MARCH 15, 2021

Why is Millennium Foundation Kosovo running the Dig Data: Energy Challenge?

The Millennium Foundation Kosovo is supporting the Government of Kosovo to implement policy and institutional reforms in two areas critical to economic growth and poverty reduction: reliable electricity; and transparent and accountable governance. To address concerns regarding energy use, we seek to strengthen feedback loops between government, the energy sector, and civil society by addressing citizen’s concerns about energy use, consumption, revenue, collections, and investments and the sector’s response to those needs through open data.

The Dig Data Challenge seeks to create productive partnerships between government, the energy sector, civil society (NGOs, the media, think tanks), and the private sector and to support innovation in data use and analysis. The activity is designed to help the energy sector identify problems they seek support in solving, encourage collaborations between government, civil society, and the private sector to foster solutions-oriented partnerships, and to create informed dialogue in Kosovo around energy that is based on data.


What kind of tools and approaches are we looking for?

We are looking for tools and approaches that:

  1. Furnish reliable information
  2. Derived from open data, that
  3. Empower the energy sector, policymakers, the private sector, educators, and citizens to make data-informed decisions and to take constructive personal and civic action related to energy data in Kosovo,  
  4. Improves understanding of the challenges faced by Kosovo citizens, the energy sector, and/or the government regarding energy use, costs, and revenues and proposes actionable solutions to strengthen data-informed decision making with regard to Kosovo’s energy use.

These tools and approaches might include but are not limited to curricula, mobile applications, communication campaigns, technical assistance, training programs, data visualization, digitally-enabled trusted personal networks, policies, enforcement, and incentive schemes, pilot or national projects, hardware or software solutions, computing platforms, digital communications, social networking and audio-visual material, etc.

These tools and approaches must be data-driven, applicable to Kosovo, and deliberately inclusive to women and other underserved communities.


Is it better for my solution to try to address all the questions, themes or data sets in the challenge or to just pick one or a few?

We recommend that you pick only one or a few themes to address in your solution.  We would rather you present a clear analysis and focused approach by addressing only one or a few challenge areas than try to tackle all the potential areas.  We have found that proposals that try to address all the themes are often too general and unfocused to be successful.


Who can enter the challenge?

The challenge is open to individuals, groups, and organizations. We encourage ideas from Kosovo citizens, including informal groups and networks, community groups, businesses and existing service providers. Government and political parties are not eligible. Religious groups may submit a solution, but it may not have an exclusively religious purpose. Individuals and organizations from outside Kosovo are eligible to apply, but must have a Kosovan partner.


Can I apply if I am not from Kosovo?

Yes, but you must have a Kosovan partner.


Can I submit more than one solution?

Yes, but we encourage you to submit your best solutions.


What language should my application be in?

All applications should be in English.


What data should be used?

All applicants should propose creative solutions based on the open data from the Energy Regulatory Office (ERO) or Kosovo Energy Efficiency Agency (KEEA). They are also welcome to use other credible, vetted open data from national and international institutions, to inform Kosovo citizens about energy use, consumption, rates, revenue collection, complaints, sources, losses, generation, etc. Data from private sources (such as household meters) is acceptable, but must be used in concert with ERO and KEEA open data.  MFK has developed a Data Guide with various datasets to guide applicants in constructing their solutions.


I have developed a product/service. Can I use that as an entry for this challenge?

Yes, a pre-developed product/service can be used as an entry for this challenge as long as it meets the criteria. Prior to submission, we encourage you to ask yourself:

“Why isn’t my product/service in greater use? What steps can I take to make it more data-driven? More appealing and accessible to my customers? More inclusive of women and underserved populations? More cost-effective?”

We encourage you to make those adjustments or propose making those adjustments to modify your submission so that it is unique to this Challenge.


Who owns the intellectual property of the submitted ideas?

Intellectual property submitted must solely belong to the Applicant and will remain property of the Applicant. Such Intellectual Property must be clearly marked as proprietary. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that they are not infringing on the Intellectual Property of others. 

