Community development, Youth participation and empowerment

Virtual micro-communities driving civic change

People using technology that facilitates civic involvement, collaboration and social dialogue to identify and solve specific public problems in their local communities.

Creators

Who is behind this?

Adrian Cristian Ionescu

Asociația Segoia

https://segoia.ro

Romania

Idea

Idea pitch

Every citizen with a smartphone in their pocket can report an issue of public interest or officially propose a solution to the responsible institution, in under 2 minutes. This is possible now via the “Panoul de Bord” platform.
We aim to get more citizens to use it and create, along with other stakeholders, virtual micro-communities around specific problems of interest at local or national level. Increased civic cohesion will determine institutions to shift to a citizen centric philosophy.

Where will your project idea take place?

Romania – at national level, with impact at local level

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

The biggest challenge is to break the vicious circle created by the public institutions not willing to cooperate and the disempowered, distrustful citizens that don’t feel like they have the power to change things, or demand for the problems to be solved.

We believe it is crucial to encourage and help citizens get involved; a first step is to report to public institutions the small things that bother them in the public space – be it a hole in the street, a pile of garbage left uncollected, an abandoned car, etc.
Another difficult task is to convince citizens they need to persist on requesting public institutions to do their “job”, as they tend to abandon after a few tries. There’s a high degree of “rust” in the public administration and things move really slow.

Who are you doing it for?

With this project we are addressing all Romanian citizens, but especially young people for whom using a mobile phone comes natural, thus creating a civic reflex for their entire adult life. The goal is to convince more citizens to use the “Panoul de Bord” platform to report problems or propose solutions to public institutions and also endorse the issues added by other users, thus acting like a micro-community.

There are currently 3000 installations of the app at national level and we aim, through this grant, to reach at least 50000 by the end of project.

We want to facilitate the creation of virtual micro-communities of citizens around problems of interest, by allowing them to select their areas of interest and by allowing them to vote and comment on the issues submitted by others.

How do you plan to get there?

The project aims to further develop and promote the existing digital platform “Panoul de Bord” (The Dashboard), comprised of a mobile application and website, offered free of charge by Asociatia Segoia.
The grant will be used to:
- update the UI of the application and site to make it more user friendly
- introduce new mechanisms that will allow better user engagement and dissemination of the issues introduced by citizens
- add features that will allow citizens, public institutions, NGOs, and other relevant actors to discuss around a particular issue or solution
- add features that will give public institutions access in the platform to update the status of issues and add responses
- identify and implement new types of issues that the citizens can report
- implement new features through which NGOs can engage the community and add calls to action on their specific areas of interest
- run an extensive campaign to promote the application at a larger scale so that more citizens will install and use it
- establish contact with relevant actors to embark them on the platform (institutions, NGOs, policy makers, etc)
- create a network of activists around the country that will drive change in their local communities and promote the use of the platform
- organize at least 5 online presentations to educate and encourage citizens to use the platform

What are the expected results?

Main objectives:
- increase the number of Romanian citizens that installed the app from 3000 to 50000, including younger people, at national level
- increase the number of citizens that have actively engaged in reporting a problem in the public space through “Panoul de Bord” platform from <500 to >5000; and who have developed an increased civic consciousness
- have more open, transparent and performant public institutions by increasing the rate of solved issues from 6.8% to >10% and increase the rate of response from 30% to >50%
- increase the number of NGO partners from 2 to 5, fostering collaboration
- establish collaboration with at least 2 public institutions
- create the premises to shift from a “broken windows” paradigm to a virtuous spiral of civic involvement

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

Every citizen with a smartphone with internet connection in their pocket can report an issue of public interest, or propose a solution, officially, to the responsible institution in under 2 minutes.
The platform facilitates the creation of virtual micro-communities of people around common problems by allowing them to also endorse issues or solutions posted by others, generating a priority list to act upon.
By becoming aware of the fact that they are not alone in their requests, citizens realize their power to change things and this will put pressure on public institutions to offer better public services.
With time, the variety, specificity and complexity of the issues reported on the platform can increase, leading even too law changing initiatives.

Why is this idea important to you?

Adrian Cristian Ionescu – Product Owner, Technical Lead – Over 15 years of experience in software development. I have created the platform Panoul de Bord by myself and since 2017 I’ve played jack of all trades in developing and promoting it.

I’m a Romanian that understands the Romanian society and I’m keenly aware we need to develop a strong civic cohesion and civic empowerment and I believe Panoul de Bord platform can really help with this.

Diana Carmen Ciudin – Project Manager, Administrative Ops – Over 5 years of project management and over 5 years of human resources experience in a large corporation

Very organized, with a keen eye for detail, which makes her a great app tester too :)
She hopes to create a sustainable society where people respect each other.

€ 34000,-

Total budget

€ 34000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

Visual redesign of the platform (mobile app + web site) – 3000 euro
Software development – 18000 euro
Project management – 3000 euro
Platform maintenance – 2000 euro
Communication & public relations, promotion materials – 6000 euro
Administrative expenses – 2000 euro

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

I’m always open to constructive feedback and advice that can help build a stronger, more involved civil society and about ways in which we can use technology to do it, especially the “Panoul de Bord” platform. Interested if it is feasible to use such a platform in other countries.

Team

Asociatia Segoia

Idea created on April 21, 2021
Last edit on April 25, 2021

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