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LIG’s first salvo is Open Government

Friday, June 21st, 2013 | Permalink

Pranav Budhathoki in Kathmandu

So, after 3 months of groundwork in London; followed by 9 months of grit-work in Kathmandu; meeting and consulting with folks as far and wide as Berlin, Geneva and Kampala; and video conferences that spanned four continents, Local Interventions Group has finally been launched in London and Kathmandu.

London office will oversee our program development and international relations components and Kathmandu office will administer programmes on the ground. More like the grit work for us wretched lot in Kathmandu.

Fine, we hear ourselves say, for we have a big dollop of schadenfreude helping for ourselves when we know that whoever mans our London office has to tolerate that medieval Tube, dreary weather, skull-crushingly expensive inebriating liquids and industrial chicken tikka masalas every single day for the rest of his or her metaphysical life.

Our first policy salvo is Open Government. Why? Because we believe it is the world’s hottest silver bullet against Gulag-like governments of Nepal and Pakistan. It also democratises information, increases transparency, allows effective public oversight, and lowers the barriers for people to collaborate. Cut out the middleman and watch corruption fall to its knees!

Besides, strike while the iron is hot, or so goes the old adage. There has been extraordinary momentum at the global leadership level ever since US President Obama signed the Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government on his first day in office.

President Obama’s memo snowballed into what we have today; 8 governments (Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, Norway, Philippines, South Africa, United Kingdom, and United States) endorsed an Open Government Declaration, announced their country action plans, welcomed the commitment of 38 governments to join and formally launched the Open Government Partnership on September 20, 2011.

Open Government Partnership is not a free-for-all brouhaha of the rich elites. It is a solemn leadership of US, UK and Brazil that has the potential to revolutionise the poorer parts of the world, by forcing their governments to be more accountable to their people.

UK plans to “earmark 5% of its donations to the budgets of developing countries to fund the strengthening of local accountability, making government openness a partial criterion when choosing nations to which it will provide aid”. That is £ 16.55 million extra over four years from April 2011 to March 2015 for Nepal, and £ 17.5 million extra every year for Pakistan. Count the number of schools and hospitals we could build with that.

We will only be consigning ourselves to a collective morgue of development failures if our countries fail to take advantage of this drive.

www.localinterventions.org.uk

"next new idea in development'

Salon on ‘Crowdsourcing Tech for Elections’

Friday, June 14th, 2013 | Permalink

Kathmandu

Salons

Brainstorming salons with experts, loosely hinging on Horace’s definition of the aims of poetry; “aut delectare aut prodesse est” (either to please or to educate).

Local Intervention Group held an invitation only salon on crowdsourcing for elections on 1st of February 2013 at Summit Hotel in Kathmandu.

LIG is deploying the crowdsourcing technology Ushahidi to prevent election violence and violations in the run up to the election, and monitor them in real time during the election. This technology will track and monitor election violence and violations by gathering data and information from the public and geo-mapping them onto a Google map in real time. It will also be deployed to gather data and information on missed voters, election campaigns, code of conduct violations etc.

The purpose of the salon was to explore ways in which this game changer technology can be deployed in total sync with everyone who has ever worked in elections to make Nepal’s next election comparatively freer, fairer, and more transparent and accountable.

Police can use the real time data to intervene swiftly, politicians can use the system to get updates from their constituencies, election observers can file anonymous reports of election related violations, journalists can get stories from the ground, and most importantly public can have a platform (through a simple text message, or a free phone call) to get involved.

LIG is planning a command centre sort of operation in coordination with Election Commission and Nepal Police in Kathmandu with real-time data feeds from across the country.

Agency heads and key staff from the following organisations attended the salon. LIG is currently designing in detail a co-ordination outline with Election Commission, Nepal Police and select few agencies.

  • »Asia Foundation, DanidaHUGOU, Delegation of the European Union, DFID, International Foundation for Electoral Systems, International IDEA, National Democratic Institute, National Election Observation Committee, Swiss Embassy, UNDP, USAID
  • »Khimlal Devkota from UCPN Maoists, Dr Prakash Sharan Mahat from Nepali Congress, Pradip Gyawali from UML, and Jitendra Dev from Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (Democratic)
  • »Joint Secretary from Election Commission, DIGs from Nepal Police & Armed Police Force

Event photos are available over at our Facebook page.

 

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