IWACU Open Data, initiated by the IWACU Press Group, aims to provide open data about Burundi. Launched in 2016, the IWACU Press Group hopes to position this platform as an essential working tool for journalists, researchers and citizens confronted with the problem of access to data in the country.
By Moussa Ngom
From its inception to now, the IWACU team has come a long way. Starting from a simple fortnightly publication, IWACU which means ‘at home’, has grown to become, in a few years, the first major press group in Burundi.
It was around 2001 that two journalists in exile in Belgium, Joseph Ntamahungiro (now deceased) and Antoine Kaburahe decided to launch a newspaper with the objective of talking about problems specific to the Burundian diaspora. After having had great success abroad, the media professionals set up in the country thanks to an easing of tension between the government and the rebels.
Since then, the medium has been weaving its web in the media landscape with online radio, an online TV platform, a publishing house, and one of its latest innovations: the IWACU Open Data platform.
“We wanted to explore, use a practice journalistic almost unknown and almost unused in Burundi. And even in other countries, journalists do not yet know how to use [and] exploit these extraordinary materials: data,” explains Antoine Kaburahe, founder of the press group. “The idea is not just to deliver raw data, but above all to do field research to recontextualise. Behind the statistics, figures and other graphs, there are stories, reports, and interviews to be done. In short, it’s an exciting approach. It must also be said that a good piece of paper, constructed from real data, is almost unassailable!” he says.