Results of Code for All Exchange Program #1

It is with great pleasure to announce that Fundacja ePaństwo (Code for Poland), Code for Romania and OpenUp (South Africa) has won the first open call of C4All exchange program!

While Code for Romania will be the host organization, the project comes in support of co-creation of open legislation projects that are actively developed by all three partner organizations. Open legislation is a broad area that includes: access to and tracking of draft legislation in parliament; consolidation and publication of promulgated legislation; open licensing of legislation content; making content machine-friendly; helping users to navigate, understand and use the law effectively; and building communities to promote and use open legislation. Together, three organizations’ projects cover a number of broad aspects of Open legislation and in many cases they overlap. Therefore the exchange will allow for tools replications, co-creation of new features, as well as general knowledge exchange.

The main benefit of the exchange for Code for Romanis is diving in other countries specifics and learning and brainstorming other solutions already in place for functionalities that they have planned in their projects. The exchange will allow OpenUp to explore different approaches to making legislation open, understanding user personas and needs, building partnerships with government, fostering community engagement, and provide opportunities to improve and promote re-use of the Indigo platform. During the exchange Fundacja ePaństwo would like to show solutions that they worked out and lessons that they’ve learned.

We are all looking forward to see how these three organizations which are currently running open legislation projects in their respective countries, will collaborate by doing joint user research, prototyping, and sharing experiences.

The objective of the exchange project are:

* replication of Indigo platform for Poland, Romania
* replication of Chrome glossary plug-in for Poland, South Africa
* replication/co-creation of platform to support tracking of legislation through parliament
* improved understanding of open legislation user personas and needs through sharing and conducting of user research
* improved effectiveness of collaborations with governments and parliaments through shared experiences
* improved effectiveness of building an open legislation community through shared experiences
* improved understanding of the Akoma Ntoso open legislation XML standard through workshops and shared experiences
* improved opportunities for future replication and co-creation of an open legislation platform, by describing the components of open legislation platforms, how they fit together, and how they can be built or used independently to support a progressive implementation
We trust this will be the start of a long and fruitful relationship between Code for All partners! Stay tuned for results.

Executive Committee of Code for All

2018-01-26

 

 

Code for All Exchange Program #1

#1  Jan-Jun 2018, funded by CfAfrica

Objectives

The goal of the Code for All’s Exchange Programme is to provide a structured opportunity for member organisations to co-create or share tools, information and best practices among Code for All (CfAll) partners, as well as to promote collaboration on specific projects.

Level of Support

Code for Africa is going to fund two exchange projects during January-June 2018, each project will receive a grant up to USD 5,000. The funding intends to support for travel costs, a basic stipend to cover living expenses, accommodation or other local needs. Specific arrangements may vary by each project proposal. To receive the funding, applicant will be asked to provide the actual expense receipts.

Proposal Requirements for #1

  1. Proposals need to involve at least 3 parties, affiliated with Code for All member organisations, as a way to strengthen the Code for All network.
  2. With the grant sponsored by Code for Africa, at least one of the partners need to be an African organization. The meeting / co-creation sessions do not, however, need to take place in Africa.
  3. Proposals should be for a co-creation project, that results in a tangible service or tool or artifact. The outputs should be ‘open’, to facilitate re-use by the rest of the Code for All community. Training workshops or other events are not eligible as the primary output of a proposal.
  4. Code for All support programmes are meant to amplify work by its member organisations, and are meant to based on a “self-help” ethos. Applicants therefore need to demonstrate that they are providing meaningful matching funding / resources towards the project.
  5. Proposals need to include a physical exchange between the project members.
  6. Proposals need to include robust and accessible user documentation, to facilitate re-use or knowledge sharing, so that the project serves as a resource for the broader ecosystem.
  7. Proposals need to include a realistic outreach / engagement plan, to ensure that whatever resource is created by the project is used by its intended audience.
  8. The project / exchange should take place between January-June, 2018.
  9. Reporting: Rather than requiring bureaucratic narrative reports, fellowships must produce a “how we did it” or “what we learned” commentary. The format for this commentary will be determined by the nature of each individual exchange project, in consultation with the Code for All Exchange Manager, but could include blog posts or a case study, or a video or presentation or the release of new open source code for a corresponding tool.

Application

  1. Contact Code for All partners to form the project proposal. Code for Africa: https://codeforafrica.org/
  2. Fill the application form by 20:00 UTC+1, 7th January 2018.
  3. The result will be released on Jan 19th, 2018

How to find other partners?

  • I want to replicate/scale my project, or but I don’t know partners in other countries.
  • I’d like to learn from other Code for organizations and I can provide skills and co-create project with them.
  • We’d like to be the host organization and invite people with skills/experience on certain topics to work on our project, how do I find them?
  • I have a great project idea and I want find partners who’d like to make it happen with me!

Please shortly describe your project, highlight how you want to scale it or replicate it and elaborate on how will a face-to-face interaction benefit the collaboration? Please put that information on Code for All’s Slack #projectexchange channel, so others can read about your project.

