The project focuses on the importance of open data and its role in strengthening democracy by providing citizens of Ukraine a tangible way to hold governments more accountable and create useful tools to city inhabitants.
TechSoup empowers civil society through social technology and innovation. Under this mission, we have been working in Ukraine since 2015 to strengthen civic engagement around public open data, including direct work with local authorities, as well as mobilizing a nation-wide community of CSOs and social activists around open data.
Apps4Cities started in June 2016 and last for 6 months. Apps4Cities or “Дані міст” is a joint project of TechSoup Europe and Civil Network OPORA a renown Ukrainian watchdog organization with branches in main cities across the country supported by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
The process, which combines data research and sourcing with an app challenge, was inaugurated during Personal Democracy Forum Ukraine, an international gathering of transparency and accountability activists. A series of educational and community building meetups followed the event, leading to sourcing ideas and developing projects in challenge format. In order to facilitate access to open public data, an open source platform was set up and 166 public data sets gathered there; many of which were published for the first time thanks to FOIA requests sent by OPORA.
The next part of the project was Apps4Cities Challenge – a competition for the best city apps built upon publicly available open data.
The format of the competition gave everyone an opportunity to develop services which would be useful to city inhabitants and encouraged cross-sectoral cooperation between team members and a variety of different community stakeholders. All teams developed their products based on publicly available data. Three winners were determined by the jury, while one team was selected by the people through online voting.
Meet the winner apps which make the life easier for the city dwellers:
- “Directly” – a mobile application that will map the nearest toilets and pave the shortest way to them;
- “Open School” – service for monitoring public schools in Ukraine in regards to number of students per class, educational level, achievements of students and teachers, etc.;
- “AllMuseums” – an app that aims at collecting relevant information about all museums in the country, in particular – the days of free visits for different categories of citizens;
- “Electronic system for monitoring utilities usage” – an online tool that will help you inform and analyze usage of utilities by public institutions in selected cities.