4. Citizen power is awesome.
In addition to Mr. Park and government employees from DC and others, there were representatives from parliamentary monitoring organizations in 10 countries. Some track voting information, others budgets. In Latvia, manabalss.lv is helping citizens write laws. Once they meet popular support requirements, they are run past lawyers to ensure they meet basic requirements, then parliament has to put them to a vote. This video
explains how it works (don't forget to click the closed-captioned button, unless of course you speak Latvian). Daniela Silva attended Transparency Camp in 2009, went back to her native Brazil and started Transparencia Hacker
, a group more than 900 people strong that works to turn public data into useable applications. When they bought a bus (photo below) and converted it into a mobile classroom to teach citizens how to add information to open-source map applications, they tapped an unexpected demographic. Kids popped up wherever the bus went, so Daniela and her friends are tailoring activities for them, from Internet 101 to mapping digital photos taken around Brazil. These are just a few examples of the many amazing groups that attended Transparency Camp. Some focused on their county, or their city. I, along with new friends from AidData
, the World Bank
, Transparency International
and others, made up the international development contingent.