Podcast guest Lindsey Marchessault
On this week’s Democracy that Delivers podcast, Lindsey Marchessault from Open Contracting Partnership discusses opening up public contracting through disclosure and data engagement so that public money is spent honestly, fairly, and effectively. Marchessault talks about how this is done and the problems that open contracting is trying to address. She provides interesting examples of projects in countries such as Ukraine and Nigeria, and discusses the different roles played by government, the private sector, and civil society in developing impactful and sustainable change. Marchessault also discusses the kind of support and resources available for those who want to implement open contracting, and gives her advice on the most important first step in any open contracting initiative.
Follow Lindsey on Twitter and learn more about the Open Contracting Partnership.
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Maiko Nakagaki with Anna Kompanek at IGF.
My colleague and I recently attended the 11th Internet Governance Forum (IGF), a United Nations-sponsored global multi-stakeholder forum on internet governance hosted this year in Guadalajara by the Government of Mexico. The four-day event attracted over a thousand government, media, civil society, and private sector attendees from around the world to discuss current trends and the future of global internet governance.
Every year hundreds of people come together for the Monitoring, Evaluation, Research, and Learning (MERL) in Development Tech Conference. The MERL Tech Conference – this year hosted in Washington, D.C.— brings together practitioners, from a number of international development sectors, to exchange ideas on innovative ways to use technology to collect, analyze, and use data. My colleague, CIPE Senior Evaluation Officer Denise Baer, and I attended the conference in search of ideas of how to best handle the “responsible data” CIPE collects from its partners. We also partnered with representatives from Sonjara, The Engine Room, and Reboot to co-lead a conference session entitled “The Lifecycle of Responsible Data.”
Panelists Maggie McDonough (on monitor), Gigi Raffo (center), and Blair Glencorse (right) with moderator Maiko Nakagaki.
International development organizations are increasingly recognizing the importance of engaging youth in efforts to improve governance around the world. Youth in most societies are consistently more adept at using technology and recognizing its impact. Harnessing their energy and creativity to improve government policies and service delivery, through incorporating youth ideas and feedback, is a focus for a number of programs developed by CIPE and other organizations.
This week’s podcast is a recording of an event CIPE co-hosted yesterday with OpenGovHub. The event was held in honor of International Youth Day, which took place on August 12. The event was a panel discussion on the topic Leveraging Youth and Technology for Governance Reform. The discussion was moderated by CIPE’s Program Officer for Global Programs Maiko Nakagaki.
Secure messaging apps like Telegram have become an increasingly important part of NGO and civil society work in many countries.
What makes CIPE’s programs stand out is the caliber of our partners. From developing the first ever local business agendas in Ukraine, sparking economic policy debates for the first time in Nepal, to leading the private sector cooperate with local governments and security forces to combat insecurity in Tijuana, Mexico, CIPE partners around the world are doing tremendous work to create a more sustainable democratic and economic communities.
During this process, however, many of them face risks while operating in challenging – and sometimes dangerous – environments. It may be because they exist in countries where civil society is facing a challenge; or it might because powerful companies are closely tied with the ruling political party. Whatever the reason, CIPE understands that all our partners take risks by challenging the status quo. To this end, CIPE has supported our partners to maneuver in difficult environments by equipping them with mobile or online tools that could lower their risks.
NOTE: As you explore the tools, please keep these points in your mind.
- Despite the sophistication of the tools mentioned below, organizations should not rely solely on digital security for their safety, even if they are being careful. Many authoritarian governments are digitally savvy, so in some environments it is impossible to be 100% secure. Organizations should make sure they are following all the laws and regulations (even if they are burdensome), and that they are not communicating in ways that would put individuals at risk, even if they were compromised.
- Carefully review and understand the privacy policies of any tools before using them.
- Adopting new technology is like a behavior change – it takes time and effort, so be patient if your organization decides to adopt and use one of the tools for your organization.
The following are some suggested tools and strategies that CIPE has shared with our community. They are common threats and risks associated with using certain ICTs, as well as possible products and strategies to consider using to improve your organization’s security measures.
One of the exciting initiatives I’m leading here at CIPE is to support our partners become better equipped with low-cost online or mobile tools that could improve their operations or programs. Our network of partners do tremendous work – whether that’s developing business and leadership skills in young Peruvians from across the country or igniting debates on economic policies in Nepal – often in challenging environments with limited budgets.
Their work would be even more powerful if they had knowledge on latest technology tools that could make their work more efficient – and that’s where my initiative comes in. We assess the technological environment in which our partners operate, and try to understand in what areas they are looking to enhance their capacity. Based on this information, CIPE worked with our technical expertise partner, Panoply Digital, to support the growth of our partners by equipping them with useful technologies that would make their work more productive.
To this end, CIPE and Panoply Digital led a workshop in Lagos back in February. We trained the Association of Nigerian Women Business Network (ANWBN), a collation of women’s business and professional associations in Nigeria. ANWBN is in midst of preparing to develop a national business agenda, a set of policy reform recommendations to address the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs, and they reached out to CIPE to learn tech tools that could add value during this process.
In this month’s Feature Service article, I explain the main takeaways from CIPE’s experience working with ANWBN to improve the coalition members’ ability to lead technology-enabled advocacy efforts for women entrepreneurs in Nigeria. This included:
- ANWBN operates in a very challenging and frustrating technological environment, including low bandwidth, limited access to connectivity, and frequent power outages
- All ANWBN members used mobile services and used tem as part of their business communication
- Because advocacy is the main upcoming activity for ANWBN, the strategies focused on teaching ANWBN members with applicable tools that would feed into its national business agenda process, including data collection, research, and communications
To learn more about the specific tools that were taught, as well as the adoption rate of the tools that were introduced, read the latest Economic Reform Feature Service article.
Maiko Nakagaki is a Program Officer for Global Programs at CIPE.
Alexis Bonnell (@alexisbonnell) from USAID’s Global Development Lab (@GlobalDevLab) talks about how innovation is changing the way development work is done around the world, harnessing 21st century technology to create more development impact, and how some of the most effective innovation tools can be both simple and inexpensive. Bonnell also talks about what it takes to have a successful career in international development today. Learn more at www.globalinnovationexchange.org.
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