Getting Real: Evidence and Ethics for open initiatives in development contexts – A participatory workshop to bring together the core streams of this year’s Open Knowledge Conference

Thursday 19 September, 12:00 – 17:00 @ Université de Genève, Uni Mail campus, Room M 1160


The themes for this workshop are

  • Exploring theory of change concepts and evidencing impact of open initiatives, including open data and open government, on community-led development and aid programmes.
  • Ethical considerations of open initiatives in development contexts

The workshop will bring together open government, open data, transparency/accountability and open development specialists to discuss and debate the effectiveness and ethics of open initiatives. It’s a space for us all to share our experiences and ask critical questions of our work in open data, t/a, governance and open development. For example, how far can we attribute changes such as increased access to or quality of community healthcare to open government or open data? Does openness really lead to greater accountability for communities, and what’s the evidence?


This workshop is likely to be run as an open space workshop, and the numbers of participants are limited. If you’d like to reserve a place, please leave your name and email address on the workshop etherpad, and the Open Development/Sustainability stream organisers will contact you. 

Participants are invited to present short case studies (informal presentations welcome!) on the latest research or evidence from our projects and/or initiate group discussions and continue conversations started during the conference around the core topics of evidence and ethics in open initiatives.

Suggestions so far include

  • Latest update from the Making all Voices Count initiative
  • Follow that data – tracing the impact of open data in developing contexts from the ground up.
  • The role of ‘theory of change’ within open development initiatives [follow on from Weds session].
  • Participatory approaches and openness – same same or different?
  • What are the key factors involved with good quality transparency/accountability projects? Can we build an ‘identikit’ model of a t/a project?
  • Behind every number is a name – ethical considerations when using open, mobile and crowdsourced data in developing contexts.
  • Quality in, quality out – how does the state of the data affect the outcomes of T/A initiatives, and to what extent does it create unintended outcomes? Is neutrality assumed because the data is open?


To participate in this workshop, please leave your name, a contact email address and your suggestions at


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