16 July, Vinnytsya: Citizens and the local authorities in Vinnytsya will soon be able to use the truly discussion web-platform to be developed within the new project initiative “Hyperlocal Social Network in Vinnytsya: from Complaint Forums to the Solution Development Platform”. The project will be implemented in partnership with the CSO “Podillya Agency for Regional Development”, Vinnytsya city council and Information Resource “My Vinnytsya” under support of the RBEC Innovation Fund.
Ukrainian city of Vinnytsya is a recognized champion of e-governance in Ukraine. Since 2006 local authorities have encouraged citizens to report on their problems and channel their requests through the web-resources “My Vinnytsya” http://www.myvin.com.ua (4’000 unique visitors per day, 20’000 page openings, up to 2’000 official requests to the mayor per year) and the section of the official web-site of Vinnytsya City Council http://map.vmr.gov.ua (2’400 official requests to the city mayor per year). Behind impressive numbers of citizens’ online interaction with local authorities, the paternalistic pattern is emerging: most of the interactions refer to citizens’ complaints with expectations that problems are to be solved by the authorities without citizens’ engagement into solution development and implementation.
The project “Hyperlocal Social Network in Vinnytsya: from Complaint Forums to the Solution Development Platform” will develop the culture of dialogue in the community, include active social networks’ users into the discussion on local development as well as identify new community leaders and encourage new local initiatives. Hyperlocal in this context connotes information oriented around a well defined community with its primary focus directed toward the concerns of its residents.
The project was initiated by the CSO “Podillya Agency for Regional Development” (CSO PARD) in partnership with Vinnytsya city council and Information Resource “My Vinnytsya”. It was selected in the competition of the RBEC Innovation Fund among 52 competing initiatives from different countries of the region. Within the project, CSO PARD will develop the technical part of the platform, ensure integration of the social networks, facilitate and animate the social groups and discussion within the community). Vinytsya city council will promote the platform in the communal media and through the municipal communication channels (web-site, public transport ads, universities etc) for ensuring wider outreach. The Information Agency “My Vinnytsya" will contribute by forming the content of the platform and integration with GIS databases. The total project cost of $ 40’000 is shared by all the parties, including RBEC Innovation Fund.
“We got inspiration for our project idea from the existing social networks for the neighbourhoods like “Nextdoor” and “Sosedi.ru” which serve as a platform for partnership forum for the local authorities, citizens, media and business to solve jointly local development problems in the neighborhoods. We hope that due to the project implementation, Vinnytsya city authorities will be able to tap on the creative energy and innovative ideas from the citizens to solve local development issues, local councilors will establish direct contacts with their voters, understand and more efficiently satisfy their needs and interests, identify and support worthy development initiatives contributing to the bottom-up planning at city level. At the same time, private local business will hear their potential customers and provide products/ services which would satisfy their needs in the best way”, says Oleg Levchenko, executive director of the CSO PARD, project initiator.
Introduction of the hyperlocal social network, according to the local partners of the project, will help reaching out target citizens of Vinnytsya who use Internet (57% of city population). If proved successful, this project is potentially replicable to any Ukrainian municipality.
For more information, please contact Olena Ursu, Project Manager, at (044) 584-34-75 or via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org