and identifying solutions to this public health concern. Now the project partners are testing the different ways in which open data can influence bureaucracy reform, as well as help devise solutions for tackling the identified social challenges.
The potential of open data to raise awareness and reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS is significant. Governments can make better use of data to develop policies that support those affected by HIV/AIDS, and to design preventive measures to slow the rapid spread of the disease in Banyuwangi. Civil society’s ability to analyse, interpret and disseminate openly available government data will support efforts to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS, using concrete and reliable statistics. This, in turn, can spark important conversations among different stakeholders to explore better solutions and innovative approaches to address the problem. Perhaps most significantly, open data can also help those who are afflicted by or exposed to HIV/AIDS themselves through increased public information on existing health services afforded to them. These may include available and affordable treatments from health care providers, as well as community support.
Commenting on the project’s progress to date, Ivy Ong, the Open Data Lab Jakarta’s Director said:
“In Banyuwangi, the growing incidence of HIV/AIDS represents a threat to the region’s continued growth. We know broadly that open data can be used by government, civil society, and individual citizens to improve governance, development and socio-economic growth. Our question in this project was: How can we use open data to bridge the gap between government and civil society efforts to tackle this serious health issue and encourage a collaborative approach to improving health outcomes in the region? We are proud of the work that project participants have undertaken to develop projects where open data can have a significant, positive impact, and we look forward to learning more about the project outcomes at the event today. Through the event, we hope to learn more about how open data can strengthen the engagement between government and civil society, and how it might lead to unexpected solutions or new ways of working.”
The Programme Director of the GIZ Transformasi project, Doris Becker, also shared her delight working in Banyuwangi:
“We very much like working here because we find very active civil servants who are open-minded to change and there is a civil society that has a lot to contribute to advance bureaucracy reform all the way to the village level.”
Adding to this, she talked about the project’s development and how it can help build and strengthen open data-based practices and policies in Banyuwangi:
“Both government and civil society saw HIV/AIDS as a key issue to address – using open data – in Banyuwangi, and the Dinas Kesehatan (Health Department) was willing to present their data in an open format. Since early April, four teams…have been working hard in mixed groups. They underwent an intensive learning process on open data and its implications, and today is the time to test these products and check whether they are fit for purpose. We hope that this will kick-start a movement to build an open data community both with government and civil society participating in Banyuwangi, and open data initiatives can be started in other policy areas as a result.”
For more information about the GIZ Transformasi programme and their activities, visit transformasi.or.id or contact Redhi Setiadi at email@example.com. For any inquiries about the event, the Banyuwangi Open Data Social Innovation project or the Open Data Lab Jakarta and its projects, visit www.labs.webfoundation.org or contact Ivy Ong at firstname.lastname@example.org.