Our Brief History

Unequal Access, Information Scarcity: The Birth of EDAV (Orodata Science)

In 2014, amidst a climate of information scarcity and a surge in mobile phone use and internet activity, we launched EDAV (Election Data Analytics and Visualization) – a response to the urgent need for citizens to understand and leverage election data. EDAV functioned as a “visual listening tool,” empowering Nigerians to cut through the noise of rumours and propaganda. 

Our core question: how could visualized data empower citizens and stakeholders in the electoral process? EDAV aimed to democratize access to information, by simplifying it, ensuring transparency and informed decision-making. This innovative approach reached a staggering 922,000 Nigerians, establishing us as pioneers in data-driven (infographics) voter education and citizen engagement.

At the time we went by the name ‘EDAV’. 

Beyond Elections: Data as a Weapon Against Injustice

Our mission extended far beyond elections. We recognized the potential of data to expose systemic issues and fight corruption. In 2016, we partnered with NGOs to launch IDPsTracker, a project that spotlighted child trafficking within IDP camps and the diversion of humanitarian aid.

We delved even deeper, leveraging historical data (1979-2016) to expose the root causes of the ongoing conflict between cattle herders and farmers. This project shed light on the government’s failure to secure lives and property, despite significant yearly budgetary allocations for security.

Data for public good and the future

Bridging the Gap: Data for Public Good

While holding the government accountable through advocacy for easy access to public data, we also fostered collaboration. We partnered with the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) and the European Union to equip government communication officers with the skills to effectively disseminate information and policies.

Recognizing the media’s role in advocacy, we began providing data, technological tools and capacity development to independent newsrooms starting in 2017. This initiative aimed to strengthen evidence-based reporting and access to rich and accurate data.

Furthermore, in 2018, we explored the potential of AI for news generation, achieving a significant milestone: pioneering the use of AI-powered news stories in the public domain in Nigeria.

We also explored the potential and pitfalls of AI-generated news stories. We were the first to document the use of AI for news creation, raising questions about algorithmic bias and the need for human oversight.

The Future: A Data-Driven Democracy

Our journey continues. In 2019, we built upon our experience to develop Generative AI software, capable of transforming vast historical election datasets into clear narratives for informed citizen decision-making. During Nigeria’s 2020 general elections, we deployed an AI tool Called Vote:ron to enable the public prompt access to historical election data fostering informed actions. Citizens were able to prompt the AI through voice or text to retrieve snippets of narrated data based on their query.

We continue to envision a future where real-time data empowers users, fosters public trust, and strengthens public institutions through data-driven policy.

The year 2020 brought a global health crisis. We pivoted our focus to supporting primary healthcare initiatives, partnering with other Global organizations to support community media to deliver critical resources across Africa.

In 2023, during the General elections, we enabled millions to easily access information about every candidate at all levels and all states, personalized by location data.

Our story is one of continuous innovation, leveraging data to fight inequality, expose injustice, and empower citizens. We are committed to improving lives and building a stronger, healthier Nigeria, one data point at a time.