Making All Voices Count: “The Global Innovation Competition was launched at the Open Government Partnership Summit in November, 2013 and set out to scout the globe for fresh ideas to enhance government accountability and boost citizen engagement. The call was worldwide and in response, nearly 200 innovative ideas were submitted. After a process of public voting and peer review, these have been reduced to ten.
Below, we highlight the innovations that will now compete for a prize of £65,000 plus six months mentorship at the Global Innovation Week March 31 – April 4, 2014 in Kenya.
The first seven emerged from a process of peer review and the following three were selected by the Global Innovation Jury.
An SMS gateway, connected to local hospitals and the web, to channel citizens’ requests for pregnancy services. At risk women, in need of information such as hospital locations and general advice, will receive relevant and targeted updates utilising both an SMS and a GIS-based system. The aim is to reduce maternal mortality by targeting at risk women in poorer communities in Indonesia.
“One of the causes of high maternal mortality rate in Indonesia is late response in childbirth treatment and lack of pregnancy care information.”
This project, led by a civil servant, aims to engage citizens in Pakistan in service delivery governance. The project aims to enable and motivate citizens to collect, analyze and disseminate service delivery performance data in order to drive performance and help effective decision making.
“BSDU will serve as a model of better management aided by the citizens, for the citizens.”
A Geographic Information System that gives Indonesian citizens access to information regarding government funded projects. The idea is to enable and motivate citizens to compare a project’s information with its real-world implementation and to provide feedback on this. The ultimate aim is to fight corruption in the public sector by making it easier for citizens to monitor, and provide feedback on, government-funded projects.
“On-the-map information about government-funded projects, where citizens are able to submit their opinions, should became a global standard in budget transparency!”
A digital payment system in South Africa that rewards citizens who participate in activities such as waste separation and community gardening. Citizens are able to ‘spend’ rewards on airtime, pre-paid electricity and groceries. By rewarding social volunteers this project aims to boost citizen engagement, build trust and establish the link between government and citizen actors.
“GEM offers a direct channel for communication and rewards between governments and citizens.”
An app created by a team of software developers to provide Ghanaian citizens with information about the oil and gas industry, with the aim of raising awareness of the revenue generated and to spark debate about how this could be used to improve national development.
“The idea is to bring citizens, the oil and gas companies and the government all onto one platform.”
Ghana Petrol Watch seeks to deliver basic facts and figures associated with oil and gas exploration to the average Ghanaian. The solution employs mobile technology to deliver this information. The audience can voice their concerns as comments on the issue via replies to the SMS. These would then be published on the web portal for further exposure and publicity.
“The information on the petroleum industry is publicly available, but not readily accessible and often does not reach the grassroots community in an easily comprehensible manner.”
A common platform to be implemented in Khulna City, Bangladesh, where citizens and elected officials will interact on budget, expenditure and information.
“The concept of citizen engagement for the fulfillment of pre-election commitment is an innovation in establishing governance.”
The aim of this project is an increase in child engagement in governmental budgeting and policy formulation in Mwanza City, Tanzania. This project was selected as a wildcard by the Global Innovation Jury.
“In many projects I have seen, children are always the perceived beneficiaries, rarely do you see innovations where children are active participants in achieving a goal in their society. It was great to see children as active contributors to their own discourse.” – Jury Member, Shikoh Gitau.
A ‘watchdog’ newsletter in Kenya focusing on monitoring the actions of officials with the aim of educating, empowering and motivating citizens to hold their leaders to account. This project was selected as a wildcard by the Global Innovation Jury.
“We endeavor to bridge the information gap in northern Kenya by giving voice to the voiceless and also highlighting their challenges. The aim is an increase in the educational level of the people through information.”
Citizen Desk is an open-source tool that combines the ability of citizens to share eyewitness reports with the public need for verified information in real time. Citizen Desk lets citizen journalists file reports via SMS or social media, with no need for technical training. This project was selected as a wildcard by the Global Innovation Jury.
“It has become evident for some time now that good technical innovation must rest on a strong bedrock of social and political activity, on the ground, deeply in touch with local conditions, and sometimes in the face of power and privilege.” – Jury Member Bright Simons.”