What is the Ministry of Data Challenge?

Ministry of Data is an open data challenge aiming to bring innovative mobile and web tools for improved institutional accountability and stronger civic engagement. In 2016 and early 2017, Ministry of Data challenge took place in Western Balkans. You can see the results from the latest Balkan edition here.

This year, Ministry of Data Challenge goes to Black Sea region inviting creative minds from Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine to tackle one of the challenges listed below. You should develop an open data based scalable MIT licensed tool, which will be hosted in a publicly available repository improving the lives of local communities and increasing their engagement.

You will need to use the datasets provided on our website. However, you are encouraged to link them to additional sources of data that you find.

The 3 winning teams will get cash prizes up to $2,500 each, intense mentorship and networking opportunities to bring their prototypes to life.

Here are the challenges in 3 tracks for #MinistryOfData #BlackSea region edition:

Track 1: People on the move

Do you have ideas on how people on the move can help improve and develop communities? Do you want to work on innovative solutions for ecotourism, migration or making travel easier for persons with disabilities? By using datasets on tourism - or finding other data on human mobility - you can create apps, visualizations/analytics or other e-solutions for improving mobility and harnessing its benefits. If your idea gets selected, your team will win mentorship, travel to DataFest 2017 in Tbilisi, Georgia, and have a chance to win $2,500 among other prizes.


Track 2: Have your say - know the budget!

Do you know how the state budget is planned and spent in your country? Can you think of ways to get more people interested and engaged? Will you manage to turn soulless data portals and spreadsheets into engaging visualizations/analytics, mobile apps or other attention-catching e-solutions? Shortlisted teams will get mentorship, travel to Georgia to attend DataFest Tbilisi 2017 and have a chance to win $2,500 among other prizes.


Track 3: Mind the Gap - Gender your Data!

Do you have an idea what other data is missing, specifically on women and girls? Can you think of innovative ways to generate or obtain data, for example, on the participation of women and girls in politics and economy, and their safety and security? What e-solution can you think of that will add value to public discourse on gender issues? It's challenging, but well worth it, as winning teams will receive mentorship, travel to DataFest Tbilisi 2017, and a $2,500 cash prize among other awards!


Are you eligible to apply?

You can apply for the challenge if you:

  • are above 18 years old
  • come from Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova or Ukraine
  • form a team of at least 3 and maximum 6 people
  • have background in programming, design, communications and/or good governance

Selection and Hackathon

The top 3 teams from each country (Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine) will be selected and mentored. 2 representatives from each team will be invited to a hackathon, which will take place during DataFest Tbilisi in Georgia, from 15-17 November 2017. Under the supervision of field experts, the teams will finalize their ideas and present their products to the jury and hundreds of attendees, including potential investors and donors. Winners will be awarded with cash prizes and a one month incubation mentoring program.

What are the criteria to win?

Project ideas will be scored by an international jury based on the following criteria:

  • Potential for social change: How does this solution empower citizens to contribute positively to society?
  • Usability: Is it user-friendly? Will it be easy to understand and use for people who are not very techy? Could you also engage people who are not online?
  • Applicability: Does it solve an existing problem? How can the results be measured?
  • Appeal: What will motivate people to use your solution?
  • Sustainability: Is your idea relevant in the longer-term? Can this idea be scaled-up?

Additional points will be awarded to projects that use additional datasets and that are regional (i.e. combine data from several countries) in nature.

What can you win?

Cash prizes for winning teams amount to a total of $7,500. Shortlisted teams get fully-funded travels to DataFest Tbilisi for 2 team members, where you will network with hundreds of other data-lovers and have an opportunity to pitch your idea to investors and donors. Throughout the project, you’ll receive expert advice, mentoring, professional contacts, and networking opportunities. And, in the end, it will be lots of fun! So, what are you waiting for?


The datasets provided in the challenge have been kindly offered by our partners in the region. However, you are encouraged to find additional datasets, combine them with the existing ones and base your e-solutions on linked datasets. Remember, you will get additional points for extra effort!



  Track 1: People on the move                      Track 2: Have your say - know the budget!

Data about inbound and outbound tourism - monthly since 2005 by regions, countries, borders and border types.


State budget spending data planned and actual, monthly, quarterly and yearly since 2012, broken down by priorities, spending agencies and programs.



Data about inbound and outbound tourism, yearly, quarterly, since 2009, also by countries, purpose and accommodation type


State budget spending data by spending agencies, yearly, since 2009



The trimestrial reports on the number of incoming tourists and countries of origin, reports from the activity of tour operator companies about the attendance of tourism facilities in the country and the number of outcoming tourists and their destination according to tourism agencies.

There is no monthly data, because in Moldova they report tourism data only by trimesters.


The structure of the budget and the budget spendings classified functionally and economically from 2000 till 2015. The



Aggregated information about tourists (internal, external), places for stay in Ukraine, statistic information about tourism, services


Up- to-date information about transactions of budget money on national and local level by owners of budget money (state and communal enterprises, governmental institutions etc).



Tourism dataset presented by two reports in pdf file with annual statistic report from BelStat portal in periods 2005-2011 and 2011 - 2016.


The statistical book is prepared on the basis of the data of the National Statistical Committee of the Republic of Belarus, the State Border Committee of the Republic of

Belarus, and the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus.


Datasets of the local, national and consolidated State budget for the period from 2009 -2016 period provided by kosht Urada https://коштурада.бел/en/ for the challenge. Not for distribution and publications without official agreement owner



  • Andriy Gazin

    Data Journalist

  • Anton Kamaryan

    Full Stack Web Developer at ForSet

  • Eric Nicholas Barrett

    Data Consultant

  • Jakub Gornicki

    Journalist and Social Entrepreneur Reporter, Outriders

  • Jason Addie

    Data Wrangler

  • Mariam Kobuladze

    Freelance DataViz designer, Georgia

  • Nadiia Babynska

    Open data policy expert, Open data lab Ukraine

  • Qristina Parjiani

    Communications Manager, ForSet


  • Eric Nicholas Barrett

    Data Consultant

  • Mariam Kobuladze

    Freelance DataViz designer, Georgia

  • Shelley Inglis

    Governance and Peacebuilding Team Leader, UNDP Istanbul Hub

  • Viktória Mlynárčiková

    Slovak Ministry of Finance secondee to UNDP


Call for application is 21.9.-21.10, Selection of finalists 26.10., Online training by Hekovnik Startup School 28.10-15.11., Bootcamp 18.11., Announcement of the winner 19.11.


The challenge is organized by ForSet and Digital Communication Network and generously supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic.