#DigitalAgainstCOVID19 Innovation Challenge: Meet the Finalists
In 2020, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Open Government Partnership (OGP) launched an innovation challenge to explore how to leverage digital technology to strengthen the monitoring of COVID-19-related spending and improve feedback and grievance redressal mechanisms. We heard from over 40 teams of innovators in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.
At the end of January, the four finalist teams pitched their solutions to a panel of judges. The winning team, GoodGovPH, will receive 10,000 USD or more to pilot their Bantay Bayan Chatbot idea in the Philippines and other interested ADB’s developing member countries.
The Open Government Partnership will also provide follow up mentoring, peer exchange and networking opportunities to all four finalists.
Meet the finalists:
- GoodGovPH: Bantay Bayan Chatbot
- CivicDataLab: Fiscal Data Explorer
- Global Ground Media: Tracking Millions Myanmar
- Citizens’ Budget Tracker
Social inclusion has been a major focus of GoodGovPH’s work during the pandemic. They’ve been working to ensure that everybody – regardless of their background – has access to healthcare, social aid and assistance. Due to information gaps to distribution inefficiencies and alleged corruption, many vulnerable citizens have not received the aid they need.
That’s where the Bantay Bayan Chatbot comes in. Bantay Bayan Chatbot is an AI software that simulates a conversation with users and delivers real-time assistance about their questions and concerns on the government’s social welfare programs and shares feedback with relevant government offices.
The GoodGovPH team plans to make the chatbot multilingual, integrate it through other messaging platforms, connect users to a volunteer help desk when human touch is required and more.
The lack of essentials like the availability of disaggregated data, transparency and accountability, and tools for collaboration and participation have made fiscal transparency challenging in India during the pandemic.
Through the COVID-19 Fiscal Data Explorer, the CivicDataLab team seeks to deliver timely fiscal information, interactive dashboards, comparative analysis, and district-wide recommendations to adjust financial priorities and budgetary allocations.
CivicDataLabs plans to set up automatic scrapers, mining algorithms, open source timeline tools, and analytical tools to the Fiscal Data Explorer and expand the prototype to other Indian states.
It’s costly and time-consuming for civil society organizations and media to research procurement contracts in Myanmar as many reports are low resolution and non-searchable PDFs.
The COVID-19 Fund Tracker will gather data and make it more accessible for users by providing information on procurement contracts, awarded companies and their directors, and sanctions and zooms in on the procured products and their prices all in one website. By providing full and easy access to procurement information, civil society and the media can fulfill their role as government watchdogs.
The Global Ground Media team will continue to host the COVID-19 Fund Tracker and explore opportunities for partnerships with other media organizations. They are planning to add information from government validation reports, historical company data for full insight into possible conflicts of interest and options for citizens and whistleblowers to securely share information.
People are often excluded and disconnected from the larger public budget system that is supposed to serve them.
The Citizens’ Budget Tracker is a community-led effort that communicates the status of funds to address the COVID-19 crisis, and also empowers people to advocate for better budgets and hold power to account. It brings together everyday citizens to collaborate to know, care and engage in the budget process (tracking, research and advocacy) and promote political participation and social accountability through digital technology.
Moving forward, the Citizens’ Budget Tracker team will focus on deepening relationships in their network of advocates and community organizers, including CSOs, the media and key government agencies and exploring ways to sustain the work beyond the pandemic. The team is also looking forward to training younger budget advocates to help more people become active citizens.
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