The winner is… everyone who can learn from you
Awards are a funny thing. Almost everyone loves getting one, but no one should really aim for them. Especially when you’re doing “social” work, right? So, it’s fair to ask why you should care about the recently launched 2016 Open Government Awards.
I’ll try to give a few answers to that question as one of this year’s judges but mostly as part of DATA Uruguay, the organization that together with the Public Health Ministry had the honor of being awarded last year’s first prize with ATuServicio.uy.
I’ll start precisely by referring to our organization. As most of you, we are understaffed, overworked and underfunded (but loving what we’re doing) and even when awards don’t really solve those issues, they do go a long way in getting some much needed attention at home and abroad. It’s not about fame obviously, but the kind of attention that helps a project survive and reach sustainability, that which can “level-up” an organization, opening doors, ears and minds. We can attest to that.
This year civil society organizations take the stage as the primary applicants, which is amazing in my opinion. And a great opportunity! Open government can’t be done by government alone, and this is a step in recognizing the fundamental role of co-creation in ambitious open government reforms. It’s a healthy practice for the community as a whole to emphasize this, specially with 2016’s theme; “Making Transparency Count”. Transparency is one of OGP’s foundational values, and can easily be dismissed as simply an obligation for governments. Well, if you know how much can be done from outside government to foster transparency, think hard, you might have a winner…
It’s not about big flashy initiatives, huge budgets or massive-scale impact (although those never hurt). Take it from the guys with the small, half-voluntary project from the small country of Uruguay. Great ideas come in all shapes, sizes and languages, and what matters most is if you think what you’ve done deserves to be told. Share your story and expand your work’s impact. Prove naysayers wrong and show us all that difficult open government reforms can be achieved.
The worst thing that can happen is getting eyeballs from around the world to get to know your project, even if it doesn’t end up winning. Don’t miss out and visit the Awards website for more details on how you can participate. I, personally, very much look forward to reading about your awesome work.