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WeGov

World Bank Announces Million Dollar Open Data Initiative

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, September 20 2013

Open data gets a boost (redagainPatti/Flickr)

The use of open data for development just got a massive leg up this week, when the World Bank announced a three year open data initiative at the Open Knowledge Conference in Geneva. The Open Data Institute and the Open Knowledge Foundation join the World Bank as partners in the initiative, which has a $1.25 million dollar budget for the first year.

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WeGov

Can Patrick Meier's New App MicroMappers Completely Change The Way We Think About Clicktivism?

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, September 19 2013

Patrick Meier (SHAREconference / Flickr)

Imagine 20, 30, or even 50 thousand volunteers helping a community, whether on the other side of the country or the other side of the world, in the aftermath of a disaster, and all with just a few swipes on a smartphone. Patrick Meier's new platform MicroMappers makes that possible, and anyone with an Internet connection and five minutes to spare can contribute to disaster relief.

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WeGov

On Their Terms: A Digital Project to Give Inuit Say in Developers' Arctic Ambitions

BY Elisabeth Fraser | Thursday, September 12 2013

It's walrus season in Nunavut. (j.slein/flickr)

A new project in Canada’s north is attempting to bridge the digital divide facing Inuit communities. In doing so, it hopes to give them a say as developers move to take advantage of their resource-rich land. The idea is to provide high-speed Internet access to Inuit living in northern communities, where extremely low bandwidth access makes surfing the net a slow and cumbersome task. “These people, who most need access to these networks, have the worst cost-per-bandwidth in the civilized world,” says Cohn. Read More

WeGov

The Hunt for Open Data in China

BY Rebecca Chao | Wednesday, September 11 2013

No data in this stack of hay. (Perry McKenna/flickr)

Like water and oil, ‘open data’ and ‘China’ that take a bit of engineering if you want them to mix. Stories like those of human rights advocate Xu Zhiyong, arrested for rallying citizens to demand public disclosure of their officials’ wealth, are more the norm. But rather than ask for information, a group of young techies are going out and finding it, despite the challenges in its use and the risks of digging too deep. Read More

WeGov

The Rise of 'Selfless' Selfies in Online Activism

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, September 6 2013

Take selfies to be proud of, be a selfie activist (Helga Weber/Flickr)

The selfie portrait, omnipresent on most social networking sites, starting with MySpace, has recently found a higher calling: activism. Last month Filipinos organized an online protest of public transit fare hikes under the hashtag #StrikeTheHike. They encouraged supporters to upload selfies with protest messages to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Another #SelfieProtest in the Philippines is already under way, calling for the abolishment of the “pork barrel” budgeting system following a corruption scandal implicating at least three senators.

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WeGov

Getting Social About Water To Save Lives

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, September 5 2013

Every year more than 750,000 children under the age of five die after contracting diarrheal disease. Many of those deaths could be prevented if only the children had access to safe drinking water. A new smartphone app called mWater will try to tackle that problem through what they call social water monitoring. USAID thinks there's something to the idea: they just invested US$100,000 in their pilot project in Tanzania.

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WeGov

One-Size-Fits-All Toolkit For Gathering Information In A Crisis

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, September 4 2013

The thing about crises is that they can take you by surprise. Although governments and humanitarian organizations do their best to prepare, it's nice to have something to fall back on in any situation, something like an emergency first aid kit for NGOs. The nonprofit media support organization Internews thought so too, which is why they partnered with Columbia University's Modi Research Group and Captricity to create the Humanitarian Data Toolkit.

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WeGov

Mexican Villagers Best the Big, Bad Telecom By Building Their Own

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, August 30 2013

In a still from the Rhizomatica video below, villagers meet to discuss the community mobile phone service.

In a Mexican town so remote and so small that no major telecom company wants to provide cell phone coverage, the locals built their own tower and phone service provider. They're now paying 13 times less than someone on a basic plan in Mexico City, according to the AFP.

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WeGov

A "Merkel-App" for German Voters

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, August 29 2013

Screenshot of the Merkel-App

The German Conservative CDU party has launched a mobile "Merkel-App" a little less than a month before the German election on September 22 and a few days before the race's only televised debate on September 1. Read More

WeGov

Young Sudanese, 'Hungry' for Change, Take Up Crisis Mapping and Blogging

BY Amanda Sperber | Thursday, August 29 2013

Screenshot of the Facebook page for civil society initiative, Nafeer (Nafeer/Facebook)

You can’t use a credit card anywhere in Sudan, but that national hindrance doesn’t really compare to the situation in Darfur, the extreme poverty and the repressive authoritarian government headed by International Criminal Court indicted Omar al-Bashir. Despite or perhaps because of this, Sudan is seeing a small, but strong and steady growth of activism and mobilization through tech. Read More