Strengthening Transparency and Citizen Engagement with Tech

By Michael Suantak

Just after the voice of the people was truly heard in the November Elections and the newly elected democratic government was installed, Phandeeyar organized a major event for more than 70 civil society leaders interested in using technology to strengthen transparency and citizen engagement.

To learn what civic tech projects these leaders and their groups had implemented since Tech Camp, Phandeeyar organized a “Civic Tech Knowledge Share” in August. The purpose of this event was to learn about participant experiences implementing tech projects after Tech Camp.

The groups that spoke at the event included:

Myanma Fifth Estate (civic tech startup): Launched Open Hluttaw, a mobile web platform that promotes political accountability among citizens and government by providing an open database of information on the country’s 440 national parliamentarians. Myanma Fifth Estate uses creative digital marketing strategies to drive Facebook engagement between citizens and their newly elected representatives. Open Hluttaw will be adding data from regional parliaments and working with issue-based advocacy groups in the months ahead. 
Civic Tech Share Event

Open Hluttaw founder, Ko Soe Lin Htoot

  • iSchool Myanmar (technology and accountability organization): Launched “Inclusive Technology for All,” a campaign for inclusive technology that has reached more than 50,000 Myanmar residents. Campaign data demonstrates the potential for using technology to improve the civic participation of persons with disabilities, approximately up to 2.3 million Myanmar residents.

Rainbow Organization (human rights organization): Organized ten grassroots organizations from Mandalay region to use social media advocacy tools through a first-ever tech conference organized in Letpanhla. Participating organizations used Facebook and smartphone applications to drive support for relief efforts related to flooding that occurred in Mandalay in July. Ma Gyi Pwint is an activist who has worked on human rights, equality and the rule of law for more than ten years. 

At the event, participants discussed what they had learned, experiences from their sector, and impressions about civic tech projects. Technologists who attended suggested having more opportunities to engage with civil society organizations would be useful; they often do not have the chance to learn about the issues they are working on.

Do you have an idea about how to use technology for social impact? Please come to our monthly tech meet-ups and tell us!

TechCamp Myanmar was an event organized to provide civil society organizations interested in technology with opportunities to explore how they can use the internet and digital tools to strengthen and deepen broader citizen engagement on critical issues to be considered by the newly elected government. The event and follow-on grants that were awarded to the three organization featured in this blog post were supported with funding from the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Embassy Rangoon.