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WeGov

Journalists in Mozambique Have a New Way to Get Help Reporting on Elections

BY Rebecca Chao | Friday, July 19 2013

Screenshot of Citizen Desk's beta version (Sourcefabric.org)

The municipal elections in Mozambique are over four months away but short-staffed newsrooms are already preparing to deal with the persistent conundrum: how do they accurately cover the elections with over 2,500 polling stations to monitor across the country? A new tool called Citizen Desk allows newsrooms to incorporate citizen reports into their news stream, to act as eyes and ears for the upcoming elections. Read More

WeGov

In Finland, A Citizens' Initiative to Protect Privacy and Whistleblowers

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, July 18 2013

Parliament of Finland (Wikipedia)

The Finns would help Edward Snowden if they could. Unfortunately, the law in Finland requires an asylum seeker to be in the country when applying, according to foreign ministry spokeswoman Tytti Pylkö. Some see the requirement as an unfortunate gap in their laws, and have petitioned to have it closed. On July 8, Electronic Frontier Finland (Effi) submitted a citizens' initiative to close the loopholes regarding whistle-blowers, and to protect the privacy of Finnish citizens.

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WeGov

Two Mobile Birth Registration Programs Piloted in Senegal and Uganda

BY Rebecca Chao | Monday, July 15 2013

The web application for mobile birth registration in Uganda (image: GSMA)

A recent study by GSMA revealed promising results of two mobile birth registration initiatives piloted in Uganda and Senegal. Birth registration, often a prerequisite for school enrollment and access to health services, are persistently low in Central and West Africa – 39 percent on average. In Senegal and Uganda, the rates are 55 and 21 percent, respectively, according to national Demographic and Health surveys. Read More

WeGov

Jhatkaa: Getting India to 'Shake Up'

BY Rebecca Chao | Friday, July 12 2013

Deepa Gupta, founder of Jhatkaa, discusses her vision for the project in a campaign video. (Jhatkaa.org)

Urinating into an empty dam to fill it, using late-night television as a contraceptive and suggesting Valentine's Day causes rape are a few of the public comments made by Indian politicians, as voiced by frustrated Indian citizens in Jhatkaa’s campaign video. Jhatkaa, which means “to shake up,” is a new civic startup pioneered by Deepa Gupta, a young Indian campaigner. Read More

WeGov

Yemeni Activist Seeks Refuge in Canada After Announcing "I'm Queer" On His Blog

BY Elisabeth Fraser | Tuesday, July 9 2013

Ala'a Jarban (screenshot from YouTube video)

Ala’a Jarban is a 23-year old activist who participated in the 2011 Yemen revolution and created a blog that allowed LGBT Yemenis to post anonymously about their experiences. While in Montreal for a conference on international human-rights training run by human-rights group Equitas, Jarban took to his blog and came out, declaring, “I’m Queer”. Read More

WeGov

The Rise and Fall of Brazil's Twitter Revolution

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, July 8 2013

Tweets per hour peaked on June 17 at 8 p.m. (Flickr/andresmh)

The protests in Brazil might seem to have come out of nowhere, but the Movimento Passe Libre (Free Pass Movement) has existed for more than eight years. They organized the first few demonstrations, starting at the end of May. It wasn't until June 17, however, when the Twitterverse lit up with tweets about the protests, that people outside the country really began to notice. Less than a week later, however, Twitter usage had died down to pre-protest levels.

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WeGov

Samoan Gov't Climate Change Initiative Includes Crowdsourced 3D Map

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, July 3 2013

Now imagine it in 3D. Samoa via Wikipedia

Villagers in Samoa are using a three dimensional map to help make decisions about environment initiatives and disaster prevention. The 3D map is the product of a workshop organized by the forestry division of Samoa's Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. The project is an example of participatory 3D modeling (P3DM), a crowdsourced mapping method relying heavily on local knowledge.

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WeGov

China's New Petitioning Platform: Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom…Online?

BY Rebecca Chao | Wednesday, July 3 2013

Courtyard of Forbidden City (Wikimedia Commons)

On Monday, China’s Communist Party launched an online platform to encourage citizens to post petitions and air their grievances online. The BBC reported, however, that Chinese citizens are expressing via their microblogs that the new online petitioning, which requires users to register their address, will only allow the government to retaliate and better control dissidents. Read More

WeGov

Tu Parlamento: Italy Launches Platform to Give Citizens a Digital Seat in Parliament

BY Rebecca Chao | Thursday, June 27 2013

The platform aims to get citizens more involved in policy making (image: tuparlamento.it)

Last week, without much fanfare or publicity, 15 members of the Italian Parliament launched Tu Parlamento, a Liquid Feedback platform that allows Italian citizens to comment on proposed bills. it is an initiative led by Laura Puppato, a senator of the Democratic Party. Read More

WeGov

A “Fix-Rate” for Corruption: Integrity Action Wins the Google Global Impact Award

BY Rebecca Chao | Friday, June 14 2013

“From wanachi (“citizen”) to up there,” Emmanuel Dzombo explains with an upward sweep of his hand, is how Integrity Action has begun to reverse the bureaucratic top-down approach that has often blocked development work in Kenya. Dzombo is a local leader in Chengoni, Kenya, a country that ranks towards the very bottom of Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index – at 139. The organization believes it could do more, and Google.org seems to agree. The Google Impact Challenge will provide the charity with £500,000 that will allow it to develop a mobile application for tracking and collecting data from citizens. Read More