Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bangalore Auto Watch, IWPR, and ICA

Over the past several months we have been actively working on the following initiatives.

Bangalore Auto Watch continues to be a top forum to report, view and discuss autorickshaw related issues for bangaloreans. Sudha, our project manager, has been meeting with the Transport Department officials frequently to follow-up on issues and recommended a two-fold approach. Firstly, use the reports to identify major areas of concern and address them broadly - for example, regarding tampered meters, conduct random meter checks periodically and publish the results in the media (as this is probably the most cost-effective way to address this issue). Secondly, address serious issues that sometimes involve criminal behavior, on a case-by-case basis. So far, the Transport Department has heeded to both our recommendations and conducted a city-wide meter check and tracked a handful of serious cases. The outcome of the specific follow-ups highlighted a widespread blackmarket for auto licenses in the city, which has a direct correlation to high prices, bad behavior and tampered meters. Currently, the Transport Department is considering lifting the restriction on auto licenses along the lines of what was done in Chennai.

eMoksha has been collaborating with the Institute for War and Peace Reporting to build a portal to navigate the 2010 Iraq election results and issues. Astha Gupta will be the project manager working with IWPR and our partners in India to help build out the portal.

Last month, Indians for Collective Action (ICA) conducted a Social Innovation Panel in which eMoksha participated alongside other distinguished organizations like Avaaj Otalo, Same Language Subtitling and United Prosperity.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bangalore Auto Watch

  • Couple of weeks ago, Auto Watch was launched on Kiirti to allow commuters in Bangalore report, discuss and view issues related to autos. Since launch the instance has garnered more than 60 reports from disgruntled citizens complaining about issues ranging from faulty meters to extortion to physical assault. A good percentage of the reports - around 15% - were filed over phone using Kiirti's voice reporting feature.
  • News about Auto Watch was carried on Times of India and Daily News & Analysis print and online editions.
  • Last week, Bangalore Transport Commissioner Mr. Bhaskar Rao signed an MoU with Kiirti to address issues reported through the platform in a timely manner and have the respective RTO's provide updates on Kiirti regularly. Currently, we are working actively with the Transport Department personnel to implement the process specified in the MoU.
  • For questions or updates, please send a mail to

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

OSI, Harvard and Columbia Case Studies

Recently, a few selected eMoksha projects are being studied by organizations around the world to understand the role and impact of technology in enabling transparency and civic engagement. Below are some selected cases.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Mi Panama Transparente launched

  • Last week Mi Panama Transparente was launched in collaboration with the International Center for Journalists. Jorge Luis Sierra, a Mexican journalist and Knight International Journalism Fellow, is leading the efforts in Panama to drive adoption and make the initiative a success. The team at eMoksha is quite excited as this new venture will help us understand how to engage and motivate citizens to participate on civic issues, on an on-going basis.
  • We have several new partners in the pipeline for Kiirti, on issues ranging from child labor, women harassment, anti-corruption, basic eye care, etc. More about them on the next post.
  • Kiirti is now a registered trust (thanks to Sudha, Shanmugam and Elango for making this happen) and we're currently working towards obtaining 80G status.
  • Thanks to all our supporters and volunteers who have helped eMoksha launch projects in 5 countries - Afghanistan, Lebanon, India, Panama and Sudan - over the past 18 months. And, in our opinion, we have just barely scratched the surface of what can be achieved using technology to foster civic engagement and transparency.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Kiirti Beta and Sudan VoteMonitor

Kiirti was soft-launched to a handful of partners - including, Janaagraha, 5th Pillar, CHIRAG, etc - in late March 2010 and soon after used for tracking issues during the recent Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike elections. We are continuing to work with other partners to start using their respective instances actively for civic and volunteer engagement.

Sudan VoteMonitor is now being used for tracking election issues in Sudan. Over the past 2 days around 125+ reports and 200+ SMS messages have been registered on the site.

Thanks to Sudha, we're making enormous progress towards registering Kiirti as a trust in India. Barring unexpected issues, Kiirti is all set to be registered over next couple of weeks.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Kiirti, Mi Panama Transparente and more...

Kiirti's new layout design is now available on the development host. Please bear in mind that the site and its content are still under development. Below are few interesting updates since last post.
  • SMS integration setup in progress. Messages sent to shortcode 56677 with the prefix kiirti {instance-id} will be routed to the right instance in the backend.
  • Reliance Communications has offered to provide a nation-wide 860 at considerable discount to support voice-based reporting.
  • Simmortel has helped setup automatic IVR-based callflows in 7 languages, including Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Gujarati, Marathi and English. This functionality is truly a one-of-a-kind feature for a civic management website in India.
  • Few early adopters of the Kiirti platform include, ESG (Environment Support Group), CHIRAG (Central Himalayan Rural Action Group), TIIGS (Indian Institute of Geographical Studies), NNFI (National Network for Indians), etc.
Below are updates on eMoksha's international projects.
  • Mi Panama Transparente is getting re-designed with help from a native Panamanian web designer and is planned for public launch (in collaboration with ICFJ and several Panama media outlets) later this month.
  • Sudan VoteMonitor was chosen as the official election observation portal at the Sudan Civil Society Organizations meet in Nairobi last month. Work is in progress to setup an Arabic version and SMS integration.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sudan VoteMonitor, Panama CrimeTracker and Kiirti

Below are some important updates since our last post.
  • Sudan election monitoring platform is planned to be launched in February in collaboration with the Sudan Institute. The polls mark Sudan's first democratic elections in more than two decades.
  • Panama crime tracker platform, an initiative by the International Center for Journalists, will be launched with help from eMoksha and managed by a Knight Fellow on the ground. The proposed timeline is end of February.
  • Kiirti development has been gaining great momentum with help from unexpected quarters. Simmortel helped put together a simple call-flow in Hindi to accept citizen reports via phone and route them to Kiirti. By Jan 31st, call-flows will be enabled in Tamil, Marathi, Telugu, Kannada and English. MORE+1 has been helping us with a much-needed site design (a.k.a facelift) which should be completed by Feb 1st. Soon after, with help from couple of Microsoft volunteers, the design changes will be applied to the production site. Meanwhile, our Project Manager in Bangalore, has begun reaching out to interested NGOs/organizations to get them on-board the Kiirti platform. More updates about partners in a separate post later.
  • On the administration front, early this month, we began the process to register eMoksha as 501(c)(3) in the United States and as Section 25 in India.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Vision for Kiirti

Kiirti is a one-stop governance portal for India aiming to provide the following functionalities in 2010.
  • Citizens should be able to report, view and discuss any civic or governance related issues - ranging from dangerous potholes to absent teachers in public schools to domestic violence, etc - through telephone (voice), mobile (sms), and the internet (email, web, twitter).
  • NGOs should be able to setup subdomains to engage volunteers and citizens to report, view, discuss and route issues appropriately. For example, NGOs focusing on child education can create a subdomain to allow volunteers and citizens to report, view and discuss issues related to public school education quality (including teacher attendance, state of school library, school maintenance, etc). The reported issues will be aggregated and routed to the appropriate government authorities for action; the same issues can be followed up using Right To Information (RTI) act when met with lack of response. Overall, a one-stop shop for enabling better governance.
  • Citizens should be able to register to create and manage an online profile tracking their civic engagement activities. They can form and become part of existing groups to collaborate on larger issues and policies.
  • Government can pro-actively engage with citizen groups via online townhall meetings at different levels - e.x. ward, city, district, state, national, etc.