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Open Data Watch is a non-profit, non-governmental organization founded by three development data specialists. It monitors progress and provides information and assistance to guide implementation of open data systems. The Open Data Watch team has unparalleled experience in development data management and statistical capacity building in developing countries and is committed to making open data a reality in all countries and development agencies.

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The Founders of Open Data Watch

​Shaida Badiee, Eric Swanson, Misha Belkindas

Shaida Badiee

Managing Director, Open Data Watch

Shaida brings several decades of experience in managing global development statistics as the long-time Director of the World Bank's Development Data Group.  During her tenure, flagship global statistical products were launched such as the World Development Indicators, Global Development Finance, and the Atlas of Global Development. In 2010, she led the World Bank's Open Data Initiative, a ground-breaking program to provide full and free access to the World Bank's extensive statistical databases.  Prior to that, she played a key role in the creation and operation of PARIS21 as well as leading international efforts to coordinate technical and financial support for statistics through initiatives like the Marrakech Action Plan.

Eric V. Swanson

Managing Director, Open Data Watch

Eric is a globally recognized economist with a passion for analyzing the most effective ways to use data for development.  He was an original member of the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on the Millennium Development Goals.  As senior advisor and program manager of the World Bank's Development Data Group, he was in charge of World Development Indicators and Global Monitoring, was managing editor of the World Development Indicators and Atlas of Global Development, and managed production of the Bank's principal statistical databases.  As a member of the senior management team, he was an expert representative on numerous high-level international committees and taskforces.

Misha V. Belkindas

Managing Director, Open Data Watch

Misha is an expert in practical and operational statistical capacity building, both internationally and with national governments. For many years, he was responsible for the World Bank's lending programs for statistical capacity building and for the partnership programs with national statistical offices. As a manager in the World Bank's Development Data Group, he led the work on International Statistical Programs, was program manager for STATCAP, managed the Trust Fund for Statistical Capacity Building, supervised the Global Office of the International Comparison Program, and represented the Bank in many statistical forums.


Key Open Data Watc​h staff (in alphabetical order):​​

Advisors to Open Data Watch ->



Zach C​hristensen

Research Associate

​Zach has several years of experience conducting research on international development and transparency, contributing to​ major research projects on transparency in foreign aid, accountability for non-governmental organizations, international finance, education, and emerging aid donors. He has worked on such issues in Ko​sovo, Haiti, Uganda, the UK, and the US. He recently received an MA in Politics from Princeton University.

Jamison Crowell

Research Assistant

​​​​Jamison conducts research on open data at ODW. He specializes in data transparency and related political economy issues  with a particular focus in the Middle East. Prior to working at ODW, he worked at the International Budget Partnership. He received his Master's in Global Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara.​

June Demafeliz

Budget Officer

June takes care of budget matters at ODW. Her background includes work at a CPA firm and a decade in the European Department of the IMF, handling economic data analysis and management, budget projections, and production of reports for country lending assessments, as well as related web design. Before IMF, she worked at the World Bank on economic research for the Africa Department. June has a Master's in Business Administration and certifications in Web Development and Graphic Design.​


Reza Farivari

Information Systems


Reza is the IT guru at ODW, having headed Information Services and Systems in the Development Data Group of the World Bank for 10 years. While there he oversaw development of the largest set of systems products for Open Data and Open Data communications.  He has been developing systems for managing and disseminating statistical data and metadata for over 35 years.   Before World Bank, he operated the Computer Center at the School of Engineering at George Washington University.  


Martin Getzendanner

Media & Communications



Martin coordinates public information and communications at ODW.  He has worked in several international agencies, as a business information solutions manager at World Bank, climate change information manager at UNEP, chief of information for the WHO Western Pacific Region, chief of information management at UNICEF European Headquarters, and correspondent for NBC News at the UN in Geneva.

Chandrika Kaul

Research Consultant

Chandrika has 20+ years of experience compiling and analyzing data and statistics for search engines such as Microsoft and Google. She has been a geography and statistics editor for leading reference publishers. As a Research Manager at Wolfram|Alpha, she contributed to the rapid expansion and improvement of its knowledge base. With a Ph.D. in economic geography, Chandrika has also worked with economic development organizations, specializing in international trade development. She is the author of three statistical handbooks as well as several geography reference books.​ 

Amelia Pittman

Research Assistant


Amelia conducts research on open data at ODW.  She specializes in transparency, aid effectiveness, and global health research. Prior to working for ODW, she served as the open aid team leader at Innovations for Peace and Development.  She has also worked as a consultant for the Bureau for Global Health at USAID. She has recently received a Master’s in Global Policy Studies from the University of Texas at Austin​.


Alexandria Scott




Alexandria handles administrative duties at ODW. Having worked most of her career in non-profits, she has notable experience in program management and fundraising, including in areas such as child food insecurity, intimate partner violence and domestic abuse, youth services and education. Alex has a BA from Brigham Young University in Political Science.  

Maria Vallenilla

Research Assistant


Maria is a Venezuelan lawyer, currently pursuing an M.A. in International Development at the Elliott School with a concentration in Democracy and Governance. Maria has over four years of professional experience, including work with the Latin-American Dialogue and the National Democratic Institute. She conducts research for Open Data Watch.​



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The work of Open Data Watch is primarily funded by its founders, with much appreciated voluntary contributions of time and expertise by staff and advisors. Additional funding for 2015-2016 includes a grant from the UN Foundation for work with Data2x​ on gender data and a grant for general operating support from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.