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Achieving the vision of a data-empowered citizen

Web Foundation · October 24, 2019

This post was written by Glenn Maail, Research Manager at Open Data Lab Jakarta. Follow Glenn on Twitter @glennmaail.

Over the past several years, the Web Foundation’s Open Data Lab Jakarta has been at the forefront of open data innovation in Indonesia.

Our research demonstrates the need to build a vision of data-empowerment that puts citizens at the centre of data initiatives,  giving them meaningful influence on the decisions that affect their daily lives. This vision strives to reduce data inequality — a trend likely to persist in the coming years, given the current structure of data ownership, production, and use, if significant action is not taken.

This year, together with our partners Konsil LSM, who are supported by a grant from the Ford Foundation, we are launching a new project that aims to promote a shift towards data empowerment.

The primary desired outcome of the project — entitled “Towards Digital Equality: Empowering Citizens and Building Movements for Better Financial Transparency and Gender-Inclusive Development in Indonesia” — is to enable citizens, with a particular focus on women and marginalised groups, to become data-empowered.

The project will empower citizens to identify, create, and implement effective solutions to achieve the kind of development they collectively envision. 

The project will feature four main activities over a 1-year period — research, capacity-building, systems mapping, and coalition-building. As we shift towards data empowerment, these activities will be designed with  a systems approach — going beyond a focus on individual empowerment or the empowerment of a few selected civil society organizations. 

Using this approach, we will map data, actors, and initiatives in both gender and financial transparency; explore the barriers and bottlenecks of open data innovation at the micro and macro-levels; build a coalition of change agents from civil society, government, and the business sector; and develop interventions at the most promising opportunities that have the potential to change the system in the most effective and efficient way. We view data empowerment as one critical part of our overall work on promoting digital equality, and this project is another step in that direction.  

For more information about this project, follow the Lab at @ODLabJkt and visit

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