Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Democracy Camp Update - June 23, 2009

The first democracy camp in Chennai was held on June 6th. The focus of the camp was discussing and analyzing the impact of technology on governance and other citizen-centered initiatives. Below are some key updates.
  • Around 25 participants from Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Mumbai took part in the camp.
  • I gave a brief presentation outlining the technology + governance landscape in India. This will be posted online at idemocracy.ning.com
  • The camp was extended for 2 additional hours than planned, owing to participants enthusiasm. Overall, the camp was successful.
  • To continue the conversations that were started at the camp, a micro-social network was formed at idemocracy.ning.com - feel free to join and contribute.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

India Trip Update - June 3, 2009

  • Met with the Election Commissioner and Deputy Election Commissioner of India to discuss VoteReport India's role in 2009 general elections. The feedback was positive and the EC was interested in adapting VRI for the upcoming Maharashtra state elections. This is fantastic, since despite being a relatively new NGO eMoksha has been able to garner the trust of one of the most progressive governmental organizations in India. More details on this to follow soon.
  • In Delhi, met with several leaders from NNFI including Anant and Promod, Dr. Jagdeep Chhokar from ADR and Barun Mitra from Liberty Institute. It was an invaluable experience to discuss existing initiatives and brainstorming new ones with these leaders.
  • In Bangalore, met with Srikanth and Aveejeet from eGovernments (Srikanth is an advisor to eMoksha), Indira and Rajesh from Janaagraha and Sunil Abraham from Center for Internet and Society. Laid the foundation for a collaborative effort between eGovernments and eMoksha as part of the Rural eGovernance initiative. More details on this to follow later.
  • Shekhar Mittal joined as a new volunteer for eMoksha, to drive the Open Data Initiative (need to find a better name :) to help digitize and expose all government data using web standards like DCMI/XML/KML/etc.
  • Uma Babu joined as a franchiser for FixOurCity Chennai, to help promote the platform and spread the word.
  • 44 people have signed up for the iDemocracyCamp to be held at Cognizant's office on OMR in Chennai. At least couple of participants are flying from Hyderabad and Bangalore to attend the camp.
  • Finally, VoteReport Lebanon (aka Sharek961.org) was successfully launched yesterday. This was made possible by a team that was spread between Seattle, New York, Beirut, Nairobi and Chennai. Welcome to the new age in global civic software development.