Civil Society app is a powerful platform, based on common decision making, social entrepreneurship and social impact investment. It has some innovations, which provide citizens with new possibilities for cooperation and solving various problems, improving their environment, implementing the most relevant, progressive and demanded ideas in communities as well as global initiatives. It can involve different groups of actors for better synergy effect and provides cross-cutting benefits
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- Civil Society app (web-version https://gurtom.mobi) was selected by the ISOC as one of the best worldwide initiative for community development with a help of the Internet;
- Providing pilot implementation within program «Active Citizen» of the British Council in Ukraine and project “OVERCOMING CORRUPTION: CITIZENS' ASSOCIATIONS AND TECHNOLOGY” supported by the US Embassy.
- In March 2016 our team became the finalist of the first Chelengton "Moving forward for Ukraine" in the American house. After 2 weeks our designed solution “Beacon”, based on the Civil Society app, has received Award at the International TechCamp Reunion (Riga).
- Now we create "Beacon" to support implementation of the "participatory budget" by local self-governments as well as for new pilot with the State Emergancy Service.
How does your innovation work?
CIVIL SOCIETY APP 1.0. brief* description of the main tools
Civil Society app 1.0. is a powerful tool for co-governance by citizens. The Civil Society app provides citizens with new possibilities for cooperation and solving various problems, improving their environment, implementing the most relevant, progressive and demanded ideas in communities as well as global initiatives. For this purposes the Civil Society app 1.0. has next basic functions: income, accumulation and management of the resources, different algorithms for common decision-making, further transformation of resources into outputs and social impact, support of informational environment.
The main goal of the developers' team for the first release is creation of the app, which has all the necessary functionality for its further development by users based on their cooperation and self-government. Created application tools are conventionally divided into 4 modules: decision-making, social investment, social entrepreneurship, and the information environment. Decision-making tools may be used by members of various associations (condominiums, NGOs, political parties, co-investors of program, local communities), local authorities, as well as for primaries, elections and the exit polls. Usually, a person cannot be competent in all areas so most of the Civil Society app's tools allow users to act directly or intermediary at their own discretion. For example, during decision-making for concrete question user can vote directly, or delegate his\her voice to the respected expert with the ability to revoke his\her voice at any time before making a decision. There are also next additional services: trust list (to delegate voice with targeting for difference types and spheres), user's identification with a help of payment method and BankID (to minimize risk of fakes etc.), and user profile information. App's uses Twitter as a platform for discussions with the ability to use other specialised external resources. App's has its own unit of account “ICAN” for using in volunteer systems, and financial system ready for providing an unlimited number of private currency, which can be emitted by the users themselves.
Web-version of the Civil Society app is available on https://gurtom.mobi for Ukraine, and available in UA, EN and RU (version for English-speaking is limited till the end of pilot in Ukraine). The mobile version will be available for Android, iOS and Windows mobiles. The Civil Society app will be the open-source solution. Our team expect that we'll be on a par with other users to develop this project with the help of created tools and e-Selfgovernance. There are 2 main expected ways for app's development: 1) by upgrades (new levels of cyber-security, new procedures, tools, services, and so on); 2) by creation of new external projects (or links with existing) with their integration with the Civil Society app by API.
CIVIL SOCIETY APP, THE POWER OF PEOPLES' COOPERATION IN THE DIGITAL ERA
This application will be useful for individuals and different groups, which are interested in implementation of life-long active citizenship, e-democracy, social investment, social entrepreneurship to address to local issues and global challenges.
MODULE 1 “DECISION-MAKING”
1. Public proposals.
Users can initiate a collective decision on an important question for them. There are next three options included to the first release:
a) proposal within a particular sphere (healthcare, education, etc.) with a targeting for local communities, countries or globally. The user should collect the number of voices of other users to start the voting process. After voting there are 2 options for further implementation:
1) by institutions and services, which are financed by taxes (this is a point of integration of the Civil Society app with different local systems of governance, including e-governance).
2) by interested citizens (more details in Module 2).
Very often users can define that something is disturbing them and they are not sure exactly whose competence it is to solve it, so Civil Society app has 2 additional tools (“beacon” (1) and “check-in”(1)) to help.
b) rating of candidates within a particular polling district3 under a simplified procedure of primaries.
c) “Maidan” (1,3) allows users to organize voting during mass meetings of people in a particular place (square, plaza etc within a defined radius) from mobile phones with activated GPS. It may be useful for better understanding of participants' opinions according different issues and requirements, and to reduce the risk of public opinion manipulating by organizers or other groups.
