Code for Nepal is a US registered non-profit organization, founded by Ravi Kumar Nepal and Mia. The organization basically is an initiative to connect technology and underprivileged people. The team believes that the good things are worthless if not delivered to the right audience.
Technology, especially the internet has helped the whole world to grow and enhance in every way possible. The internet is the best medium to learn, explore and innovate. Realizing the fact, Ravi and Mia visited Nepal on January 2014, to study the landscape of the internet and open data. On discussion with different intellectual groups such as students, journalist, tech companies, and talking in public, they realized that people in rural areas, minorities, and women have minimum access to internet and data. They figured out the gap in access to digital world in urban and rural areas, and also felt the gap growing. Thus, they decided to launch Code for Nepal, to act as a bridge between gap formed between the rural areas and urban areas.
The organization has five main objectives:
- Increasing digital literacy
- Building apps to improve lives
- Increasing access to open data
- Service delivery to earthquake survivors
- Right to information
Increasing Digital Literacy
Code for Nepal believes in increasing digital literacy in women will help the community to grow better in respect to today’s world. On an annual basis, the organization partners with local organizations to conduct digital training workshops in Nepal. As of October 2015, digital training workshops have been conducted in Kathmandu, Dang, Birgunj, and few other places in Nepal. Code for Nepal is currently in the process of launching a digital fellowship in collaboration with a local partner in Nepal.
Building Apps to Improve Services
In August-September 2015, Code for Nepal conducted a pilot survey project in Nepal to gather data on earthquake survivors’ receipt of relief in the initial weeks and months following the April and May 2015 earthquakes. They designed the pilot survey to capture how the involved stakeholders provided immediate relief and to identify any unmet needs among survivors.
Increasing Access to Open Data
Recognizing, the importance of open data, since its establishments the organization has been proactively providing data on its website related to various sectors like education, women empowerment and so on. Code for Nepal has been successfully able to synthesize the open data and reach the masses with important and critical information worldwide.
Code for Nepal conducted a pilot research and data collection project in the first half of 2015 to assess the presence of women in Nepal’s online media.
Service Delivery to Earthquake Survivors
When a massive earthquake hit Nepal on April 25, Code for Nepal immediately mobilized an initial digital response to help volunteers and survivors to connect. The organization leveraged the volunteers living abroad to help in translating important documents, mapping and several other help via the web. They created a low-tech solution to connect volunteers and people affected, and vice-versa.
Core members of Code for Nepal worked on compiling data from the Nepal government website and also from Nepal Disaster Risk Reduction Portal. Within several days after the disaster, an interactive map of reported death toll, the number of injured and damaged houses was published in the website of the organization.
Right to Information
Code for Nepal has also launched Asknepal.info to increase the access of information to the general public. Every citizen has the right to information held by public authorities and by law the concerned authorities need to respond. By tapping into this idea, Code for Nepal has provided an open web platform which is accessible to all via the internet. Guidelines and tips are provided on the website of Asknepal.com where questions can be drafted and sent to the concerned Ministry or public authority in Nepal.
The organization firmly believes that open data can help to bring positive change in society, Ravi Kumar Nepal the Cofounder of the organization believes that, when data is available for public to use and understand, they can make better decisions about their lives, community and help their governments to be accountable.
Recently, the organization has announced a photo/video competition named “KO NEPALI?”. When asked about the reason behind organizing the competition, Ravi replied “We organized the photo and video competition to do two things: Recognize digital literacy skills and increase awareness of the importance of digital skills in the 21st century Facilitate conversation about who is a Nepali and what it means to be a Nepali, while strengthening a culture of creativity and civic debate online.”