Programmes & Projects

LIG participates at the Open Government Partnership, Paris 2016

Since its founding in 2011, the Open Government Partnership (OGP) has highlighted the urgent need for better governance throughout the world by promoting transparency, more robust efforts to combat corruption and harness the power of technology to strengthen institutions. Now in it’s 6th year, the OGP has grown for 6 countries to 38 member states today. Continued growth in 2017 seems certain as an additional 30 countries, including Nepal, are now eligible to join the OGP movement.

As a founding member of the Open Government Partnership movement in Nepal, LIG’s Pranav Budhathoki was invited to attend the Open Government Partnership Global Summit 2016 in Paris to discuss the state of OGP in Nepal today. With 3000 representatives from 70 countries in attendance, this summit presented participants of various backgrounds like heads of state, ministers, journalists and digital innovators. With LIG’s previous experience in improving accountability and transparency in the earthquake response, Pranav was a panellist speaker in two discussions both held on December 8th 2016. They were;

  • Tracking Progress on SDG16: National Level monitoring of effective, accountable and inclusive institutions: bringing together government and civil society representatives, the discussion explored the utility and limitations of international indicators (like the SDGs) to their work. Ideas on how to enhance the practical utility of international data driven monitoring efforts while managing expectations on the limitations of such efforts formed the bulk of this discussion.
  • Open Government in Challenging contexts: this discussion wanted to bring stakeholders working on open government in countries undergoing reconciliation and state building processes to share some of the challenges they have faced in their work, how they maintain sensitivity to reform as well as explore how OGP can be a useful platform for reformers to assist in their work. This session brought together government representatives, civil society and other practitioners.

Pranav’s participation at the Summit in Paris has reinforced LIG’s commitments to the OGP movement and has strengthened our resolve to see Nepal become a full-fledged member of OGP in the coming years.

A growing partnership- a year of coordinating with CIVICUS/Datashift

Widely lauded by its proponents as a positive “game changer” in the development sector, Citizen generated data (CGD) as a concept is still relatively unknown in Nepal. CGD - the practice of sourcing data directly from the general public- is a relatively new concept in Nepal’s development sector but it’s potential is being recognised quickly.

To better understand the utility of CGD and to see whether/how this was having an impact in the country, LIG partnered with CIVICUS/DataShift to develop the “Impact of Citizen Generated Data in Nepal” report. (hyperlink here) Four initiatives that were using CGD in their campaigns were first identified. These initiatives were then contacted and interviewed; with questions focusing specifically on the i) the data collection method of these organizations ii) how they ensured data quality iii) how they used the data iv) their local context and sustainability and v) what their impact was. The report concluded by highlighting some of the challenges CGD initiatives face and a conclusion of how best to strengthen the CGD environment in Nepal.

Upon completion of this report, LIG was invited to attend the “CIVICUS Youth Assembly/ Datashift Jamboree April 2016” in Bogota, Colombia and to share some of the findings of the “Impact of Citizen generated Data in Nepal” report. Additionally, this conference also presented an opportunity to discuss some of the initial findings of LIG’s “Follow the Money” (hyperlink here) project which Data Shift had provided some seed funding for. Initial data suggested that up to 50% of earthquake related relief and reconstruction funding was unaccounted for in the first 6 months of the response.

At the end of the year, CIVICUS/DataShift and LIG coordinated with 4 local organizations (including LIG) to strengthen capacity to collect and use CGD to strengthen their own efforts to monitor or to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A workshop was held and facilitated by three Data Shift staff and a SWOT analysis of each organization was carried out to identify each organizations awareness of CGD, their strengths and where they could be supported. The support was designed to be specific to each organization. Towards the end of the project, it was clear that all four organizations had a much better understanding of SDGs and how their work complimented them, how to better plan campaigns and how to access international funding sources.

LIG is grateful to CIVICUS/Data Shift for their partnerships as well as their support over the previous year. We look forward to engaging even more deeply with CIVICUS/Datashift to expand and strengthen the fledgling CGD environment in Nepal.

Our comprehensive earthquake response program in Nepal

The devastating earthquakes of April and May 2015 in Nepal claimed over 8,700 lives, injured more than 22,000 and have left hundreds of thousands of people homeless and affected the livelihoods of millions of Nepalis across the country. Some 50,000 classrooms in 8,000 schools and around 1,000 health facilities were also damaged.

Within 24 hours of the earthquake, we launched Mobile Citizen Help Desks in collaboration with Accountability Lab, and have been partnering with UNOCHA and Internews in mobilising over 100 volunteers and 30 staff members to monitor and improve the Nepal earthquake response, connect relief agencies to the most affected communities and ensure disaster accountability in Nepal.