2. Issues of local self-governments.
The Civil Service app provides access to vote on issues of local self-governments according to the address of the user; the user has an opportunity to vote on agenda of different institutions of local self-government (agenda of city council, its executive committee, mayors, commissions of City Council, working groups, etc.). User can vote directly (direct democracy) or delegate his\her voice to another user in concrete sphere and for a concrete institution with a help of trust list. There are 2 types of voting with a help of this tool:
a) “indicative voting”. In this case, results of voting are not mandatory for realisation by local authorities. It is useful when: 1) citizens pay attention to the local authority on a specific problem; 2) there is a need in monitoring compliance with the decisions of voters and their elected representatives (members of city council, mayor) for further political conclusions and actions; 3) public hearings.
b) “decision-voting”. In this case citizens have a decision-making voice for local issues (according community Statute, regulations of City Council etc).
3. Solutions with other co-owners and co-investors.
Special option for voting, where participants are required to make decisions about common property or funds. The application includes the following basic options:
a) co-owners of real estate. Voting according to spheres.
b) co-investors of programs (“weighed votings” - voice multiplied by the amount of a participant's contribution to the program). “weighed voting” also uses this to determine the winners of tenders (more details - Module 2, tool 2).
4. Political parties, NGOs, volunteering groups
Decision-making by associations (political parties, NGOs, trade unions, informa groups with members).
There are 2 options for members:
a) Votings by spheres (healthcare, education, etc.)
b) Rating of a candidate within a particular polling district3 under a simplified procedure of primaries.
5. Primaries, elections, exit-polls (3)
There are 2 options:
a) public primaries (Schulze method)3. The previous tool “rating of candidate within a particular polling district under a simplified procedure of primaries”, does not exclude the effect of Condorcet paradox during the public decision-making. Tool "primaries" is implemented by the method Schulze, which eliminates the paradox of Condorcet and can better serve voters' interests.
b) elections (exit-polls) (3). Various associations can use this tool to elect their representative bodies, making the process legitimate on the basis of internal documents. For official elections in public authorities with the help of this tool citizens need in special legislation, which is out of developers' competence. It is not a problem to organize and to conduct of public exit polls during election with the help of this tool.
MODULE 2 “SOCIAL INVESTMENT”
Financial system of the Civil Society app is based totally on non-profit organisations. Money can come to and go out of the system only as a charity donations. For example, the user's donation to partner charity foundation, where he\she has own “Personal fund” for further targeting of donation; donation from partner charity foundation to NGO\foundation with a non-profit status for realization of the concrete non-profit project (grant's agreement). It does not limit a further possibility of NGO to use donation\grant for goods and services of any legal institutions according project's budget. It means that any legal NGO can be integrated to the cooperation and be responsible for projects' and requests' realization. Such network of the NGOs with a help of Civil Society app will support new level of cooperation and new, modern infrastructure of the third sector (global, national, local) with better connection to people, participation, local resources and decision-making.
1. Personal Funds.
First of all, the main difference of “Personal Funds” from the "wallet" in payment systems or online banking: user can not be beneficiary for targeting of his\her donation; user also cannot take money back (withdraw) in cash. In any case donation has to reach beneficiary as in traditional charity, while user get new possibilities for targeting and control his\her donation, including social investment.
The user can “top up” on their “Personal Fund” by donation with help from a regular online payment. After that the user can provide targeting of his\her donations to specific projects, requests for help, programs or transfer targeting to other users, NGOs and foundations. The user can also receive ICAN (unit of account in Civil Society app) for some kinds of volunteering activities and use them instead of money for donations to volunteers' projects, requests for help and programs, where ICAN are requested. Sometimes the user prefers to delegate targeting and control for donation to other people\organizations, and user can give these rights by transaction from their own “Personal Fund” to the “Personal Fund” of selected person\NGO. In this case the user cannot change his\her solution after transaction. Donations accumulated on “Personal Fund” of any other person/NGO can be used within the same rule – only for realisation of concrete projects and requests for help.
When users make targeting from their own “Personal Funds” to concrete projects, the requests for help or programmes, they can change their targeting at any time of fundraising period by returning to their own “Personal Funds”. For example, after the donation the user receives new information about doubted reputation of beneficiary, or the user finds a better project and so on. This option provides new possibilities to manage donations by users, which are impossible within traditional charity on the one hand, and makes possible to realise a fundamentally new approach to social investment and weighed voting on the other hand.
