Within the concrete jungle of the city, minorities strive to make sure their stories are told. With the recent rise of technological phenomenon's like open data and data driven journalism, a new range of possibilities to do so has opened up. Faced with urban challenges, like pollution, unemployment, and corruption, several initiatives have successfully integrated the use of data and other digital tools to share their stories with the world and create impact. Where lies its potential and what are the limits of these digital tools? We will talk about this with journalists, data experts, storytellers and international pioneers that use data-driven stories to address urban issues and to influence urban policy.
With among others:
Julia Hoffmann is Programme Development Manager Transparency and Accountability at Hivos. Her work focuses on the global programme in Transparency & Accountability with special interest in developments in technology, (open) data and the role of infomediaries. Previously, she was Assistant Professor for Human Rights, Media and Conflict at the UN University for Peace in Costa Rica. How can data empower citizens and address stories for a better life?
- Launched in 1996, Slum Dwellers International is a network of community-based organizations of the urban poor in 33 countries. A global platform to help their local initiatives develop alternatives to evictions while also influencing the global agenda for urban development. SDI’s Know Your City website combines hard data and rich stories from urban poor communities in 224 cities across the Global South. What is the secret to their success? Julian Baskin is senior urban specialist at Cities Alliance and will talk about the importance of community collected data.
- Emily Mohohlo is originally from the North of South Africa but has been living in Bothaville in the Free State since 1987. She joined the Federation of the Urban and Rural Poor (FEDUP) in 1999. FEDUP is a movement of urban and rural poor women who practice daily savings, data collection, pragmatic partnerships with the State, community-led housing development, land acquisition and informal settlement upgrading. She recounts that she initially doubted whether she could practice daily saving, due to her poor background. When hearing how saving enabled a member of the Federation to take her children to school she was interested: “This member told me that if I just save 50c per day it will slowly accumulate and make a difference. My life did change in the Federation we supported each other and together negotiated for basic services in our settlement.” After starting as a savings collector, Emily is now a national leader for FEDUP in her province. In 2015 she also joined the management committee of the global network of Slum Dwellers International (SDI), in which capacity she supports urban poor Federations in Malawi, Lesotho and Swaziland. In terms of urban story-telling, Emily highlights the value of data collection for poor communities through settlement profiles and household-level enumerations: “When living in an informal settlement, most people only notice the conditions, but they don’t really know what it is like to live there. There is a lot happening, like poverty, drug abuse, health issues. Through profiling and enumerations we begin to understand the priorities of our community. This information helps us to plan for our settlement. It’s better for the community to plan because the municipality doesn’t know our priorities.”
Juan Manuel Casanueva (Mexico) enables ICT for Social Change projects in Latin America. Casanueva is the CEO and co-founder of SocialTIC, a non-profit that empowers change-makers through the strategic use of ICTs, open data and digital narratives in Mexico City and other Latin American cities. Since 2015, SocialTIC has supported civic collectives, activists, journalists, NGO’s and technologists to experiment with tactics that can help them take messages, data and conversations from the online to the offline and back to the online, reaching more people and magnifying impact. So far, powerful Facebook conversations on harassment have taken to the streets of Managua, artists have hacked public spaces with performances based entirely on social media contents, a drone became Mexico’s top hero after visualising the people’s voice on impunity, sounds have hacked public creating invisible protests, real-time noise has become explicit in key parts of the city and a tourist bus has made corruption the most provocative attraction of Mexico. Casanueva will share his insights on the use and effects of storytelling, backed with data, to strengthen citizen voices to influence urban policies, specifically focussed on the project Corruptour.
Jeroen van Mastrigt is creative director of FreedomLab. In FreedomLab’s Playful Cities Programma, Jeroen works on understanding how smart technologies and game design can create meaningful city experiences. He will reflect on tonight’s talks and thoughts.
The visit of Emiliy Mohohlo is made possible with the help of Het Nieuwe Instituut with support by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. And Juan Manuel Casanueva’s visit is supported by funding from Hivos.