Having kicked off from the Co-Creation Hub, an innovation pool that boasts of developers, interface designers, programmers and entrepreneurs, BudgIT seem to be making the post of its location. Just a few months ago, its website with a messy back-end and mobile platforms were grossly under-performing. In fact the only real asset it had was a Twitter page which sees a restless stream of tweets on public finance and other related data.
However, working with a group of amazing geeks at the Co-Creation Hub, BudgIT has been able to fix it platforms with every state of the federation having its own personalized page which carries infographics, interactive applications and relevant data.
The mobile web experience is different from the desktop web and BudgIT have gone a mile further in releasing mobile apps for Android and Blackberry – two of the popular platforms. This is a way increasing the reach to young and urban Nigerians who have access to smartphones and can lead the national discussion on budgets and public data.
The mobile phone screen is quite restrictive but this issue has been circumvented with redefined narratives on the mobile platforms, quick access to the budget, projects and monthly allocations.
Follow The Money
It is currently difficult to follow the paper trial but that is about to change as BudgIT is pivoting from a ‘budget access‘ to ‘budget tracking‘ platform. This new offering is known as Tracka.
Tracka is a social platform of active citizens who are interested in tracking budgets and public projects in their community. Layered on open data and also integrated with existing social media tools, this platform will bring people of common interests together to share photos, videos, documents and also post comments on existing projects.
This has the power extend the use of open data to the larger society who earnestly yearn for improved government services. Tracka is also to be integrated with OpenSpending, a visualization platform of the Open Knowledge Foundation.
The Tracka Way
The goal with with Tracka or better yet a ‘budget tracking’ platform is to amplify the voices by shining light in corners less understood. Most people are not aware of projects in the neighbourhood and do not ask the right questions or connect to institutions you are suppose to implement the projects. BudgIT wants to lead that conversation based on facts that the budget is a promise to the citizens. Performance can only be ensured when the citizens and government are on the same page.
Matching the right communication tool to every citizen and ensuring that they become active citizens by demanding what is right for them is the vision and the next push will be spiked by some kind of viral marketing, the kind the Nigerian e-commerce platforms put forward in their early days. As we go on the path of democracy, every voice must count.
Crossed post from: Seun Onigbinde (Founder, BudgIT)