Lots of star projects sparking in the Fall edition of Gov2u, with iMENTORS, the most comprehensive e- infrastructures data map of Sub-Saharan Africa leading the way with its launch earlier this year and being joined by Botswana Speaks, a parliamentary initiative that better connects citizens with the elected representatives of the Botswana National Assembly, while Uspeak Uganda makes its comeback with a nationwide pilot in Uganda!
STORK 2.0 will also be grabbing its share of limelight as a guest at the upcoming OMNICARD 2013 Conference this January in Berlin. Omnicard is the largest event of its kind in Central Europe and occupies a leading position among IT events in the continent. Eric Smith, STORK 2.0 partner from BUAS, will present the eBanking pilot during this event.
That’s not to say that the rest of our projects fall shy, as they are all projects bestowed with our strong commitment and dedication to the principles and values of the causes we believe in and support. After thirty-two fruitful months of vigorous activity, WeGov, one of our partner projects has reached its completion! Meanwhile, MyUniversity, SPOCS and STORK 2.0 continue their activities strongly!
As an e-democracy promoting NGO, Gov2u stands strongly behind its belief that e-Participation, e-Inclusion and e-Governance are the way to enable and strengthen civil participation in causes that matter to each and every one of us.
In the fall edition of our Gov2u newsletter, our team will share the latest updates on projects we are currently participating in, upcoming events and interesting tidbits that have caught our interest.
With this said we hope you enjoy catching up on our latest!
The Gov2u Newsletter Team
If there’s something you wish to share or have a topic you would like to see featured in our winter edition, be sure to drop us a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our project updates
iMENTORS, which was launched earlier in 2012 by Stockholm University and Gov2u is the only e-infrastructure mapping project to date. It will cover all e-infrastructures of the past five years in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). E-infrastructures are networked tools, data and resources that support a community of researchers, broadly including all those who participate in and benefit from research.
The overall objective of this EU co-funded project is to enhance the coherence and effectiveness of international actors involved in e-infrastructures development projects and initiatives in SSA. The aim is to provide valuable insights on the gaps and progress made in the region. This will enhance the coordination of international actors involved in information and communication technology (ICT) initiatives in SSA.
A unique platform will be created, aiming to provide policy support and networking functions to improve the coordination of international cooperation in this field. The project builds on the results of previous EU-funded projects and follows the conclusions of international conferences on the need to provide tools in support of policy development and programme implementations, by creating more networking opportunities between the various stakeholder groups involved in e-infrastructure developments. In this framework, the project seeks to involve those who have a direct stake in the development of e-infrastructures in the region to ensure that the proposed solution will rest on stakeholder input and feedback.
The project will:
Provide policy support by identifying and monitoring all on-going e-infrastructure projects in Sub-Saharan Africa, perform benchmarking and impact assessments
Enhance aid coordination and collaboration by providing insight on e-infrastructure development projects and through the platform’s collaborative features (knowledge sharing) for development of new e-infrastructure development projects
Promote e-infrastructures of common interest to Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa through extensive dissemination activities (workshops, conferences, communication).
iMENTORS is a project co-funded by the European Commission’s DG CONNECT under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).
Notable event for iMENTORS in the next couple of months:
In a continuous effort to enhance participation and direct communication between citizens and their elected representatives, the Botswana Speaks Parliamentary Initiative project was launched on Monday 8 October at the Parliament of Botswana. The project aims to enable the National Assembly enhance work efficiency and increase policy responsiveness with constituencies through the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). SIDA (the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency) co-funds this project with a consortium of multiple partners: the Parliament of Botswana, eGovlab at the University of Stockholm/ Department of Computer and Systems Sciences (DSV) and Gov2u.