Use case:

  1. I’m individual, I want to work on my project with other people internationally, because I want replicate, or I want to cover other data geographies …
  2. We’re Code for xxxx, we’d like to host an exchange program in our organization which locate in (city, country) during 2018 (Feb to May) to work on (our project)…

Then please write on the Slack.

Information put on the Slack should be reacted upon by Collaboration Manager (@Bogdan).

 

For other questions regarding Exchange Program, please contact Exchange Manager for further information.

Exchange Manager | Aiya Hsu

Code for All’s Slack @Aiya | aiya@ocf.tw

Welcoming Code for Canada

 

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Today we are pleased to welcome Code for Canada as a governing partner of the Code for All Network.

We’ve been meeting Code for Canada folks at civic tech conferences for some time now. Apart from connecting existing civic tech community groups in Canad, and helping to start new ones, they’ve also launched an exciting fellowship program in a partnership with various Canadian governments.

Code for Canada launched in April 2017, and they’re working hard to deliver three different initiatives:

  1. Fellowship Program – embedding digital professionals inside government so they can use their skills for social impact
  2. Civic Tech Community Program – helping to build and grow this community in Canada
  3. Education and Training Program – building public servants’ digital skills to help them integrate technology in their work

For details, let’s give floor to Gabe Sawhney, the co-founder and Executive Director of Code for Canada:

We’re thrilled to welcome Code for Canada to Code for All. Having them on board strengthens our entire network. As a governing partner, they will help us forge new bonds in the international civic tech community, and add to the common knowledge base demonstrating how digital technology opens new channels for citizens to meaningfully engage in the public sphere and have a positive impact on their communities.

To learn more about Code for Canada, visit their website, subscribe to their newsletter, or check out their blog.

Our Code of Conduct

The Code for All community expects that Code for All network activities, events, and digital forums:

  1. Are a safe and respectful environment for all participants.
  2. Are a place where people are free to fully express their identities.
  3. Presume the value of others. Everyone’s ideas, skills, and contributions have value.
  4. Don’t assume everyone has the same context, and encourage questions.
  5. Find a way for people to be productive with their skills (technical and not) and energy. Use language such as “yes/and”, not “no/but.”
  6. Encourage members and participants to listen as much as they speak.
  7. Strive to build tools that are open and free technology for public use. Activities that aim to foster public use, not private gain, are prioritized.
  8. Prioritize access for and input from those who are traditionally excluded from the civic process.
  9. Work to ensure that the community is well-represented in the planning, design, and implementation of civic tech. This includes encouraging participation from women, minorities, and traditionally marginalized groups.
  10. Actively involve community groups and those with subject matter expertise in the decision-making process.
  11. Ensure that the relationships and conversations between community members, the local government staff and community partners remain respectful, participatory, and productive.
  12. Provide an environment where people are free from discrimination or harassment.

Members of the community reserve the right to ask anyone in violation of these policies not to participate in Code for All network activities, events, and digital forums.

Code for All is a non-partisan non-political organization and it will not be associated with any political party.  

Code for All creates open source products. No contributor who participated in a project can be the owner of the end result.

This is based on Code for America’s CoC and Code for Romania’s CoC.

 

Welcoming New Members: Taiwan and Romania

Governments are facing enormous pressure to deliver for their citizens today. Our network has been supporting an international community of technologists and their government partners to share knowledge, code and resources with each other to help governments meet this challenge.

Today, we are pleased to welcome Code for Taiwan and Code for Romania to our community as governing partners of the Code for All Network.

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Code for Taiwan (g0v.tw), with 200 active members and an online community of more than 2500, has been pushing for information transparency in Taiwan for the last five years. The community organized around economic policy issues debated in Taiwan in 2012. Their first event, the g0v.tw hackathon, led to the development of more than fifty projects and collaboration with government agencies and civil society organizations. Code for Taiwan has since partnered with various offices of the Taiwanese government and civil society organizations to organize hackathons and other civic tech projects.

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Code for Romani (code4.ro) recruits Romania’s tech talent to tackle the country’s most challenging citizen engagement and government transparency problems. Since 2015, Code for Romania’s 17-person team have been working with more than 200 volunteers and four brigade teams in the country to launch ambitious civic tech projects including tools that have supported election monitoring efforts and helped European Union asylum seekers to integrate with their community. Code for Romania partner with national agencies and ministries and civil society to develop data-driven products.  

Check out their work, and stay tuned for more updates from Code for All!

Welcome to the new Code for All Blog

You might have noticed that we’ve revamped the Code for All site to include a blog so that we can share stories of civic innovation from around the world.

As Code for All starts its fourth year, we want to be more proactive in helping to share what we’ve achieved.

We’ll also be inviting people from Code for All Chapters to write to the blog as well.

In the meantime, you can follow us on our Twitter and Facebook pages!

