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Zara Rahman has worked in the field of information accessibility and data use among civil society from a number of different angles. She currently coordinates and carries out research at the engine room, a non-profit organisation supporting and investigating the effective use of technology in advocacy. Zara is fascinated by the relationship between technology and power structures, and runs a regular podcast, Collusion on this topic, and enjoys writing on similar topics.
Previously, she worked with School of Data, an initiative from Open Knowledge, working to empower civil society and journalists from across the world with the data literacy skills they need to carry out their work more effectively, and before this, she was the first employee at OpenOil, looking into open data and publicly available information in the extractive industries. She recently co-authored a book on responsible use of data in the international development sector, called Shooting your hard drive into space, and other ways to practise responsible development data. . She has worked in over 20 countries, and enjoys observing varying cultural responses to different technologies. Zara holds British and Bangladeshi nationalities, and speaks fluent French, Spanish and German, and bits of Arabic.
In the past, marginalised communities have often been left uncounted when it comes to institutional datasets. Some argue that the right to be counted is a crucial step to addressing the needs of marginalised communities; but for others, the exact opposite is true. Anonymity and not being reflected in data is exactly what some communities want, and need. In this talk, I'll discuss both sides of the argument, with concrete examples of how the different strategies have been used in various situations.
At OpenOil, we brought together a group of experts from different sectors to collaboratively write a book on understanding oil contracts from start to finish in just 5 days, through a process known as a booksprint. Here, I share lessons learned, and explain why understanding oil contracts is so important to ensuring better governance of the extractive industries.
On open data, the Open Knowledge Foundation and upcoming events