How Nukta Africa joined the world to celebrate Open Data Day 2021

By Tulinagwe Malopa

  • Nukta Africa celebrated by training students how to maximise the use of open data and increase accountability through data journalism
  • The training was a unique opportunity to the students to learn new things that will help them increase competency in their career after their studies

On March 6th of every year data experts and groups from different countries around the world join hands celebrating Open Data Day in different ways including organising local events, talks, seminars, demonstrations, hackathons even training by using open data in their communities.

The aim of celebrating this day is to recognise and show the importance of open data and encourage its use in reporting, business, and decision making.

For the first time, this year Nukta Africa with support from Open Knowledge Foundation called for applications to conduct a free eight-hour physical data journalism training for 10 journalism and mass communication students from different universities in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to maximise the use of open data and increase accountability through data journalism.

The students were trained on basic conceptualisation of open data, how to scrap & clean data to create open data, laws regulating data journalism in Tanzania, data analysis (interviewing data) and how to develop impactful data-driven stories.

All students said the training was a unique opportunity because they learned new skills that will make them competitive in the labour market and improve lives through data-driven stories after finishing their studies.

“I am so grateful for this opportunity given to us, I can admit it was a wonderful experience since I have no exposure to such things. Looking forward to more opportunities like this,” Maria James, a mass communication student from Tumaini University Dar es Salaam College (TUDARCo), said.

The skills were offered during the training are yet to be provided to colleges and universities in Tanzania.

Samwel Marwa, another student from School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC) of the University of Dar es Salaam, said the tools used by the trainers on developing data stories were easy and interesting especially on analysing and visualising the stories.

“A large part of things taught today are new to us including data tools. The process is easy with the help of these tools…thanks to our trainers who supported us with such unique knowledge,” Marwa said.

Nukta Africa produces data-driven content and provides consultancy and training services on data journalism, data visualisation, success stories production, multimedia storytelling and fact checking.

Conducting such training with students was a stepping stone to creating better journalists who can add value in their reporting and producing content that impacts lives.

Nukta Africa’s CEO and Executive Editor, Nuzulack Dausen said the students showed great commitment towards data journalism and it is a sign that the new practice will be common in newsrooms in future.

Seven out of 10 students who attended the training were female, showing more women are eager to learn new skills than before where the majority were men.

“Our strategy now is to engage more university students pursuing media studies in Tanzania…we train them in emerging digital and data storytelling skills and tools that will help them produce high quality content that can compete in the market,” he said.

The Tanzanian company is currently looking for partners who will support its programme to train and mentor final year students who are pursuing diplomas and bachelors in media studies to equip them with needed skills in the market.

A three-month programme dubbed Nukta Journalism Students Challenge (NJSC) is meant to make the students to be market ready whether as employed media practitioners or entrepreneurs who own their own digital news platforms.

Nukta Africa is an African digital media and technology company that specialises in training and development of digital and data-driven news stories and tools.