In Manila, the Philippines January 21 – 23, 2014 Making All Voices Count, along with The Southeast Asia Technology and Transparency Initiative (SEATTI), held a collaborative learning workshop ‘Technology and Open Government.’
The event was composed of 22 participants from different government agencies, such as the Department of Budget and Management, Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Philippines Overseas Employment Administration, and non-government agences such as the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, TechSoup Asia, Social Watch Philippines, Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility (CMFR)and Center for Migrant Advocacy.
The main objectives of the event were:
- Share initiatives and projects that use technology for open government and citizen engagement;
- Spark ideas for collaboration among civil society organizations, government strategies, media and technology organization towards the strategic use of technology for open government and citizen engagement;
- Build an understanding among the participants on the strategic ways to use new information and communication technologies in open government and citizen engagement efforts;
- Build partnerships among the participants
The main focus was the theme of technology, open government and citizen engagement and the specific agenda of topics were negotiated and agreed upon on the first day of the event. The main facilitation methodology that was used for this event was based on the ‘unconference’ model. It was participant-driven and facilitators de-prioritized the traditional conference methodologies such as panel discussions, presentations, and plenary discussions. Making All Voices Count Programme Officer Tatat Sukarsa reflects:
The result was a three day participatory, interactive agenda, full of meaningful discussion. There were technology skill-share and speed-geeking sessions, which allowed participants to share their projects.
Discussions oriented around themes such as constructive engagement with government, Applications Programming Interface (API’s), data curation, CSVs, “Mobile” Apps, SMS-Based Apps, engaging online audiences, crowd-sourcing, and video conferencing.
At the event’s closing, conversation sparked around future plans for collaboration and improving current initiatives between participants. For example,” she said, “Ellene Sana from Center for Migrant Advocacy now has a collaborative plan with George Parlan from the Philippines Overseas Employment Administration to use SMS-based apps to help Filipino overseas workers.