All You Need Is Data: about DataFest Tbilisi

The first edition of DataFest Tbilisi was held on November 15-17, 2017 in Tbilisi.

The event gathered 371 people from 29 countries. Many participants came from outside of the CEE/SEE region, including places like Myanmar, Azerbaijan (and other Central Asian states) or Israel.

The conference, organized by the Georgian organization ForSet with the support of TransparenCEE network, gathered representatives of various professions. Not only journalists, data experts or civil society activists (who are usually present at the events similar to this one), but also entrepreneurs, engineers or security experts. The aim of the conference was to inspire networking, collaboration, and knowledge sharing.

18 speakers gave talks on the first day of DataFest Tbilisi and during the next two days 13 speakers (together with another 23 workshop leaders) also led hands-on workshops which were open to all participants.

The workshops included those led by TCEE Working Groups’ members. The one which gathered the biggest audience was led by Elena Calistru from Funky Citizens (Romania). During the session called “(re)Using datasets for more effective fact-checking” Elena explained the methodology behind the successful fact-checking tool developed by Funky Citizens’ team. She shared some of the strategies which enable activists in the organization to do a regular fact-checking of the topics of general interest on a very limited budget. One of those strategies involves monitoring the content of politicians’ public social media profiles and checking their statements before big media outlets report them on their platforms. – “Sometimes it takes 3 seconds for a politician to state something” – Elena said – “but 36 hours for our team to fact-check it and determine whether it’s a lie or not”. The participants of the workshop appreciated Elena’s practical approach and all the useful tips she shared with those who may plan to develop their own fact-checking tools in the future.

Other TCEE workshops were led by: Karolis Granickas from Open Contracting Partnership (Lithuania) and Viktor Nestulia from Transparency International Ukraine; Andrew Jvirblis from Transparency International Russia; Jelena Vasic from KRIK (Serbia) – who also gave a speech on the first day of the event – and by Attila Juhász from K-Monitor (Hungary).
On the third day of DataFest Tbilisi TRCEE Working Groups’ meetings took place. Members of Working Group on Public Procurement and Corporate Registry updated each other on the ongoing work and future plans. Working Group on Decision-Making Processes and Political Financing mainly focused on evaluating the Assets Declarations Portal and discussing its further development. You can read more about it here.

Although DataFest ended, TransparenCEE network is not losing touch with ForSet community and is looking forward to taking part in this inspiring event in 2018. Let’s meet in Tbilisi again!