The first part of this effort has been to identify the gaps in relief services and connect the affected communities to resources through a network of 84 frontline associates spread across 14 most affected districts. Read more here: www.quakehelpdesk.org

The second pillar of #quakeHELPDESK is rigorous perception survey, on which we are partnering with UNOCHA through their flagship initiative ‘Inter Agency Common Feedback Project’ to understand the right needs of the affected people and how communities perceived the disaster response. www.cfp.org.np

The third pillar is the Open Mic Project that we created together with Internews to track potentially risky earthquake related rumors, the component sought to provide local stakeholders with empirical facts to create a better understanding of the needs of the affected communities. www.quakehelpdesk.org/openmic.php

The final pillar of the #quakeHELPDESK is Follow the Money. Created to ensure affected people got the entitlements they need while reducing misuse of public funds, the component tracks the financial flow into a local community, all the way from a central to a district to a village level. We have just signed an MOU with National Information Commission and laid the foundation to work together to ensure disaster accountability in Nepal.

With all four components currently ongoing, the #quakeHELPDESK is fully underway in 14 of the most affected districts of Nepal, ensuring the relief, reconstruction and rebuilding in Nepal is fair and accessible to those who need it.

LIG releases Open Government: Global Perspectives publication

Local Interventions Group is awfully particular when it comes to open government in the global South. If we advocate and push for machine readable data-sets in the name of Open Government Data in poorer countries of the south, we are just exposing ourselves to failure and disappointment. Open Government in the south should be about appealing to the lowest common denominator, and enhance government’s service delivery by informing the people. In understanding that open government has different challenges and opportunities in Puerto Rico, than Yemen or Malta, for example, we hope to contribute to a new conception of open government - one with a truly global perspective, one with a model fit for the low-tech countries of the south.

Download the report here, with contributions from leaders of open government community of practice of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Yemen, Malta, Nepal, Liberia, Indonesia, USA etc.

Crowdsourcing, Mapping and Visualising Citizen Grievances in Nepal

In what has become Nepal’ first citizen feedback loop using Ushahidi and mobile telephony coordinated with the government at the central as well as local level, we have just concluded an innovative pilot where citizens of two contrasting districts of Mahottari and Tanahun used their mobile phones as a tool to report their grievances at the local level - amplifying their voices in demand for better services from their government. The reports and insights gathered have been revealing, with signs of immediate impact at the VDC level. Data was categorised into 5 indicators, with primary focus on absenteeism of VDC Secretaries and malpractices relating to social security allowance and development project delivery. LIG is planning to scale up this innovation to link up with grievances redress mechanism.

LIG is planning to scale up this innovation to link up with grievances redress mechanism.

To read how we permanently changed the way citizens communicated with their government in Nepal, Download.

To explore data down to the VDC level and to see what citizens reported, click here

LIG becomes part of a global ‘Opening Parliament’ community and endorses the declaration on Open Parliament

What happens in the parliament matters. Open Parliament, the idea that allows us to watch and observe the parliamentary proceedings, committee decisions and keep track of Nepal’s constitution writing process. To enhance impact and learn lessons from global open parliament practices, we are now a member organisation of Opening Parliament, a forum intended to help connect the world's civic organizations engaged in monitoring, supporting and opening up their countries' parliaments and legislative institutions. Together with global community of Opening Parliament, we seek to open up Nepal’s parliament to make it more transparent and accountable to citizens.

More information on the global community here...

The Declaration on Parliamentary Openness that we have pledged to is here.

OpenGov360o - An Open Government Model for the Low-Tech South

3 key mantras when it comes to ensuring inclusion in global Open Government momentum.

Open government should include everyone. That's why we are promoting solutions that include the Global South.

The mission of Open Gov 360° is to ensure that open governance initiatives incorporate low-tech strategies. Otherwise, much of the world is left out.

We call on all entities involved in promoting open governance to join the Open Gov 360° initiative. Together, we will share ideas and inspire a paradigm shift in open government.

Get involved with our global campaign here HERE...

Communication, Engagement and the Future of Global Response

LIG’s approach of collecting valuable data from earthquake affected communities to improve the overall disaster response has been widely appreciated by the humanitarian community in Nepal. As a result of this, Pranav Budhathoki was invited to the World Humanitarian Global Consultation in Geneva to share his ideas and experiences. The program was held from 14th to 16th of October, 2015.

Moderator:

  • Mr. Martin Dawes, Communication and Advocacy Advisor, CDAC Network

Panellists:

  • Mr. Pranav Budhathoki, Chief Executive, Local Interventions Group, Nepal
  • Ms. Alexandra Sicotte-Levesque, Community Engagement Global Coordinator, OCHA
  • Mr. Nick Van Praag, Director, Ground Truth Solutions
  • Ms. Meghan Sattler, Communicating with Communities Advisor, WFP Summary of the Discussions

What we discussed...

The session discussed why communicating with communities is important to uphold the rights of crisis-affected people, ensure they are well treated during a humanitarian response and increase the effectiveness of aid. It was highlighted that a hunger for information is consistently expressed by communities in emergencies and the main buzzwords that had come out of the WHS are ‘accountability’ and ‘feedback’. It was discussed that a lot of organisations are doing their part, but not collectively.

