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How does civic tech help make change happen?

Event | April 27, 2017 | 09:00 - 13:30 | Hotel Michelangelo, Viale Fratelli Rosselli 2, Florence, Italy

Making All Voices Count (MAVC) is delighted to announce a fringe event at TICTeC2017, that will provide TICTeC participants with an opportunity to further reflect how civic tech helps make change happen. We will share what we are learning from the 162 innovation and research projects our programme has supported, and reflect how technology is contributing towards change that leads towards responsive, accountable governance.

The way the MAVC contribute to this change is by supporting initiatives that use technologies, and building understanding of when the technologies help, and how.

Different innovation and scaling projects supported by MAVC use different approaches to strengthen citizen voice and achieve government responsiveness and accountability.

  • Some use GPS technology to convert local people’s knowledge into digitised data and convene consultations or dialogues between local people and government officials in which this information is used to shape planning processes or budget priorities.
  • Some use innovative software platforms to gather feedback from service users about government services or performance, and then process and publicise it so that governments can do more of what people want or need.
  • Some build on small pilot projects that have opened up local government data to expose inefficiency, leakage and corruption, and scale them up to reach more places, or to cover the national level.
  • Some crowd-source citizens’ textual accounts or photographic evidence of mismanagement of natural resources while also building anti-corruption coalitions of citizens, civil society organisations and public officials, and supply the coalitions with the evidence they need to make extractive industries or governments act more accountable.
  • Some use online or offline sourcing of service user complaints to expose weaknesses in the ways governments regulate private-sector service providers and seek redress for affected citizens.

As for the research projects supported by MAVC, most of these explore particular questions about how citizens’ struggles for transparent and accountable governance have fared in different contexts and why, or about the conditions under which governments have reformed or adapted to become more responsive and gain their citizens’ trust. Some are researching who takes up opportunities created to engage with policy-makers or use newly-opened data, and to what extent the experience changes their way of exercising their citizenship over the long term. Some compare what happens in response to citizen demand voiced through diverse digital and offline channels, and how these various forms of citizen engagement relate to changing behaviours and cultures within government bureaucracies or service provider agencies.

In this fourth year of the MAVC programme, we’ve been reflecting on the different ways in which these projects try to contribute to more effective citizen voice and more responsive, accountable governance. At the MAVC Fringe Event at TICTeC17, we’re inviting you to join us on a journey of figuring out these pathways or streams, understanding the landscape through which they pass, and exploring where they connect with each other.

Above all, we’ll be picking out what we can all learn from this journey to make our future work more effective.

Register here

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