On July 3rd, an event titled “Master Class: Electoral Integrity and Improvement through Data and Evidence-based Processes” was held. This event served as a platform for data analysts participating in the Open Data Fellowship Network’s Youth Capacity Building Program to present to their younger colleagues and those interested in issues related to electoral integrity. The presentations encompassed reports and analyses on this subject.

The participants in the event included representatives from relevant institutions and organizations such as OSCE, USAID, the Council of Europe, the Embassy of the United Kingdom, Westminster Foundation for Democracy Tirana WFD, Institute for Political Studies, RYCO Regional Program, SCiDEV, Union of Journalists, and local organizations.

Ilir Brasha presented an article on Electoral Projection of Mandate Allocation and the potential risk of underrepresentation through voting. The article, published in June on the Open Data Albania website (Projection of Mandate distribution for MPs in the 2025 elections based on data results for Subjects of the May 14 Electoral Process – Open Data Albania (ndiqparate.al)), and garnered a substantial number of views. Following the presentation, further questions and debates ensued, addressing the reasons and criteria that can directly correlate the number of votes for specific political entities with the number of representatives.

Pajtim Nikolli presented findings on the Economic Power of 27 Media Owners in the country. The analysis involved identifying the number of businesses owned by each individual, the sectors in which they operate, their involvement as public contractors in public procurement, the benefits derived from their strategic investor status, participation in the “Albania 1 Euro” Program, and concession contracts and agreements with the Albanian state. This analysis shed light on the economic interests and influences of each owner. Media owners play a significant role in electoral matters, as their positions and interconnections within the business realm can potentially sway electoral opinions and sympathies.

Data on Media Owners are published in the Open Corporates Albania Shoqëri Biznesi (opencorporates.al), with the report set to be released on the Open Data Albania website soon.

Another important aspect that was presented and discussed during the event was the necessity of utilizing Information and Communication Technology in Electoral Processes. AIS, represented by its founder Besjana Hysa, showcased the Za’Lart Posts application Posts – Za’Lart 2017 – Za’Lart 2017 (ushahidi.io), which can be employed during elections to map irregularities and vote-buying. This application enables individuals to report electoral issues in real-time, providing visual evidence through photos and videos.

This event is part of a series of activities aimed at enhancing the capabilities of young people through the Open Data Fellowship Youth Network. The network was established as a component of the Open Data, Access, and Transparency over Sectors exposed to the Risk of Corruption project Open Data, Access and Transparency over sectors exposed to Risks of Corruption – Albanian Institute of Science (ais.al), supported by the Albanian Institute of Science (ais.al) through Sida and the Swedish Embassy in Tirana (2021-2024).

The AIS organization has been actively working with young people since December 2021, with the objective of strengthening their ability to combat corruption through civic education and improved fact-checking models. Throughout this period, the organization has organized numerous events Search Results for “youth” – Albanian Institute of Science (ais.al), including training sessions, debate forums, DataThons, individual sessions, and master classes for young individuals. These initiatives aim to help participants develop skills in public speaking, engage in evidence-based debates, and apply the principles of open data. The program is built upon a comprehensive training curriculum, with support from analysts at Open Data Albania, and offers an internship opportunity within the organization.