In two countries in Latin America, CI members are showing how the use of ICT tools (web 2.0, social networks or mobile phones) can improve the participation of citizens in regulatory processes. ASPEC (Peru) and CDC (El Salvador) are focussing on water.
The project, entitled "Citizenship, collaborative technologies and regulation" is sponsored by Canada's International Development Research Institute (IDRC). It started in March 2011 and was planned to end in February 2013, with CI's Hubert Linders as project coordinator.
The project consists of an investigation into the use of modern communication technologies (web-based and/or using mobile phones) to increase the participation of citizens in regulation processes.
It is being run as a pilot in El Salvador and Peru, and focuses on the regulation of (and access to) water and sanitation, with the aim of replicating the project in other countries and other public services areas when successful. Both participating organisations had some delays and this is why we are proposing an extension of the project for four months to ensure maximum impact.
Latin America focus
The work kicked off with a project introduction and capacity building workshop for both CI members from El Salvador and Peru to which representatives of members from surrounding countries were invited (Bolivia, Chile, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Venezuela).
Because the project involves the use of new tools and technologies, it was decided that a network of 'digital natives' would be created who would support the participating organisations for one year. In addition to the project extension, a follow-up digital native network has been proposed linking this project to CI's work on broadband access.
As part of the project, a dedicated website and a blog were set up where more information on the project and its participants can be found (www.empodere.se). There is also a section with examples of tools and websites that promote citizen's empowerment.
Separately, an investigation was carried out on the transparency of the regulation of public services in Latin America. It showed that while the regulator's websites show all the legally-required data, information that could help consumers when dealing with service providers generally is missing.
The results of the project, together with the findings of the above-mentioned investigation, will lead to the publication of recommendations for regulating bodies on how to improve the participation of citizens and a manual for consumer organisations on how to replicate the project.
If you would like a copy of the project proposal, or any other information, please contact Hubert at firstname.lastname@example.org