The importance of open data and smart citizens to make connection between the government and the citizen

11 August 2018

The first session of the second day was characterized by a focus on the need of using modern technology to overcome the obstacles, which stands in the way of society to achieve reformation in various sectors that directly affect the lives of people.

Eng. Mohamed Issa reviewed several government projects implemented by experts and the reasons for their failure as a result of depending on people who are not specialized in this aspect. He stressed the need to clarify the type of projects and services it would provid, especially as some countries create applications copied from other countries, that have differences in nature of society and way of thinking.

Issa recommended that the government should agree with the experts and citizens to produce the so-called “open data”, which allows the citizen to share data, and give them the opportunity to think and help build his community, recalling the experience of “Google” and “Facebook,” which share ideas with customers and make a use of them.

Issa pointed to the British experience in the campaign of donating blood to the needy, through Visa Card and others, which allowed them to raise abundant funds to help the needy, and this became one of the technological tools in the success of social campaigns, pointing to a team of researchers at the University, “Dandy” who created A new system of flood early warning, based on monitoring tweets on Twitter social networking, collecting information from citizens, artificial intelligence techniques, and when the flood reaches an area, the alerts reach to people through the application to enable people to see the proportion of floods and to find a solution or protection to their  property, while at the same time enabling rescue teams to reach the area before the disaster.

In another example, he said that Mexico had established an anti-corruption application based on citizens’ cooperation with the government. The data enabled citizens to discover a thousand cases of corruption, which lead Mexico to lose millions of dollars each year.

Eng.Mohammed Issa confirmed the possibility of achieving this in Iraq, and using technology anywhere. He pointed out that the “Code for Iraq” team, which includes a group of young engineers in 18 governorates, includes various people and programmers, and allows sharing opinions, ideas and learning. Their meetings are held by the available technology. Issa outlined that receiving people ideas and sharing the information with them through modern applications and technology will enable governments to develop the level of services and improve society. 

The session included a number of young technology professionals and participants in the Code of Iraq initiative, which are Mayada Naji, Salwa Shaker, Osama Ismail and Tief Khudair, along with the founder of the initiative Mohammed Issa, who spoke about the importance of technology, and described it by the forgotten tool in helping society. The participants emphasized that the Code for Iraq initiative is a voluntary, non-profit humanitarian organization aimed to serve the community through programming and creating applications which aimed to help and serve people. The initiative team introduced the youngest member of the initiative, which made the application of “Ahal Al-Khair” while she is in middle school.

The members emphasized that the initiative includes different specialists from different provincesand to adopt the application of “zoom” in holding weekly, daily or periodic meetings to share opinions. The Code of Iraq initiative adopts the principle of decentralization in decision-making, and adapts voting principle and give a chance to everyone to participate in making decisions.

The members said that the initiative has started more than a year ago, with a small number of young people, it includes currently more than 500 specialized people from different provinces.

The leaders of the initiative has set up the Platform to follow up and develop the members’ work, after entering specific data to the site, and sending these statements to the server.

The members explained that the Platform is a changing smart platform, providing an interface that enables each member to enter his or her own information, and enables other members to know the level of the person, his or her progress in the programming language, or performance of the required work, and making sure of what the initiative members are producing is usually astonishing as a result of participation in decision-making and evaluation.