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Botswana

August 2021

Overview

The CODATA Botswana National Committee was established in 2018 as one of the outcomes of the highly successful 2018 International Data Week conference in Gaborone, Botswana.

 

Contact details

For more information about the CODATA Botswana National committee, please contact one of the following:

Prof Julius Atlhopeng: atlhophe AT ub.ac.bw

Dr Audrey Masizana: masizan AT ub.ac.bw

Dr Tshiamo Motshegwa: motshegwat AT ub.ac.bw

Mrs Mologanyi: mologanyi AT ub.ac.bw

 

Current and recent activities (2020 – 2021)

1. Proposal to Government of ODOS

Currently, the National Committee is focusing on a National Open Data Forum to pursue Open Data Open Science (ODOS) national initiative activities. The National Open Data Forum Steering Committee has been set up to oversee the planning for the National Open Data Forum. The Forum brings together all stakeholders to interrogate data issues in Botswana and to establish policy and an implementation plan that can ensure the future sustenance of data management in Botswana. The objectives of the Steering Committee are to:

1. Develop an advocacy plan to engage stakeholders;

2. Produce a situational analysis for ODOS in Botswana;

3. Conduct a benchmarking exercise for ODOS;

4. Develop an implementation strategy.

The full Task Plan can be found here.

The Steering Committee membership can be found here.

The ODOS Committee has motivated and submitted ODOS plan to Government. The plan is to complete the draft strategy on open data open science which will aid the regulatory framework for implementing the ‘open’ science/data initiatives, and benchmark them to the best global practices. The draft is currently under the Ministry of Transport and Communications.

2. National involvement of Committee members
  • National Digital Innovation Implementation Team – Prof Atlhopheng

This is under the Smart Botswana initiative, and drives the workpackage on knowledge-based economy with knowledge based education outcomes. Thus competent workforce for a knowledge economy, curriculum reviews to align with the digital, research coordination and agenda and tools for education in the digital era, as well as science and innovation excellence approaches are key, as linked to the Botswana Research and Education Network (BotsREN).

  • Botswana Research and Education Network (BotsREN) – Dr Tshiamo Motshegwa

Dr Tshiamo Motshegwa is representing ODOS as the chair of the Botswana Research and Education Network (BotsREN)

  • National Cyber Security Strategy Implementation – Dr Audrey Masizana

Botswana through the Ministry of Transport and Communication is launching an Implementation of the National Cyber Security Strategy.  Dr Masizana representing ODOS Committee is the key member of the strategy development and implementation plans which have commenced in 2021.

3. Presentations by Committee members

Prof Atlhopheng: National STEM festival 2020 – speaker: on whether STEM provides relevance to emerging challenges; UN High Level Political Forum on SDGs (country delegate – 2020, 2021); World Science Day to Combat Desertification (2021) national observation hosted by the minister; International Day for Science and Peace (UNESCO) – chaired national committee in 2020, speaker in 2021; country presenter for the UNFPA and African Union initiative  – education and skills development in enhancing the demographic dividend (June 2021); Presented on – progress on SDG9 in Botswana, hosted by Rwanda (July 2021).

4. Other Representations of ODOS

Dr A Masizana and Dr Joseph Mwela: ODOS membership made linkages and contribution to the African Open Science Platform: https://www.nrf.ac.za/sites/default/files/documents/AOSP%20Strategy%20Final%20HR.pdf

 

Previous activities (pre-2020)

1. VizAfrica Conference, 2019

The University of Botswana, through the Department of Computer Science, hosted the 2nd Data Visualization Conference. VizAfrica 2019, which attracted around 189 participants.  The 2nd VizAfrica 2019 Data Visualization Symposium took place in the period 18th -19th November 2019 at the University of Botswana Conference Centre, Gaborone, Botswana. The symposium also included a one week Summer School training event on data science and data visualization. https://codata.org/events/conferences/vizafrica-botswana-2019/

The conference aimed at reaching out to and interacting with the international community, the general public, entrepreneurs, scientists and policy makers on advances in technological innovations for social economic development and industrialization. Participants were drawn from government ministries, universities, research organizations, corporate, small and medium scale industries (SMEs), policy makers in key sectors of the economy and from international organizations. The theme of the symposium was “Application of Data, Information and Scientific Visualization for Resource Management and Sustainability.” Around 40 successful presentations were accepted and delivered after a rigorous review process and administered over 10 sessions under the following sessions

  1. Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation
  2. Computer Graphics, Media and Animation
  3. Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Security
  4. Data Analytics, Visualization and IoTs

The main outcome of the conference was the establishment of the Viz Africa Network.

2. ODOS workshops

The Open Data Open Science (ODOS) Committee hosted an Open Data Open Science Workshop Feedback Session at the University of Botswana Conference Centre on 22nd March 2018.  Click here to read more.

3. International Data Week (IDW) 2018

The second edition of International Data Week (IDW 2018) was held on 5-8 November 2018 in Gaborone, Botswana and brought together data professionals and researchers from all disciplines and from all parts of the globe. Co-organized by the University of Botswana on behalf of the Botswana Open Data Open Science Forum, ICSU (now ISC) Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA), the ICSU (now ISC) World Data System (WDS), the Research Data Alliance (RDA) and the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAF), this landmark event addressed the theme of ‘The Digital Frontiers of Global Science’, with the following themes encompassed within the conference’s scope:

  • frontier issues for research in a global and digital age;
  • applications, progress and challenges of data intensive research;
  • data infrastructure and enabling practices for international and collaborative research.

IDW 2018 combined the 12th RDA Plenary Meeting, the biannual meeting of this international member organisation working to develop and support global infrastructure facilitating data sharing and re-use; and SciDataCon 2018, the scientific conference addressing the frontiers of data in research. International Data Week brought together over 850 data professionals and researchers from all disciplines from across the globe (over 50% from Africa) – 66 countries to be precise, an amazing success – to discuss and find solutions for the many data challenges that we are currently facing.

As a result of the conference and huge local and international attendance, the Government of Botswana will be presented with an overview of how to build on the foundations laid at IDW2018, how to strengthen the existing Open Data Open Science Forum, and to extend its interaction with the RDA, the African Open Science Platform (AOSP) and CODATA.

Click here for a University of Botswana article on IDW 2018: https://www.ub.bw/news/ub-hosts-2018-international-data-week. 

4. VC breakfast meeting, 1 Aug 2017

In order to motivate the ODOS initiative, one of the first activities hosted by the ODOS Committee was a breakfast meeting with the country’s Vice Chancellor of local tertiary institutions which was held on the 1st August 2017.  The purpose was to raise awareness amongst tertiary institutions on the situation of data locally. This was an opportunity for collegial discussion on collaborating in the push to develop a national policy on ODOS. The discussions were primarily to deliberate on institutional roles and ownership for a national ODOS platform. The meeting was also attended by the Department of Research Science and Technology on behalf of the Ministry of Tertiary Education Research Science and Technology (MTERST). They formally endorsed the committee and assigned it to be all inclusive and become a national committee on ODOS working under the extended mandate is to be responsible for the formulation of ODOS policy.