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Scaling open data for development in Latin America

Latin America is the most unequal region in the world and faces complex development challenges. Among these is the unprecedented number of corruption scandals in the region, which demonstrates the need to develop new approaches to foster accountability, transparency, and good governance. Moreover, the fact that many people lack access to public services, many of which are inefficient, confirms the pressing need to innovate in the way services are designed and delivered. The rise in urban population in Latin American and Caribbean countries also presents opportunities and challenges to foster more resilient cities. Finally, inclusion and empowerment of women in economic, social, and political realms remains a longstanding challenge for Latin Americans.

Technology, particularly open data solutions, present innovative ways to address these challenges. IDRC’s previous open data activity in the region demonstrates the important role evidence plays in this effort. In light of an increasingly dynamic open data ecosystem across the region, this new phase of research, the Latin America Open Data Initiative, will explore scaling the open data field in an inclusive and sustainable way with a view to reducing corruption, improving health service delivery, increasing resilience of cities, and reducing violence against women. The project, implemented in collaboration with the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States, will provide support to governments in the implementation of a regional agenda aimed at broader adoption of open data principles and stronger implementation of open data policies in Latin American countries.

The initiative will assist at least three countries, as well as design and implement curricula on data analytics and visualization to be used by at least ten universities in the region. It will test appropriate data standards, guidelines, solution-driven applications, and demand-side capacity that contribute to scaling open data solutions. It will support and encourage open data leaders, particularly women, in government, civil society organizations, and the private sector to harness open data initiatives that meet development challenges. The project will also conduct research connecting the open data field with emerging issues and technologies, to contribute to social and economic development. In addition, the project will co-host the next Condatos conference in Costa Rica, thus playing a role in building the capacity of open data leaders in civil society and the public service in Central America.

Project ID
Project Status
End Date
24 months
IDRC Officer
Ben Petrazzini
Total Funding
CA$ 866,600.00
South America
Networked Economies
Networked Economies
Institution Country
Project Leader
Lucia Abelenda
Fundación Avina
Institution Country
United States
Project Leader
María Fernanda Trigo
General Secretariat of the Organization of American States/Secrétariat Général de l'Organisation des États américains/Secretaria General de Organización de los Estados Americanos