I have been engaged on a short term Nigeria-based consultancy on the role ICTs could play in promoting citizen engagement in public policy and decision-making processes – or what some call e-participation.
Part of the job requires research on the rate of ICT diffusion in the country at the state level as the project being designed will operate at the subnational level. For our purposes, ICTs include both Internet and mobile phone, and the use of social media platforms by local stakeholders. The usual expectation is that the highest levels of poverty and overall socioeconomic inequality are accompanied by lower ICT diffusion rates.
Getting data for national ICT diffusion is relatively easy as they are in fact multiple
According to many observers, the rapid diffusion of new ICTs such as the Internet and social media has empowered people all around the globe. Today, social media users, for example, have direct access to the public sphere and can thus launch campaigns to sway public opinion. These new channels have given voice to millions of people who previously could not be part of open discussions on issues that affected their lives.
Governments, national and subnational, are also users of new ICT platforms that in most cases are beyond their own jurisdictions and do not require passports. Governments thus need to have defined strategies to promote the use of ICT and social media in policy and decision-making processes and foster the delivery of public services for all.
The paper on the role of governments in crowdsourcing I presented at the last ICEGOV 2014 gathering in Guimaraes, Portugal, is now available here – in this blog. The paper was supposed to be published by ACM press as part of the proceedings of ICEGOV. However, the proceedings are still not available in the ICEGOV web site, nor at the ACM site. In any event, we have chosen a publishing license that allows the authors of the paper to publish it on their own web sites. Note that copyright still applies to this material (please read the license before downloading the paper!).
The paper makes the case for government to harness crowdsourcing as one potential way to improve service delivery and foster people participation in selected public policy-making processes. It presents a governance-centered
I gave the following interview to a local business newspaper during my mission to Pakistan. The interview was published on 15 December.
BR Research: You have previously worked in Pakistan. How was the e-governance situation like back then and how is it now?
Raul Zambrano: It was back in 1993 when UNDP launched an initiative called the Sustainable Development Networking Programme (SDNP) that aimed at bringing access to development content via new technologies. Working with out local office here in Islamabad and using local expertise and human resources, we set up email nodes in four cities including Peshawar, Lahore and Karachi in addition to Islamabad. We essentially provided email access to the Internet and trained lots of people on how to effectively harness the new technologies to