The complexity of response in conflict-affected countries means that community engagement is not always seen as a priority in these settings. However, often these are very protracted settings, so it was argued that humanitarian actors should take the time to think strategically about what concrete actions are put in place to fully engage crisis-affected people.

It was suggested that there needs to be a cultural shift in the response to crisis, such that humanitarians will take the risk to engage with communities and hear if people are not satisfied with the services provided. Solutions could be simple and easy to implement or scale, usually requiring the passion of local staff on the ground who understand the context. Bringing the perspectives of affected populations to bear on the way that programmes are managed involves a combination of performance management and accountability.

The design phase looks at what the programme is trying to achieve, its theory of change, how to collect data and how often to collect the data in a constant process of data collection, analysis, dialogue, and course correction. Examples were given of work during the Haiti, Nepal earthquake and Ebola response and in refugee camps, with the recommendation that humanitarians should ask few questions, ask often, and focus on perceptions that could be actionable. Questions should focus on relationships (trust, responsiveness, competence), outcomes (based on customer satisfaction), services (relevance, timeliness) and agency (did people feel like passive beneficiaries or like they could make a difference to themselves).

Read the full report here: http://bit.ly/1PXWl0V

Modernising Nepal Police, enhancing access to justice…

We have developed a mobile app 'Hamro Police' for Nepal Police, with technology, talent and resource support from Islington College, a pioneering business and IT College in Kathmandu.

‘Hamro Police’ app enables members of the public within Kathmandu valley to swiftly report GIS coded, time-stamped incidents of crime and report with pictorial and documentary evidence - enabling Nepal Police to respond swiftly and efficiently. Current functionalities include reporting incidents; locating nearest police stations; lodging complaints and thanking honest and committed police officers for their service. Scaling strategy includes improving access to justice for citizens, especially women and vulnerable communities throughout Nepal.

Read media reports here;

Repuplica Daily http://bit.ly/1TiNMNu

Kathmandu Post http://bit.ly/1fkd3Zo

The Himalayan Times http://bit.ly/1IGNfC7

iOS users, download here http://apple.co/1CmK3KU

Android device users, download here http://bit.ly/1eCcUiW

Event photos here: https://www.facebook.com/local.interventions.group/posts/926221777438180

Mapping for Peace and Accountability: Crowdsourcing and Data Visualization for Nepal Elections 2013

LIG is working to make Nepal’s upcoming elections more transparent and less violent by using crowdsourcing, mapping and data visualization technology. The program will create an online platform that allows citizens and election observer organisation to directly audit the Nepalese electoral process by anonymously reporting their eyewitness accounts of election-related incidents. Reports will be able to be submitted using mobile and landline phones, email and the web.

A Portal for Free, Fair and Peaceful Elections in Nepal

In its next step toward ensuring free and fair elections as part of its elections program, LIG has launched www.nepalelection2013.org that gives citizens of Nepal a platform to contribute beyond voting. This project is the cornerstone of the LIG elections program and gives Nepalis the space to voice any elections irregularities that they see up to and including Election Day. All reported elections incidents will be mapped in real time on this portal, exposing the areas that are experiencing difficulties to the public while exercising their constitutional right to participate in election in a fearless environment.

Civil Society Oversight of Nepal Police using Crowdsourcing & Mobile Technology

Nepal’s citizens have no easy avenue to express opinions about their local police – as both genuine grievances against local police as well as tributes, accolades to some of the finest-run police stations and officers go hand-in-hand in Nepal. Nepal also lacks a police oversight mechanism or from civil society. LIG’s ambitious program seeks to rectify that in part by letting people report complaints, failures to register FIRS, or best-practice incidents, through SMS, a toll-free call, or a mobile app. These will be geo-mapped in real time to create a dashboard of people’s genuine concerns relating to Nepal Police through data visualization, geo-mapping and continual monitoring over 1 year period starting September 2013.

Crowdsourcing Salon @ Summit Hotel Kathmandu

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 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. 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.

Our Global Campaign

Local Interventions Group is campaigning at the global level arguing that open data programmes for the south should be less about technology and more about enhancing access of people from low-tech south. Over on the Open Government Partnership blog LIG’s Pranav Budhathoki suggests what open government data programmes should look like in countries where there is limited access to the Internet and technology.

Open Government Pilot, Kavre District

Local Interventions Group’s Open Government Pilot in Kavre launched on 15th September 2012 by forming an Open Government Committee in Kavre district to monitor and report budget allocation and expenditure in two VDCs of Kavre - Jaisithok and Nitya Chandeswori. Given the local authorities’ apathy and downright hostility in being transparent in expenses, the committee has done a difficult job well. We are also learning, instituting Open Government ethos in local government structures is an uphill task, especially when VDC offices’ record keeping is this medieval.

Download Report