In order to introduce and further develop the Open Source for Equality (OSEQ) initiative, we have been planning a deep dive into a local ecosystem for quite some time. The Open Source for Equality Day in Kampala was the official kick-off for these activities.
This networking and innovation event held on July 6, 2022 was conceived as the centerpiece of the ecosystem deep dive. The idea was to map and convene stakeholders (NGOs, CBOs, international development agencies, Startups, government agencies, local software developers). The goal was to establish long-term, sustainable partnerships with local stakeholders in Uganda. Additionally, the experiences from this series of events will help us to design activities that could be implemented in other local ecosystems.
The theme of the event was "Open Source for Local Action on the Sustainable Development Goals - Challenges and Opportunities". Open innovation in the form of Digital Public Goods are one of the cornerstones of the UN's roadmap to reach the SDGs. The UN defines Digital Public Goods as open source software, open data, open AI models, open standards and open content that adhere to privacy and other applicable laws and best practices, do no harm, and help attain the SDGs.
Digital Public Goods can play an important role in three major aspects:
- The can help bridge digital gaps by providing accessible digital tools
- They can help NGOs and CBOs in their digital transformation process
- They can provide opportunities for local developers and content creators
Several sessions and interventions by stakeholder from government, civil society and the developer community helped illustrate those aspects through interventions from different speakers, case study discussions, networking sessions and more.
- Michael Ocero, Assistant Commissioner E-Services at Ministry of Information Technology and National Guidance, Uganda
- Charlène Cabot, Manager of the Response Innovation Lab Uganda
- Deborah Aanyu Oduman, Community Lead at Open Source Community Africa Kampala
- Marcel Heyne, Founder of Open Source for Equality Initiative
- Phillip Ayazika, Program Manager at Pollicy.org
- Sherinah Ngabo, ICT4D Advisor at Welthungerhilfe
- Sandra Aceng, Program Manager at Women of Uganda Network, Wikimedia Community User Group Uganda
Five case studies were presented and discussed. The goal was to help demystify open source digital innovations and in particular how they can contribute to advancing a specific Sustainable Development Goal with a particular focus on Health, Education, Equality. The following projects were showcased: Open Street Map Uganda, Simbi Learn Cloud, Uganda EMR, Audiopedia and Ustad Mobile. We will publish the case studies on this blog.
Here is a video that showcases the five projects and their use of Open Source and Open Content: