EWMI-ODI and the open movement
East-West Management Institute, Inc., (EWMI), is an international independent not-for-profit organization, working to strengthen democratic societies by bringing together government, civil society, and the private sector – to build accountable, capable and transparent institutions. EWMI conceived Open Development Initiative (ODI) to stimulate public demand, builds coalitions, and offer a constantly evolving platform to support the transparent sharing and analysis of data to improve and inform constructive dialogue and decision making for sustainable and equitable development.
EWMI-ODI adopts an objective, apolitical, and cross-sectoral approach to open data. By removing the presentation of information from advocacy or a particular development agenda, aggregating from public domain and showing all sources, presenting data and information objectively, and providing ways for users to analyze and interact with the information, EWMI-ODI sought to change public perceptions about information and build demand for more transparency, shift dynamics from debates over basic data, encourage independent analysis, and level the playing field in regard to information access. The open data approach attracts a wide range of stakeholders including private sector, government technocrats, and educational institution as well as civil society organizations and citizen groups.
The flagship site of this initiative is Open Development Cambodia (ODC). The site was launched in 2011 and has since been relied on by tens of thousands for objective and compelling data visualizations that illuminate the development and environmental challenges in Cambodia. EWMI-ODI is currently scaling up Open Development platform to a regional coverage with identified partners in all Southeast-Asian countries bordering the Mekong.
The Open Development Mekong and country websites are open source and open knowledge platforms, striving to meet emerging international open data standards. EWMI-ODI is also linking to various international, regional, and country-level Open Government Partnership (OGP), open data, open education, and open access initiatives.
EWMI-ODI’s significant contributions to the “open movement” include:
- Promoting and participating in open data, open education, and open access discussions and dialogue at country, regional, and international levels.
- Supporting and promoting country level initiatives to translate the Open Data Handbook into local languages.
- Harmonizing its taxonomy with international standard vocabularies, such as FAO’s Agro-VOC, and translating those vocabularies into local languages.
- Implementation of ‘linked open data‘, a method of publishing structured data so that it can be interlinked and become more useful through semantic queries.
- Providing training and guidance to organizations to promote adoption of Creative Common licenses and international metadata standards.
- Extending the functionality of CKAN software with open source code.