OGP Working Group Picks Four Microgrant Projects

3 September 2015

The Access to Information Working Group of the Open Government Partnership has selected four recipients of “microgrants.”

Those doing research papers will receive US $1,500 and the project is backed by US $3,000. They are meant to be completed by Oct. 15.

Chosen from 50 applications were:

1) Access to information, OGP commitments, political will and the right to know: the case of the missing people in Mexico; Catalina Demidchuck, Política pública e incidencia, Codeando México A.C.

In her work, Demidchuck will demonstrate “that for Mexico to fulfill its OGP commitment to create a database of missing people, the government must provide a free flow of public information and maintain open and accessible mechanisms for citizens to consult, check and compare public data.” Overall, Codeando Mexico will demonstrate the necessity of strong political will to establish a free flow of public information regarding missing people, and that this increased transparency can help resolve the social crisis that Mexico is experiencing.

2) Fostering the right of the public to information related to healthcare inspection results and surgery success rates via citizens’ initiatives; Peter Drab, Founder, Ob?ania proti korupcii, o.z./Citizens against Corruption

The purpose of Citizens against Corruption’s project is to draft an amendment to the public healthcare act in an open and inclusive way, to gather public support for the draft via online petitions and submit the petition with the attached draft to the appropriate parliamentary committee. Currently, the public has little or no oversight over quality of healthcare provision in Slovakia. In their 2015 National Action Plan, Slovakia pledged to improve public participation in the creation of public policies. With this project, Drab will demonstrate that “open and transparent information regarding healthcare can significantly boost public oversight and thus create a public demand for higher quality of the provided healthcare,” and that “an open and inclusive policymaking process can truly empower citizens and build trust between the government and the public.”

3) Improving the Spanish public subsidy system through social accountability; Jordi Romeu-Granados, PhD Candidate, Universidad Complutense de Madrid

In his research paper, Romeu-Granados will analyze “the public subsidy system in Spain in order to demonstrate the benefits of greater access to information, as a means of improving transparency and increasing public accountability policies and social participation in the political process.” In Spain’s first national action plan, the country committed to amending the Spanish Subsidies Act, and in its second action plan, committed to more control and transparency of public spending. In his research, Romeu-Granados will identify the public accountability mechanisms of the Spanish public subsidy system and investigate the functioning of these mechanisms in each level of government, and the impact of increased access to information.

4) South Africa’s environmental information management framework: refining the transparency trope to a substantive theory of change; Dr. Fola Adeleke Head of Research, Mandela Institute, School of Law

Dr. Adeleke will “assess the legal and regulatory framework within the environmental management framework of South Africa.” Although South Africa committed to developing an integrated and publicly accessible portal of environmental management information, as well as the development of an online crowd sourcing tool that would allow the public to submit data of protected and conservation areas, this is yet to occur. Through this research, Adeleke will demonstrate the need for a publicly accessible portal of environmental management information with a proactive disclosure model, rather than the ‘one requester, one record,’ reactive model that South Africa’s Promotion of Access to Information Act provides.

The inaugural microgrant award was focused on “research or programming to demonstrate the link between the right of access to information and other OGP national commitments.”

The selection committee was comprised of Working Group co-anchors Laura Neuman, director of the Global Access to Information Program, The Carter Center and Maria Jose Montiel Cuatlayol, director, Mexican Federal Institute of Transparency, Access to Information and Data Protection, as well as Marcos Mendiburu, Senior Social Development Specialist, World Bank and Mukelani Dimba, executive director of the Open Democracy Advice Centre.

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