Here on the ONE blog, we often share with you our experiences and new ideas heard at development meetings and conferences from around the globe. On 13 November in London, the Open Up! conference will bring together the transparency and open government communities to discuss how technology is changing the relationship between governments and citizens, and how it will enable citizens to hold their leaders to account. And they want YOU to be part of the conversation!
The best bit is that Open Up! organisers, speakers and partners want to hear directly from you. They’re looking for new ideas about how we can use technology to increase citizen participation, improve the relationship between citizens and their leaders, and ultimately increase and ownership of government priorities. Follow #OpenUp12 on Twitter to be the first to know what the conference participants are talking about and to add your ideas.
The UK’s Secretary of State for International Development, Justine Greening MP, will be one of the OpenUp! co-hosts. Other international innovators attending the event include Rakesh Rajani, founder of Twaweza (Swahili for “we can make it happen”), a ten-year initiative to enhance access to information and public accountability in East Africa. Juliana Rotich of Ushahidi (Swahili for “testimony”) will also join the debate. Ushahidi is a web-based reporting system that uses crowdsourced data to map information in a crisis in real-time. Famously deployed in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, Ushahidi has since been used around the world. Gustav Praekelt, managing director and founder of Praekelt Digital, will also be there. Gustav founded the Praekelt Foundation to build open source, scalable mobile technologies and solutions to improve the health and wellbeing of people living in poverty. His programmes have reached more than 50 million people in 15 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
Some impressive and innovative domestic programmes will also be represented. Kepha Ngito is a trustee of Map Kibera, an interactive community information project started in 2009, when a group of young Kiberans decided to put Africa’s second largest urban slum on the map. Kepha was born and raised in Kibera and is involved in other community organizations, including founding the Kibera Community Youth Programme. Jennifer Pahlka is the founder of Code for America, which works with talented web professionals and cities across the USA to promote public service and reboot government.
Some of the programmes may be familiar – we wrote a blog about one of Omidyar’s partners, FrontlineSMS, earlier this year. Innovation is essential to maintain the momentum on opening up governments to their citizens, making sure that there are many more success stories to write about in the future.
You can check out the agenda and speakers on the Open Up! website, and don’t forget – from now until 13 November, you can follow the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #OpenUp12. If you have an idea about how technology can help open up governments, post a comment below or tweet at #OpenUp12!
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