This session brings together Latin American and African innovators to discuss the concept of “citizen-generated data” - the independent production of structured information bases as representative of an active front of access to public debate and policy formulation. It addresses direct citizen action in a field all too often negligent, racist, elitist, and sexist approahes. It has been observed that the cross checking of data in official research reports does not take into consideration the increasingly important nuances of our daily struggles for representation and, consequently, for assuring our rights. This, perhaps, has to do with the lack of historical diversity within teams of data analysts, researchers, statisticians, mathematicians, and journalists.
Civil society today brings together technology, knowledge and creativity, but when isolated from the database and information held by public organizations it can only play an underwhelming role far from the innovative potential that it has. The generation of new services and processes, more open and democratic, in close connection with the needs of their interlocutors, could be greatly enhanced by the availability of database and information collection from the government and by the appropriate incentive to the use of that information by civil society organizations.
If what we understand as citizenship is worn-out and in crisis, then it is time to discover new spaces for guaranteeing common experiences of action and social transformation. In southern populations, we have found this possible by developing innovative data work. Innovative, perhaps, because it is a right that has been historically denied to society’s least privileged. This time has passed. We demand our protagonism.