2. Programme of social co-investment.
This is the basic tool of users' demand for solving important questions based on their goodwill. It is an alternative to method of solving problems by institutions, which financed by public funds based on taxes. Programmes of social co-investment can be created after voting “Public proposals” as further realization of achieved common solution. User can create the programme without previous voting for local needs, national or global challenges. Anybody interested in the program can support it from their “Personal Funds”, and “take money back” from the programme for any reason. For example, the “Programme of social co-investment” can be neighbours' initiative on landscaping. Or it can be a programme of local hoteliers and restaurateurs for the common advertising campaign of their city when they want to save their voice in decision-making. It can be the creation of the restaurant (or another business) to generate profit for community needs etc.
Co-investors define project proposal (“project on Call”) for realisation with financing from the programme with help of “weighed voting” (1 user has 1 voice multiplied by the amount of his\her contribution to the program). The Co-investor of the programme can vote for one or for some project proposals to the programme. For example, total sum of the programme was 5000 USD, the user sent to program 50 USD, and there were 3 proposals from different teams (social entrepreneurs) to solve program's problem for 3000, 4000 and 5000 accordingly. User voted for proposals #2, 3 and each of them receive their voice in 50 USD. Other users also voted by their sums in program, proposal #2 first collected requested budget (4000 USD), and they will receive money for realization. The rest of program's co-investors, who did not vote for #2, or voted against or abstained will not spend their contribution to the program. They can return it to their “Personal funds” or choose another project for realisation, if they are not happy by idea of realization just project #2.
The“Programme of social co-investment” created for direct participation: decisions will be made only by user with a help of weighed voting for “project on Call”, no inter-mediators will decide what to do with user's contribution to the programme.
MODULE 3 “SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP”
Civil Society app defines “social entrepreneurship” as non-for-profit activities aimed at charitable, social and\or civic outcomes. This category includes volunteer projects and charitable requests for help too. There are 3 tools included in the first release:
This tool is close to regular crowdfunding. Users can offer their project proposal with a fixed requested budget to other users. So, other users can support project from their “personal funds”, and take support back in any moment of collecting funds. When project collects requested funds, option “to take support back” will be deactivated, and the project will get access to financing for realisation. If the project was not successful in collecting funds, it is easy to take funds back to “personal funds” by users.
2. Project on Call
Users can offer their project proposal to the “programmes of social co-investment” and in the case of the selection of its proposal for funding of the program co-investors, to realise the project. Only users with status “identified by payment” can apply.
3. Request for help
Users can make a request for help to collect donations for solving problem of concrete beneficiaries (such as the medical help for the child, veteran, etc.).
MODULE 4 “NEWS”
This module makes informational environment and has three basic tools (units for information):
1. News of system - major updates and other news from the developers;
2. Top news – marked news of the third unit according special parameters.
3. News of users - based on their records in journal of actions (autogeneration).
Civil Society app provides users with the “ICAN” (unit of account). This unit is available to users since the lowest status (with an identified e-mail) and it can be indicated in the type of currency for projects, programs and requests for help. Users can receive number of “ICAN” for different actions; it can be useful to study how tools work and other educational purposes, for users' ratings, volunteer projects, gamification for better involving in active citizenship etc
(1)– available only in mobile version
(2)– available only in web-version
(3) – available in release 1.1.
What Evidence do you have that your Innovation works?
We are at the Stage 3 “Initial Piloting”, and just recive first data for evidence during pilot implementation, in particular 14 projects of active citizens, 2 compaigns to rescue people and involving about 10,000 people, who live in multy-appartment buildings.
Do you have current users or testers?
There are more than 10,000 users, most of them joined during project “OVERCOMING CORRUPTION: CITIZENS' ASSOCIATIONS AND TECHNOLOGY” to meet with neighbours on-line with further common decision-making and creation of condominiums. About 100 – Ukrainian NGOs and initiative groups, which use tools of the Civil Society app for their tasks and activities.
What is your strategy for expanding use of your innovation?
1. In Ukraine. Involving different target groups by addressing their needs and solving their everyday tasks with a help of Civil Society app's tools. There are 3 nearest methods: (a) CivilSocietyLab – our technology based on TechCamp (initiative “Civil Society 2.0” of Hilary Clinton); (b) support of pilot implementation of the “participatory budget” by local self-governments in Ukraine for better democracy with a help of the tools of the Civil Society app; 3) solving of urgent issues in partnership with the State Emergency Service, based on better cooperation with citizens with a help of the ICT
2. Globally. Localization of the Civil Society app with a help of interested group. We've already started such cooperation in Moldova, and ready for new contacts