Public Infrastructure #DataRallyFromHome
Published on February 03, 2021 

Pursuing inclusiveness, sustainable development and accountability in budgets is paramount, even more so in a world where the pandemic has aggravated poverty levels and inequality. The COVID-19 emergency relief and response packages have shown how government’s spending is crucial for saving lives, jobs and economic prospects. Our efforts must continue to be vigorous and purposeful, but, at the same time, safe. As such, in 2021, the Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT) will re-launch its two open data use and engagement initiatives through online and remote platforms. The #BetterBudgetDataquest for Sustainable Development and the Public Infrastructure #DataRallyFromHome (formerly #DataOnTheStreets Rally) will go fully VIRTUAL this year.

Evidence is clear: in order to close feedback loops and create a better culture of accountability, transparency is not enough. It is the demand side, the people, the users, who have the potential, with their energy and active participation, to bring about lasting, trustworthy change, change that will hopefully be accompanied by closer relationships between governments and their people.

It is important to note that government-civil society partnerships are light touch and scalable participation initiatives that enable collaboration in semi-formal flexible settings, providing for dialogue among different stakeholders, that can lead to the achievement of specific objectives related to sustainable development. Examples of incorporation of citizen’s inputs that directly impact the budget cycle are the Citizen Participatory Audit in the Philippines, New Zealand’s Wellbeing Budget and MyBudget Initiative in South Korea. Such partnerships bring together the GIFT agenda on different levels, as they: rely on digital publication tools, including the strategic collection of data towards defined purposes, embrace user-centered publication and open data; encourage the adoption of participation mechanisms, while simultaneously establishing bases for collaboration among stakeholders of different sectors; and are strengthened through peer-learning at the international level, as practitioners from civil society and government in different countries co-create the mechanisms and share their specific focus, methods and lessons learned.

With that in mind and considering the rich experiences of the rallies and data quests held since 2016, GIFT is pleased to call on government-civil society partnerships around the world to join our advocacy for inclusiveness and better budgets through public participation initiatives. In 2021, we invite you to host a rally and/or a data quest during the first semester of the year, preferably aligning its launch with the International Open Data Day on March 6th March, or with the Open Government Week from 17 to 21 May, for maximum international resonance.
 
 Public Infrastructure #DataRallyFromHome
 
How it works


Governments, through their ministry of finance, public works department or similar, and one or more civil society organizations, shall launch an open invitation to participate in the Public Infrastructure #DataRallyFromHome. Interested citizens or organizations shall then register for the event and then analyze the availability of information on construction projects' datasets or mapping platforms published with the aim of selecting projects that have the budget, contracting and geo-localization information to enable them to evaluate a project or the infrastructure policy in a specific topic (health, education, sports, etc.).

Participants shall document their findings through social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, etc.), engaging their own network. At the end, representatives from government and civil society organizations (coordinated by GIFT), shall choose the winners based on the number of projects analyzed, their creativity, engagement and, of course, the comprehensiveness of their data analysis.

What do you need to host your own Rally?
  • Available open datasets of public construction projects being built or finished from national or subnational level. The data must at least have the following data points: descriptive name of the project, its geolocation, budget allocation, financial progress, and physical progress,
  • If available, it is best to have the data paired with visualizations, such as maps and photos,
  • A government and/or a civil society convener. The initiative can be initiated from either side, what is important is that work is done collaboratively,
  • A team in charge of dissemination, answering participant questions, following posts and counting points,
  • If you are a government, it is very important important that you devise a mechanism for follow-up onto the participants’ results, so that this collective effort is purposeful and impactful,
  • Take into account and mainstream as many of GIFT’s Public Participation Principles in Fiscal Policies in your Dataquest design and implementation,
  • Let us know that you want to host a Rally through sending an email to Aura Martinez at aura@fiscaltransparency.net.
 
How has this worked in the past? 

We’ve had such amazing results in previous editions, with impactful projects still rolling out in many of the participant countries. Please see our last edition post.

Any questions or further information? 

Please contact Aura Martínez at aura@fiscaltransparency.net, we are happy to help you navigate this effort, build coalitions and offer technical support.

This project is supported by the OGP Multi-Donor Trust Fund.

Awards

As in past editions, we will be partnering with members of our network to further build enthusiasm by rewarding our global winning teams.






 
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