The day after the devastating earthquake in Nepal in April, Accountability Lab and Local Interventions Group partnered to set up the Mobile Citizen Helpdesk (#quakehelpdesk). Over the last three months, they have mobilized 120 volunteers to speak with over 4,000 citizens in the 14 hardest-hit districts, gathering valuable feedback and closing the loop on hundreds of community problems and issues.
The field we work in is full of buzzwords - open development, transparency, accountability, good governance, citizen participation, access to information etc, and the latest one we are hearing is “Citizen Generated Data”. Over the past few months we have heard the term increasingly often, but what does it actually mean? Well, the folks at DataShift have just published a briefing that answers our question - explaining what citizen generated data is and why it is important.
The new 'Hamro Police' App uses citizen data to revolutionize Police response to crimes.
The recently launched 'Hamro Police' mobile app combines the power of technology with the potential of citizen-generated data to improve the Police force’s safety assistance service, and potentially to help prevent and curtail crimes.
As those severely affected by the earthquake have begun the long process of emotional recovery they have also taken a stride towards reconstruction. But, at this difficult time, their lives are being made even harder. Lack of access to clear information about the various financial support packages pledged by the government has left people grappling to comprehend what assistance they are entitled to.
Meeting the information needs - both in terms of content and delivery mechanism -of citizens is critical for the effective implementation of earthquake relief programs.
Data is an important tool to make decisions. Without it, we remain clueless about the needs of citizens within a country, district or village. The needs of citizens are critical for the implementation of development programs, media programming and government interventions. But, where is the data to help drive such decision making?
(Photo: Nyaya Health: Volunteer collects health data).
1) Open by Default, 2) Quality and Quantity, 3) Useable by All, 4) Engagement and Empowerment of Citizens, and 5) Collaboration for Development and Innovation. These are the five principals being proposed by the International Open Data Charter to guide the release of government data around the world.
In Gorkha district, a villager who had lost everything in the earthquake refused to accept relief funds from the government provided to cremate her loved ones. The reason – the information she received about the funds was inadequate.
When communications are down and the state is caught up in the upheaval of the disaster, how do we strengthen information flow? How can technology solve problems of communication in times of crisis and fast track information flows? These questions and more were discussed at Freedom Forum’s recent seminar with policy makers and civil society groups on how to strengthen the flow of information in disaster situations.