 

Creating Structural Change in Government

At the Code for All SummitZack Brisson from Reboot moderated a panel with Sheba Najmi (Code for Pakistan), Jakub Górnicki (Code for Poland), Alvaro Maz (Code for Australia), Kat Townsend (USAID) about how strong relationships can be built with public-sector institutions.

Building these relationships and developing trust with government partners is often the hardest part of our work. During the panel, Code for Pakistan, Australia and Poland shared learnings on how to build strong relationships with government partners and how to drive structural change within institutions.

The first question for the panel was directed at USAID’s Kat Townsend about what she’s learned from having seen the difficult process of government reforms play out and what she’s learned in terms of what really gets stuff done.

Townsend breaks the answer down into three parts: Policy Change, Cultural Change, and Infrastructure. Townsend recommends having small wins and prototypes that can provide your team examples you can replicate.

Townsend also says that everyone needs a one-pager – a single page that can summarize your case studies in such a way that they can be plugged in directly to speeches. Internally, make sure others can evangelize your message by giving them tools and products they can share with others.

Townsend also states that teams must get a policy in place, but cautions that people won’t pay attention to a policy alone. Civic innovators need to explain and determine what the barriers to the work are and understand why people don’t see the benefits and what motivates people within the org. In a lot of nonprofits and government agencies, people sign up because they want to help people. If you can appeal to the mission, people will jump on it right away.

With infrastructure, a lot of the open data projects require tech infrastructure – but reporting on progress has to be set up too.

The next question was about how to address the need for political cover. Sheba Najmi of Code for Pakistan talked about how the most traction they’ve gotten has been in Pakistan’s KP (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) province.

The KP province is consistently in the news for being a dangerous place to be because of the Taliban’s activities there. When a new government took charge in KP province, they had the political will to prove themselves. Code for Pakistan partnered with the new government and the World Bank to run a civic hackathon. Code for Pakistan was able to broker the relationship, and the World Bank added more legitimacy to the effort.

Code for Pakistan’s fellowship program was spun off from the hackathon where they partnered with the government IT board. Sheba says that was great because of the relationships that the IT board in KP province had with IT departments from other governments. Together, they created a six month fellowship (5 projects) in partnership with different departments. During the fellowship, they built a lot of trust by doing simple things like fixing printers and monitors. The team then used that trust to convince the government to hire an operational officer equivalent to a chief technology officer.

Sheba says that building a relationship with government is a gradual process and that organizations should partner with bigger organizations with existing relationships with government.

Jakub Górnicki from Code for Poland spoke about how their cities program started because one person in the City of Gdansk knew of Code for Poland (and that they weren’t crazy) and trusted them to do it. Code for Poland ran a pilot program (which was successful) and turned it from the trust phase to the build phase. After that, the team asked the mayor to help pitch Code for Poland’s program – helping Code for Poland grow. Jakub says that having mayor’s speaking on the city side is the place you want to be. You just have to not screw up.

Another aspect of Code for Poland’s work is to try and  get elected officials to embed openness into their campaigns. One of the goals is to to make openness a competitive political asset.

Jakub noted that one of the aspects about the projects in Gdańsk was they had to be open source. This was a challenge for Code for Poland because they had to explain the benefit of open source despite vendors claiming it ti be more expensive.

One question that Zach had for Code for Australia was how they defined ‘innovation’. Code for Australia’s Alvaro Maz described innovation as a good hack without the technical component. – doing something differently, and you find that you change things a little more, work through the issues, and make  progress that way. When Alvaro talks to people about innovation in government, he’s often speaking from a small steps perspective. He says, “If it’s something that we find that we can do differently, but it’s just doing something under the label of innovation, that’s just doing our work. I don’t think it’s really solving the problem.”

Sheba says that technology can either build or reduce trust – If done right, (where’s my bus, 311 service tracker) it builds trust. However, technology done badly – such as citizen reporting apps that don’t close the loop and alert the city to an issue – can reduce trust.

Zach also asked if – knowing the political resistance to releasing expenditure data – how would the process be different if they had started with that? Jakub states that they didn’t start with the capital because capital cities tend to be more political focused while smaller cities are more interested in governance. This led to focusing on the business case for open data.

Katie Townsend recommends starting with a problem – What are the tools? What are the resources? Who are the people? – and being very steady and methodical.

Code for Australia had one of their fellowship teams do a project where it was only research because the government didn’t have enough funding for an entire project. The team conducted their research through an entrepreneurial  focus within government and they wanted to study the longevity of that problem.

Katie Townsend also says that one of the things that they at USAID was state that because everyone is online and has their own social media profile, the organization can’t expect every message to go through 15 layers of approval because the internet simply moves too quickly.

Jakub ends the panel by saying that there are times where you can’t get the government on your side – in which case get the people on your side.

You can watch the whole panel here.

Code for All is an international network of organizations who believe that digital technology opens new channels for citizens to more meaningfully engage in the public sphere and have a positive impact on their communities.