WHAT THE M?: SALGA hosts workshop on the Municipal Mobile (M) - Participation Toolkit and related ICT Initiatives

WHAT THE M? SALGA hosts workshop on the Municipal Mobile (M) -

Participation Toolkit and related ICT Initiatives

 

The application of information and communication technology (ICTs) in local government is not a new phenomenon; however, the use of mobile technology to advance public participation and improve service delivery in local government is still in its infant stages. In order to assist Municipalities in learning about the various applications and requirements for M-Participation a sub-category of e-Participation, SALGA commissioned the development of the Municipal MParticipation Toolkit. On Tuesday, 22 July 2014 SALGA hosted a workshop for the Western Cape roll-out of the MParticipation Toolkit. The session was characterised by excellent participation of municipal officials, a number of political leaders and a few representatives of civil society. The engagement kicked-off with three panel presentations that provided local case studies of mobile applications to enhance municipal access and public participation. The panel included Justin Coetzee of GoMetro, Abongile Nyumbeka of Project Lungisa & Gabriella Razzano from the Open Democracy Advice Centre (ODAC) who presented a Housing List Project App.

Following an overview of the M-Participation Toolkit contents, the afternoon session saw an update of the Western Cape Broadband Initiative (BBi) which gave Municipalities further opportunity to engage the Provincial Department of Economic Development & Tourism on the role and implications for Municipalities in broadband rollout. Ms Olivia Deyers of DEDAT also provided an updated broadband infrastructure sites map so that Municipalities can view the location of broadband infrastructure that will be installed by Neotel.

Cape Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Digital Portfolio Chair, Mr Roderick Lim Banda advocated for “the focus on broadband to be in addressing education and unemployment (particularly youth) and to grow sustainable business”. Mr Lim Banda’s presentation highlighted a number of principles that should be focused on to leverage technology for economic growth, making the link between ICTs and economic development in the local context clear through a number of examples.

Dr Leona Craffert, Director of the Western Cape CoLab for E-Inclusion and Social Innovation which is linked to the Ikamva National e-Skills Institute (iNeSI) showcased their model for stimulating skills development in mobile application development. She also showed practical examples of the development of skills in social innovation (ideation) aimed at M-Participation for addressing local socioeconomic challenges.

The overall positive implication for local government in experimenting with the applications of M-Participation technologies is: Effective Engagement with citizens; better community involvement in developing solutions for socioeconomic challenges (co-design LED solutions) and, innovative approaches for public participation. SALGA would like to encourage Municipalities to engage the Municipal M-Participation Toolkit and to explore which options for M-Participation could work best for their needs. Hard copies of the Toolkit will be made available in due course.

Please contact Petrus van Niekerk for further engagement or access to any of the presentations that were made at the workshop at

pvanniekerk@salga.org.za.

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