Visualizing Open Data at TechCamp Kosovo

Keshif is an exploratory data analytics platform that works to visualize data for governments. During TechCamp Kosovo, Behar Xharra, the chief operating officer of Keshif, led sessions as an expert and worked closely with participants to develop their skills in effectively collecting, transforming and analyzing data to produce public, open data dashboards for advocacy and campaigning to increase transparency and highlight actionable insights.

Keshif assisted eight organizations to produce open data application projects that started at TechCamp Kosovo and continued to work with the organizations and participants to build out their solutions after the workshop wrapped up, through trainings, webinars and one-on-one mentorship sessions. Participants produced projects that ranged from analyzing property taxes versus capital investments, to transparency and accountability in public procurement, to male-to-female ratio of voter turnout and voting analysis.  

One TechCamp participant organization, POLIS, was able to visualize expenses for 6.7 million Euros worth of payments in a local Kosovo municipality over a period of one year, which helped advance civic oversight of budgeting in that city. Another team created the Fix My Community project by Democracy Plus, which is a platform that allows residents to report a community issue such as broken streetlights or damaged street signs to their local government digitally. This platform also provides information about how the issues have been addressed by the local governments as well as response time.

“It’s important to build programs based on the needs of the participants, understand participants’ challenges and keep an open mind,” Xharra explained when asked about advice for future TechCamp trainer and organizers. Participants should be “open to a data-driven approach and not be not worry about  a lack of knowledge about analyzing data.”

Keshif helped participants cover any gaps by modifying its training to various skill levels and formatting the solutions through locally adaptable data visualization and analytics technology based on individual needs. The participants’ results and Keshif’s approach are just one of the possible solutions that one might encounter at TechCamp.