Democracy Connect, Indian Style
Nearly every day someone emails me an idea or website that is doing some exciting work but I was particularly taken by a site called DemocracyConnect which is working in India in our sweet spot — the intersection of politics, technology and civic engagement.
Writes one of the movers behind the site — Anshuman Bapna:
An average member of the Indian Parliament has 2M people in their constituency and the legislative infrastructure to create large-scale social impact during their elected term of office. However, they are hampered by a lack of relevant information, management expertise and apathy from both development organizations and the larger population.
Our approach is to think of these elected representatives as social entrepreneurs. We make them successful by providing information support to them on legislations, providing oversight for development projects in their constituencies and by connecting them to a global talent pool of professionals with specific areas of expertise. Technology plays an important role in making this possible….
Over the past 2 years, Democracy Connect has reached out to over 50 Members of Parliament in India through mini-workshops and policy briefings.
Here's just one cool element of their site – a wiki to provide policy advice on request to members of Parliament. The idea behind the Virtual Policy Cell is that a volunteer team of experts and individuals across the world will work collaboratively to come up with a fact-based response to specific questions of interest.
Very impressive group of folks behind this effort.
Send any ideas their way. I'm sure they'd appreciate it.