On Tuesday June, 16th the RAN Team together with Student Interns 2015 were excited to host the second cohort of AidData Summer Fellows from USA. The Fellows under the AidData Summer Fellow Program are from different Universities in USA (University of Texas Austin, Brigham Young University, UC Berkley, University of Colorado Denver, and College of William & Mary). The AidData Center for Development Policy is advancing the open data movement by creating geospatial data and tools that enable development stakeholders to more effectively target, coordinate and evaluate foreign aid. Students are an integral part of this movement. As AidData Summer Fellows, they work in developing countries to promote data literacy and capacity among local organizations like universities, think tanks, advocacy groups, NGOs, and USAID Missions to use subnational aid information to promote effective service delivery in their communities. This amazing Team of students in Uganda will be working in different host organizations for 10 weeks including; UNICEF, Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) at Makerere university and Agency for Transformation and Transparency International. They will work closely with their host organizations to build capacity and leverage AidData’s geospatial data and tools while identifying opportunities to incorporate those tools into the organization’s work.
During this engagement, the two teams shared insights on the projects they were working on, goals and their expectations from the internship program. They had a great interactive meeting where both teams told stories about their Internship experiences so far, acknowledging how different this is from the usual classroom experience.
Over the summer, the fellows who are largely based at their Host organizations in Kampala will facilitate some summer engagement activities like basic GIS Training at RAN, advanced GIS Training at Makerere University, College of Engineering in the Department of Geomatics and Land Management as well as organize and hold a Hackathon at the end of the 10 weeks internship program.
“As Summer Fellows, we help people learn how to use geocoded data to build capacity and increase data literacy. We shall therefore participate in capacity building activities like GIS training. With the basic GIS skills one can create interactive maps, queries, analyze spatial information, and edit data in maps and present results for all these operations, “noted Ethan Rank, the 2015 AidData Summer Fellows Lead.
Past Summer Fellows worked closely with RAN in an effort to build local capacity to geocode development data, create open resources to display geocoded RAN datasets, and finally hosted a joint GIS hackathon at the end of the summer internship engaging Makerere University students and a community of Innovators guided by the theme: “Innovating for Resilience towards Climate Change: The role of Open data and Visualization” to catalyze innovative uses of geocoded aid and development data.
This is one of the ways RAN is leveraging from the HESN inter-university collaboration and we are optimistic that both students from AidData and RAN will all gain a diverse and enriching experience but most importantly, the Makerere University/Uganda teams are looking forward to learning from the AidData team and tapping into their Data analysis skills.