The Grantor cedes a royalty-free, non-exclusive, irrevocable, paid-up license to produce, reproduce, publish, or otherwise use any and all Funded Intellectual Property for its individual purposes. The Grantor and the grantee are allowed to delegate rights for reproduction of the Grantee’s intellectual property to a third party as per agreement reached following the comprehensive consultation between the Grantor and the Grantee.


Can I remove my application once I have submitted?

Yes, please be in touch with our Dig Data Challenge staff millenniumkosovo.org/digdata and they will pull your solution from the challenge.


Can I get advice on how to enter the challenge?

MFK will provide advice and respond to questions during the “Interested Applicant Data Workshop”. Questions can be sent to millenniumkosovo.org/digdata at any time and questions and answers will be posted on the MFK website on a rolling basis within 5 business days. All advice shared will be made public to ensure all competitors have the same information and opportunities.


What do I do after submitting the idea/proposal?

We will send an email confirming receipt of your submission. We aim to announce our decisions in May 2021.


Would a solution be considered if it doesn’t meet Kosovo’s local context?

No, all submissions must reflect the demands and needs of Kosovo’s citizens and be implementable in a Kosovan context.


Who will be using the tools and approach developed?

That is a question we encourage you to ask yourself. Who is your customer? What are their interests:

  • Government officials and policy-makers struggling to make better, more data-driven decisions, in order to improve Kosovo’s energy security, adhere to renewables commitments, or enforce regulations?
  • Economists attempting to analyze the economic cost vs. benefit of interventions that would improve energy efficiency and propose solutions to encourage citizens and policymakers to pursue high-value changes. 
  • Kosovan citizens who are concerned about their energy bills and would like to make data-informed decisions with regard to changing their behaviors vis-a-vis reducing use, shifting use to different times, retrofitting their homes or businesses, or purchasing energy efficient appliances?
  • Are there Kosovan citizens and utility operators who would like to improve enforcement against energy theft?
  • Are there Kosovan citizens who would benefit from more clarity around rate-setting and changes to revenue collection?
  • Are there persistent energy complaints?  Are some communities disproportionately filing complaints?  Do rejected complaints correspond with someone’s minority status?
  • Are there persistent energy shortages and rolling black outs in particular communities?  How do they affect quality of life?  Are minority communities disproportionately affected by energy shortages?
  • Does high and inefficient energy use contribute to pollution?  How might that pollution reduce life expectancy in Kosovo? 
  • What constructive steps can an individual, business, organization, or coalition take to reduce their energy consumption?  What politicians, offices, or organizations should they engage to improve Kosovo’s adherence to its renewable energy commitments or prosecuting energy theft?

Once you have answered that question for yourself, we encourage you to refine your solution with that customer in mind.


What is the Dig Data Applicant Workshop?

The Energy Data Applicant Workshop is an opportunity to:

  • Familiarize yourself with some of the existing energy open data.
  • Learn about the value and aims of open data.
  • Learn how to interpret open data and the methodological differences in different energy datasets.
  • Explore the relationship between energy generation, consumption, and pollution in different geographies and sectors. 
  • Get to know the opportunities and constraints faced by policymakers, ERO and KEEA staff to advocate for change.
  • Meet the Challenge sponsors and Champions.
  • Ask and get questions answered about the challenge process, criteria, and goals.
  • Meet and potentially partner with other competitors.

While attending the Dig Data Applicant Workshop is not mandatory, we believe it will be useful in developing a more competitive solution. We will also record the workshop and post it on our website for competitors to reference.


What if my submission doesn’t qualify?

The fact that you have been inspired to submit an application is a great start. If you believe in your concept and demonstrate that, someone will believe in you.


What do I do with the award if I win?

After you win, our grants manager will work with you to structure a grant agreement with tasks, milestones and a budget that makes clear the amount of grant funds that will be disbursed upon completion of each milestone. After you submit documentation of completing an agreed upon milestone, you will receive grant funds per the terms of the grant agreement you sign with MFK. You’ll also meet your Champion – a partner at ERO, KEEA, or a government office who will work with you to ensure that your solution has a willing and receptive customer in the sector.

Together, you’ll mutually hone your solution so that the energy sector is in a position to make data-informed decisions and Kosovo’s citizens are best positioned to benefit from them.

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