The first open community meeting with the participation of representatives of the Eastern Europe Foundation, Jordanka Tomkova, Viktor Liakh, and Olena Saienko, took place on March 14, 2016. Non-governmental organizations, activists, and city residents were invited to take part in dialog on government transparency and the development of electronic democracy. The major issues discussed included the development of open data in Ukraine, establishment of electronic democracy tools, capability of the city’s residents to influence change, as well as the tasks and plans of the EGAP project in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast.
“The essence of electronic democracy has a large number of components and elements. It is a large mechanism combining the government, citizens, business community, and new technologies in a unified, transparent, and open information space. This is not merely an interaction tool, but a tool to change society and living standards in general”, said Jordanka Tomkova, expert of the Electronic Governance for Government Accountability and Community Participation project of the Swiss Cooperation Bureau.
According to Viktor Liakh, President of the Eastern Europe Foundation, electronic democracy means a certain change of standards in community cooperation, and has to be primarily a people’s initiative, which will be fully supported by the EGAP Project and government agencies. “We have always supported such initiatives and will continue working on electronic democracy in Ukraine. We are currently working in four regions and intend to have real tools created by teams in Dnipropetrovsk, Odesa, Lutsk, and Vinnytsia”, he said.
“The primary foundation of the EGAP Dnipro project is large-scale analytical research of existing tools of interaction and the real needs of the citizens. In the near future, there will be a series of talks, workshops, and community meetings to ensure that all interested parties are familiar with the subject of electronic democracy. After the research results are summarized, the results will be published and specific tasks for the Hackathon will be set, where teams of IT specialists will develop tools capable of solving certain problems of government cooperation and accountability, leverage the potential of open data of public registries, provide citizens with the necessary information, etc. Therefore, we are inviting citizens, activists, representatives of non-governmental organizations, and members of the business community to take part in the research,” said Viacheslav Maiakyn, EGAP Program coordinator in Dnipropetrovsk, about the project plans.
Serhii Dovhopolyi, project manager in Dnipropetrovsk Region, reported that the EGAP Dnipro team operates open form communication and will be happy to cooperate with everyone who wishes to do so. “You may keep track of the progress, take part in surveys, and propose your ideas on our public Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/EGAP.Dnipro, said Serhii.