A reunion of researchers, technology innovators, and enthusiasts has been held today to discuss the meaning and importance of data as a defining cog in our daily lives. Hosted by Pollicy, the reunion dubbed The DataFest was hosting its 3rd Edition, a 2-day event running between Thursday 29th and Friday 30th April 2021 at MOTIV in Kampala.
The theme of the event is Living With Data is a manifestation of the role of data such as personal information and statistics in defining life as we know it especially in the times of COVID19. Many of the things that shape our daily life like work, school, business, and entertainment have become data reliant
“Data has been part of us for a while now but has become even more important due to the COVID19 pandemic. At one point purchases could only be made online, classes and work were done on zoom, and events were streamed on Youtube. A lot of data was collected in this time and people need a highlight on how such data is used” Phillip Ayazika the Programs Manager at Pollicy, a civic data organization, noted.
The pandemic heralded a phase we got to identify as the new normal, which was characterized by staying home, curfew, loss of jobs, cybercrime, and growth of new jobs, especially in the creative industry. The need for data collection, utilization, and protection becomes even more pronounced in such a situation and DataFest will provide a much-needed highlight, as Uri Ludger, a communications fellow at Pollicy noted.
“We have arranged practical hands-on sessions around how data fits into even the tiniest aspects of life as we know it today. They will be fun and engaging sessions so that those who will attend will learn through interacting first hand with data” Uri said.
Participants were urged to turn data collection into a culture by the Keynote speaker Milly Nalukwago Isingoma, the Assistant Commissioner of Research at Uganda Revenue Authority. She insisted that data isn’t only about the technical terms it’s associated with but also the simple things like personal expenditure.
“Some of us dream of getting jobs that pay 5 million shillings a month but if you collected your expenditure data and used it to determine how you spend your money, you may realize that you don’t need all that,” she said.
She also explained how data is a core at Uganda Revenue Authority, growing from the manual collection in 1992 when it was established to today where they have digitized platforms that make it easy for the public to reach them.
Neema Iyer, the founder of Pollicy, is keen on amplifying the use of data in the African context, through an ethics-based feminist approach. She envisions a society that can use data in a way that benefits everyone, whether that means building the next big startup or influencing policy.
“DataFest is a celebration of the strides that we have made in using data to improve our life experiences. We want to host an engaging event that can inspire the next generation of data scientists from Uganda and beyond, learning from our previous editions of DataFest. We hope that you will join us.”
The event was organized by Pollicy, in partnership with Digital Human Rights Lab, Defend Defenders, Laboremus, Code for Science and Society, Code for Africa, and British Council.