Guestblog contributed by Raphaël Pouyé of CivicTech4Democracy
Seven partners of the Hivos/ARTICLE 19 Open Up Contracting program are participating in the
CivicTech4Democracy Competition. Below an introduction to this new competition.
Civic tech is no passing fad or tech du jour. It might even be more profound than, say, social media, mobile telephony, robotics or the blockchain because it goes straight to the essence of community, the public life that binds us all. Just think about it before you say no:)
It is democratic innovation at its best, as it aims to serve, by means of widely available software, the interests of the many, not the few.
In many ways, civic tech remains a work in progress. Operating often on a relatively small scale, groups of engaged citizens try to make the best of existing technology to make the local political conversation more accessible and representative, to make public policy more transparent, and to hold elected representatives accountable. It is a collective endeavour that requires a minimum of software literacy, a lot of imagination, and a great deal soul-searching.
The CivicTech4democracy Competition
This is what’s so exciting about the emergence of a global civic tech scene, and this is precisely why we have designed the EU’s first global civic tech competition. It aims to showcase democratic innovation by citizens for citizens across the world.
Any person representing a pro-democracy Civic Tech initiative since 2010 – completed or still ongoing – that has made a positive change anywhere in non-OECD countries can enter the EU’s competition.
Three winning projects will be designated by online votes. Since the competition kicked off on 22 May, people have been voting for their favourite projects. Three more winners will be picked by our jury of experts.
The six winning initiatives will be awarded an official EU Prize, as well as a trip to Brussels (16-20 September) to meet European policymakers and civic tech experts – with travel and accommodation costs covered. Representatives of the winning projects will present their initiatives, participate in panel discussions, meet EU officials, at the EU’s civic tech showcase event on 17 September 2018. On the next day, they will take part in the European Parliament’s high-profile event celebrating the International Day of Democracy. Finally, on 19 September, they will be free to have meetings with influential actors of the European civic tech and democratic innovation scene.
The six winning initiatives will also be presented at an exhibition at the European Parliament between 24 and 28 September, and they will feature prominently in the EU’s first Civic Technology Handbook.
Do you want to participate and get a chance to pitch your initiative in the capital of Europe? To enter the competition, all you need to do is upload a video of two minutes maximum describing your initiative here.
Your video should answer these questions: What was the problem? What was your goal? How did your civic tech solution help to address it? How did people benefit from your project? The competition closes on 31 July, but the sooner you upload your video, the more chances you have of having people vote for your initiative.
You can also support your favourite projects by voting on our website: https://civictech4democracy.eu/projects/.
Who we are
The CivicTech4Democracy Competition is organised by ‘‘Supporting Democracy – A Citizen Organisations Programme’, an EIDHR-funded technical assistance programme working with EU Delegations to strengthen the role of local civil society in advocating and monitoring democratic accountability. Our core team is based in Brussels and works with a large international pool of thematic experts. The programme is implemented by a consortium composed of Democracy Reporting International (DRI), the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and Sofreco.
We look forward to discovering your project on the civictech4democracy.eu website!
 The European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) is a thematic funding instrument for EU external action aiming to support projects in the area of human rights, fundamental freedoms and democracy in non-EU countries. This instrument is designed to support civil society to become an effective force for political reform and defence of human rights.