This July, a group of about 10 women students of technology gathered together to participate in a week-long boot camp organized by Women Leaders in Technology (wlitorg_new). The boot camp was aimed at empowering young women to pursue myriad opportunities and make a significant mark in the field of technology.

We had an amazing week where we organized various sessions to develop the participants’ technical skills in computing, programming, app development etc. In addition, there were non-technical sessions where speakers from different fields were invited to help participants understand about different aspects of professional development. One such session was with the Open Nepal Initiative that provided an opportunity to learn about new and emerging concepts related to the application of technology in the development sector. The session highlighted the concept of ‘Open Data’ and talked about how technology can be harnessed to make data more available and accessible. We were able to understand that easily accessible data means people can use them as a tool to ensure the effectiveness of all the development efforts that are undertaken by the government, international organizations, NGOs, civil society organizations and the private sector every year in our country. It was interesting to learn about various examples such as DevelopmentCheck where the technology is leveraged in opening up real-time data to monitor the progress of development projects and ensure that outcomes benefit the local people in developing countries, including Nepal.

The home-grown initiative- Kathmandu Ward #7 Transparency and Participation Forum also caught everyone’s attention. It was insightful to learn how this tool powered by technology is enabling local level data and information to be accessible in open format allowing people to better understand the needs of their community, become aware of the public services available to them and know more about the allocation of budgets. This forum will equip people with the information needed for them to engage with their local authority and participate in local development.

The session on ‘Open Data and Use of Technology in Development’ has been immensely useful in understanding the dynamics of use of technology in various different fields, especially in the development sphere. By presenting examples of how technology is being used to make development transparent and hold development actors to account, this session has triggered a new enthusiasm in us to work in improving the usage of technology to solve development problems.