Botswana Speaks Parliamentary Initiative is an eDemocracy project that will enable citizens, traditional leaders and local kgotla assemblies in four constituencies of Botswana to share their views and policy concerns with their elected representative. During the official kick-off meeting, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Dr Margaret Nasha showed her full support to the initiative. She pointed out the lack of participation of the youth in the democratic process: “Young people do not attend kgotlas. They are hardly ever there as they feel out of place." Therefore, in the use of new technologies she sees a way of engaging the youth more systematically in politics: “We want to take our young people on board", she mentioned emphatically.
The project will run for 18 months, with a pilot phase scheduled to start in four constituencies in April 2013. Four Members of the Parliament are involved in this pilot project in the constituencies of Hon. Rayner B. Makosha (Nata/Gweta), Hon. Slumber Tsogwane (Boteti North), Hon. Odirile Motlhale (South East South) and Hon. Tawana Moremi (Maun West). These MPs will be able to gather citizens’ views and input on issues and policies discussed in the Parliament via text messages and via a web platform.
8 October 2012, Press Conference at the Parliament of Botswana, Public signing of Memorandum of Understanding On the left, Vasilis Koulolias, Director of eGovlab. On the right, Barbara N. Dithapo, Clerk of the National Assembly
Widely praised for its long established practice of popular consultation and levels of social cohesion, Botswana’s case constitutes a prime example of the way in which traditional structures can be successfully integrated within contemporary administrative structures. Financial allowances have put a strain on the interaction between Members of Parliaments and their local electorates through consultation missions. But what if there is a tool that can be used by citizens to express policy preferences and provide feedback on policy implementation instantly and at minimal costs? According to Vasilis Koulolias, Programme Director of Botswana Speaks and Director of Stockholm University’s eGovlab, the project "aims to build trust between elected representatives and citizens by fostering communication."
It’s always great to see one of our projects star in a comeback this past July!
Uspeak Uganda successfully carried out its first pilot in 2010, while just this past July it kicked off in a nationwide scaling up! The total duration of this Nationwide Pilot is 6 months.
The Parliament of Uganda and NDI, in partnership with Gov2U, developed UsPeak, an innovative system for citizens to communicate with their representatives and help lawmakers respond to citizens’ needs. The system is designed to help MPs gather information from constituents, organize reports and set priorities for responses, while recognizing the challenges they face, such as limited resources and few or no full-time staff.
The tool allows constituents to share their views and request information on issues from MPs by text message, voicemail or by leaving a message with the UsPeak call center. UsPeak then aggregates the reports and requests by issue, which allows MPs to track the information, including number of contacts and types of issues, and compare them to the number of messages received by other lawmakers on these issues.
"This system is providing, first and foremost, communications capacity for us, as MPs, to help us keep in constant communications with our constituents. Where I come from, in the Ssese Islands [on Lake Victoria], about 54 of which are inhabited, it’s almost impossible to communicate with everybody."
Tim Lwanga, Chair of parliament’s Budget Committee
The UsPeak system will be thoroughly tested for six months before the Parliamentary Commission, chaired by the speaker and responsible for the administration of parliament, decides whether to provide the system to MPs in all constituencies.
The U-speak module has been built to facilitate any type of discussion, but has been tested in the framework of Parliamentary transparency and engagement. The tool can be used in any environment and can be adapted to suit all policy-priorities.
SPOCS (Simple Procedures Online for Cross-border Services) is one of the five Large Scale Pilot projects (LSPs) launched by EC in 2009. SPOCS aims to build the next generation of online portals (Point of Single Contact or PSC), which every European country now has in place, through the availability of high impact cross - border electronic procedures for setting up a business in another EU country in the context of the Services Directive.
In the framework of the Single Market Week (15-19/10/2012) for the 20th anniversary of the EU Single Market, the Greek authorities in collaboration with the Delegation of the EU in Greece organized various activities at the National Centre for Public Administration & Local Government from the 18th to the 19th October 2012. The EU co-funded projects SPOCS and STORK 2.0 were present with a booth at the exhibition of the conference regarding the opportunities and potentials of the Single Market Act of the EU and the free movement of services in the Single Market. Gov2u is the Dissemination leader of SPOCS and subcontractor to Scytl in the dissemination of STORK 2.0.
20 Years of The Single Market-Together for the New Growth SPOCS-STORK 2.0 booth Athens, Greece 18-19 October, 2012
The idea behind the Single Market is simplicity itself: treat the EU as one territory where people, money, goods and services interact freely to stimulate competition and trade and improve efficiency. The increased choice of goods and services will raise quality and cut prices. It is the basic recipe for prosperity.
The Single Market is one of the European Union’s greatest achievements. This year, we mark the 20th anniversary of the Single Market, which has not only fuelled economic growth but has also become a part of the everyday life of Europeans.
Notable events for the SPOCS project in the next couple of months:
Building on the success and results of STORK project, STORK 2.0 (Secure idenTity acrOss boRders linKed 2.0) goes a step further towards the creation of a single framework and infrastructure for cross-border electronic identification and authentication (eID) in the EU.
Launched in April 2012, this 3-year EU co-funded project will be a key-enabler to support the open, competitive digital economy envisaged in the Europe 2020 Strategy, thus contributing to Europe’s leadership in the field of eID and facilitating borderless digital living and mobility in the EU.
Involving 58 consortium partners in total from 19 EU Member States and Associated Countries, STORK 2.0 extends the STORK functionalities to the next step. It will cover authentication of physical persons with power of attorney or mandated to represent legal persons. Furthermore, STORK 2.0 aims to address a better convergence of public and private sector e.g. supporting more attribute providers for secure exchange of extended attribute sets and defining new business models for eID as a Service Offering.
Moreover, four pilots will run for 12 months from 2014, focusing on eLearning and Academic Qualifications, eBanking, Public Services for Business and eHealth to demonstrate the capabilities and benefits of interoperable eID in a real-world environment.
World e-ID Congress, 19-21 September 2012 World e-ID Congress strengthens its global approach through a larger panel of most innovative and significant e-ID projects for Government, Healthcare & Enterprise around the globe. Frank Leyman, Manager of International Relations in FEDICT and STORK 2.0 partner, presented STORK 2.0 on September 20th, 2012 during the morning session of “National & International e-ID Programs in 2012 – Part 1".
IT Forum-“Europe goes online", Cologne Germany, 24-25 September 2012 STORK 2.0 was presented in IT Forum - “Europe goes online" Arvid Welin, WP8 Dissemination, Communication and Marketing Leader, and Jon Shamah, STORK 2.0 partner, participated in the cross LSP Roadshow. The IT Forum – "Europe goes online" – was held in Cologne, Germany on September 24th – 25th, 2012 in the Higher Regional Court Cologne, in a 101 year old historical building.
STORK 2.0 was presented along with the rest of LSPs (e-CODEX, PEPPOL, SPOCS, epSOS) and the national e-Justice and e-Government sectors in booths which were at the exhibition area to inform visitors about their projects.
Nordic eGovernment Conference 2012, 26 September 2012 STORK 2.0 presented at Nordic eGovernment Conference 2012 Arvid Welin, WP8 Dissemination, Communication and Marketing Leader, presented STORK 2.0 at the Nordic eGovernment Conference 2012 on Wednesday 26th September 2012. The title of the presentation was "STORK 2.0: extending eID authentication across Europe for Citizens and Businesses."
Notable events for the STORK 2.0 project in the next couple of months:
"3rd annual Health 2.0 Europe conference" Berlin 6-7 November, 2012 "eGovernment Conference" Cyprus 3-4 December, 2012 5th International Conference Central European Electronic Card-WARSAW 2012 5th-6th December, 2012 STORK 2.0 will participate in the OMNICARD 2013 Conference, Berlin 15-17 January 2013
After thirty-two fruitful months of vigorous activity, Gov2u as a member of the WeGov partners is pleased to announce that the project which was officially launched January 2010, has successfully reached its completion as of the end of September 2012. The WeGov project (Where eGovernment meets the eSociety) aimed to improve the engagement between government policy-makers and citizens via popular social networking sites.
The final and most exciting period of the WeGov has been full of enthusiastic activity. Among the project's most remarkable highlights is the 2nd WeGov workshop "WeGov Toolbox - Politicians engage with Citizens" that took place within the IFIP EGOV 2012, on the 5th September 2012. The aim of the workshop was to demonstrate the final version of the WeGov toolbox to the scientific community of e-governance and e-government, showcase the implementation of the WeGov field trials (use-cases), present the implications of the WeGov solution for policy-makers, and explore potential use-cases and end-users. Overall the 2nd WeGov Workshop was successful, providing a fruitful discussion and impressive ideas; but mostly bringing to light wonderful opportunities for social media assisting policy-makers engagement with their citizenry and stimulated stakeholders' interest in future take-up.
WeGov partners successfully raised remarkable awareness of the project and its added value, via an array of dissemination channels & tools. Another activity that can be indicated as a major project highlight would be the organization of the Hansard Society/WeGov event "More heat than light? Can social media inform policy-making?". It took place on the 11th September 2012, in Westminster, London (UK). The event was embraced with great enthusiasm providing a fruitful discussion on the ways which social media could be utilized in the policy-making process.
WeGov partners are proud to acknowledge that they have successfully raised awareness about the project and its added value; stimulated stakeholders' motivation and encouraged their participation in the WeGov field trials; built trust, and contributed to the enhancement of the WeGov software solution's competitive advantage.
Find more on the finalized WeGov toolbox, the WeGov field trials & 2nd Workshop results, as well as WeGov Highlights in the final project press release published on the 16th October 2012.
Finally, September is always associated with a “back to school" feeling for most people! In the MyUniversity project case, this is definitely good news! After the summer vacation, the participating Universities are now resuming their activities and their efforts in contributing to the success of this project dedicated to the European Higher Education. All portals are up and running and in use by all University groups and all primary statistics are very positive and encouraging.
September also signals the end of the second year of the project. A lot has been accomplished in this period and there are still much more to do until the end of the project next spring. However, as we reflect not only on the successes but also on the difficulties any aspiring project of such magnitude eventually faces, we strongly believe that the legacy of MyUniversity project will be the establishment of a participative process commonly shared by all groups of people who are involved in the higher education area – that is, all the people that the project was designed for. This can only give us hope that the project will be continuing long after its completion.
MyUniversity project has been active in the social media since the beginning of 2011 and up to now we have been all keeping busy with sharing news and information about the project through Facebook, Twitter and Slideshare.
It seems that Twitter is a project favorite, since there has been a gigantic increase in the number of the project followers: since last October, we have seen an increase of over 1.250% in our followers! This outcome makes everyone happy about our efforts and makes us more willing and motivated to go on with the same zest and enthusiasm. A big thank you to all who are following us and reading our news on all social media!
MyUniversity in the Conference Scene
Since our previous issue, MyUniversity partners participated in and presented our project in three major National / International events:
EUPRIO (European Universities Public Relations & Information Officers) Conference, Gothenburg, Sweden, 6-9 September, 2012
VUA General Meeting 2012, Nitra, Slovakia, 12 September, 2012
MyUniversity partner University Rey Juan Carlos of Spain (URJC) has secured a presentation slot at INFORMS 2012 Annual Meeting that will take place in Phoenix, AZ (USA) on October 14-17. The theme of the meeting, INFORMATICS RISING, blends the growing role of OR/MS techniques for understanding natural and artificial systems and coupling with computing and communication technologies to drive decision making for enriching our personal lives and enhancing our professional activity.
At the International Symposium: The Alan Turing Legacy that will be held in Madrid (October 23-24). This is one of the many events that will take place globally, as 2012 sees the commemoration of the centenary of the birth of one of the most outstanding figures of the 20th century, the British mathematician Alan Matheson Turing.