…aka Discovering Georgian Tech4Transparency scene
In November we visited our Georgian partners in the capital city of Tbilisi. The purpose of the visit was to visit tech for transparency activists and organizations of one of the most distant countries in the region. A country that contributed recently to GLOW (Global Legislative Openness Week) events with a meeting on Committing to Openness – Parliamentary Action Plans, Standards and Data and a country which also struggles with opening data and making use of them.
Anna Sienicka, TechSoup Vice President, Anna Kuliberda manager of “Promoting Technology for Transparency and Accountability in CEE and Eurasia” project and Karolina Wysocka COO of ePaństwo Foundation spent 3 days on discussing needs of Georgian civil society regarding using technology for greater transparency, anti-corruption and accountability.
Meeting with main partners for this project Euroasia Partnership Foundation was particularly fruitful, because we agreed on developing not one or two initiatives in Georgia together, but as many as three!
Firstly, we will be working on increasing the usage of FOI law and open data by activist on the local – municipality level, by building their skills in data work and storytelling. Secondly together with ePaństwo we will build an application based on the idea from the My State (in Polish: Moje Państwo) set of data, that will help in analyzing of municipal fiscal data in municipalities in the country. This application will be developed under our scaling part of the project.
The third part of our cooperation is linked to building personal relations between everybody interested in technology for transparency in CEE region. With Personal Democracy Forum PL CEE coming up in March 2015 and POINT Conference to take place in May, there are also three smaller events for the network organizations only, coming up this year. EPF will partner on organizing one of the three smaller network events in Georgia. Euroasia Partnership Foundation has a long history of being involved in promoting the use of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by civil society in order to strengthen democracy in Georgia and we will focus on building awareness regarding local open data.
On top of it all, we met up with representatives of JumpStart Georgia, a grassroots civic tech organization in Tbilisi working on better accessibility to the data and on data storytelling. Eric Barrett and Jason Addie introduced us to all the complexity of the public data ecosystem in Georgia, leaving us with no doubts that what is most needed is patience and enthusiasm.
We couldn’t not meet one of the most important players regarding using technology for fighting corruption: Transparency International Georgia and its representative Mr. Erekle Urushadze, who told us about MyParliament website developed by TI Georgia and their monitoring of tenders which is based on analyzing open tenders’ public data.
We are very excited about all these next steps and having Georgian NGOs working with us!
And yes, we want to go back.
foto: CC-BY Vladimer Shioshvili
Europe Foundation’s (formerly Eurasia Partnership Foundation) mission is to empower people to effect change for social justice and economic prosperity through hands-on programs, helping them to improve their communities and their own lives. Through its foundations, registered locally in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, EPF raises and delivers seed capital to emerging civil society organizations. EPF is the legacy institution of Eurasia Foundation, a privately managed non-profit organization established in 1992 to deliver seed capital to emerging civil society organizations in the former Soviet countries. From the time of its establishment until the registration of EPF as local foundations in late 2007, EPF invested nearly $70 million in the South Caucasus through more than 1,700 grants and programs with support from the United States Agency for International Development and other public and private donors.
Apps4Warsaw (in PL: “Dane po warszawsku”) is more than a competition for the best city apps built upon City of Warsaw publically available open data. Apps4Warsaw promotes open data and engages people in creating civic technology tools for their city.
Throughout the project we selected the data sets to be open, designed and built a unique technical environment where data is stored and published, planned and conducted the open data contest, developed all the necessary procedures within the City for the opening process to be continued.
One of the TransparenCEE Network Projects, Faktograf, launches in Croatia!
Croatian fact-checking website Faktograf.hr launched on October 27th. Faktograf rates political claims on a scale from “Fact” to “Not even the F of Fact”. This rating system echoes the one popularized by PolitiFact’s Truth-O-Meter and was adopted with modifications by the most external fact-checkers worldwide.
Zasto ne, which is behind the Bosnian Istinomjer, did the programming and designing for Faktograf’s website with support from the National Endowment for Democracy and TechSoup.
Technically, Faktograf consists of a database that supports researchers’ efforts in collecting information on the degree to which promises made by public officials are fulfilled. Factograf uses the WordPress platform for publishing content, social media, and traditional media for public engagement.
The editor of Faktograf, Petar Vidov, used to be a journalist at Index.hr (Croatia’s most visited news portal). He says the launch would not be possible if it wasn’t for Zasto ne sharing their skills and experience, as well as the support from all the fact-checking organizations working in the region.
Between August 2014 and May 2015 we run a project called Data Academy. The goal was to teach transparency and accountability organizations in the region how best use data in their work. We embraced the learning by doing approach. Meet-ups and workshops we organized were tool-centric with a different tool and work methods chosen for each organization and data they had access to. Data Academy was conducted by ACTION SEE network (Accountability, Technology and Institutional Openness Network in South-East Europe) composed by UG Zasto Ne from BiH, CRTA from Serbia, Metamorphosis Foundation from Macedonia and Center for Democratic Transition from Montenegro in partnership with Techsoup Europe. Among other regional projects we have collaborated on the truth-o-meter project, annual POINT conferences and most recently with TechSoup Europe’s www.communityboostr.org program. Data Academy project along with the data-thon is supported by the US Embassy in Sarajevo.
…aka Developing a Stronger #Tech4Transparency Movement in CEE (and SEE)
Promoting Technology for Transparency and Accountability in CEE and Eurasia” project is all about learning. And it is all about working methods. It covers sharing interesting materials online, meeting and connecting, and then our favorite: learning by doing.
In the beginning of October, in Podgorica in Montenegro we had a chance to meet some wonderful people, working in the area of the intersection of transparency, anticorruption and technology in their respected countries in Central and Eastern Europe. They are doing amazing work.
A meeting took place in the premises of Center for Democratic Transition and gathered representatives from organizations like CRTA, Euroasia Partnership Foundation, Metamorphosis Foundation, K-monitor, New Citizen Coalition, ePaństwo Foundation, U.G. Zasto ne and Techsoup Europe.
We talked about our work and about the power of tightening up out relations for a stronger voice of the movement in the region. The meeting allowed exchanging experiences in a small group of people, bringing more in-depth topics to the table, and making honest conversations possible.
One of the most important outcomes of the event is that we want to organize the other 4 planned bigger and smaller networking events in a way which would encourage this kind of knowledge exchange. We want to invite a larger group of organizations to the table and focus on specific parts of the work like working with open data for anti corruption purposes or using data to build up applications which explains complicated state procedures.
To be continued.
K-Monitor database is library of articles from the online media dealing with corruption, public procurement, public spending and, in general, with the transparency of the public sphere. The database aims to make these articles easily accessible and searchable. An online map helps users to find information on geo-relevant cases.