Call for Proposals launched

mySociety has teamed up with the Open Society Institute (OSI) to help people in Central and Eastern Europe build transparency and democracy websites suited to the needs and realities of their countries. In the UK mySociety runs a variety of sites such as,, and our Freedom of Information website As a result of running these, we know that there are lots of people outside the UK longing to build similar sites that help increase transparency and accountability in their own government institutions.


derived from

We have now launched a Call for Proposals for participants in Central and Eastern Europe, similar to the one we recently ran in the UK. The big difference is that this time we’re not looking for projects that we will build. We’re looking for projects you want to build, but that for lack of funds or lack of the right skills, you can’t get started yourself, so could use our help.

Over the coming months we will be selecting a series of projects to fund and mentor — up to ten in total. At each of four monthly intervals, starting November 15th, OSI and mySociety will convene to consider and choose from the proposals submitted so far. To help us understand project strengths and weaknesses in the given local or national context we can draw on the knowledge of regional OSI staff, but we’ll also be paying very close attention to the public comments on the submissions — so please join in the discussion. The shortlisted projects, and the people behind them, will then undergo a formal vetting process, during which project funding details will be requested (but we can help you with that if you’ve no previous experience of budget planning). mySociety will work closely with the winning projects to develop specifications for the launch version of the tool, advise on technology choices and usability decisions, help hire suitable technical talent if needed, and help connect winners to the nascent but growing international network of transparency and accountability website builders.

It’s crucial to note that this call isn’t solely for existing NGOs: the process is absolutely open to submissions from individuals or groups with no prior direct experience of working in the transparency and accountability sector. Experience from around the world suggests that some of the best websites in this field have been set up by individuals with no specific NGO background, such as New Zealand’s Others are run by NGOs with strong track records — we will not discriminate either way. We will, however, look most favourably on applicants who already have access to the advanced programming skills required to build sites like this.

The criteria are simple, though demanding:

  1. The projects have to generate some kind of meaningful transparency, accountability, or democratic empowerment of another kind.
  2. The projects must seize the unique benefits that the Internet brings with it, such as scalability, two way communication, easy data analysis and so on.

Projects will be required to follow Free/Open Source licensing and development practices and to adhere to appropriate Open Data principles. Projects making use of mobile communications tools will also be considered. And although projects will obviously be delivered in appropriate local languages, proposals through this website must be in English.

If you are based in one of the eligible countries and have an idea for a project (or, even better, more than one!), please submit a proposal. Even if you don’t, please help us spread the word! Tell everyone you know about this. Blog it. Link to it on Twitter or Facebook. Go to local events and make sure everyone knows about it (or ask us to come talk about it) — just talking about it could be the difference between someone building a KildareStreet or an OpenCongress in your country and them never getting started. For more ideas on how to help, please join our mailing list, or follow us on Twitter.


    • To stop spam, proposals need to be approved by us first before they’re published, but that should usually happen fairly quickly.

    • Sorry – Austria is outside the eligible region for this project. We’re always interested in hearing about projects in other countries though, so feel free to get in touch!

  1. Please let me know if there is some mention on this cooperation with OSI on official Open Society Institute and Soros Foundation Network website – unfortunately I didn´t find anything about this common initiative with mySociety there ( ; I´m looking for some details of this CEE mySociety project, e.g. budgetary restraints etc. Thank you David

    • David: the project has only launched yesterday. The official OSI site will probably put something up about it there soon, but this is the primary site, so questions should be directed here. At this stage the primary focus is on the ideas: we’ll discuss budgets with the short-listed projects at a later date.

  2. can the application project be a part of a bigger project, if this part specifically matches the above mentioned criteria? could you please give more details of the help that you may provide for those ten projects?

    • We would consider a sub-project that added significant new functionality to an already existing project, but it would need to be very significant — we expect the majority of projects to be entirely new. The post above details the sort of help we’re offering: can you explain a little more what help you’re curious might or might not be included?

  3. Hello,
    I didn’t find in the call for proposals what is the deadline for the submission, and what is the time frame for the project implementation. Is there anything set on these questions?

    • Alice: it’s a rolling call: there are four monthly deadlines from November 15th. The timeframe for implementation will likely be different for each project: that’s something we will discuss at a later stage.

  4. 1) What is to protect project ideas and plans from being “borrowed” and implemented by someone else?

    2) Are you prepared to screen malicious attacks by people who would feel threatened by a transparency project? If so, how?

    I must ask these sorts of questions because of working in Eastern Europe for the past decade on exactly these sorts of projects. I know exactly what to expect and what is very likely to happen when transparency threatens government(s) who are committed to working in the shadows.

  5. 1) Nothing at all. If people think their idea is valuable in and of itself, they shouldn’t submit it here. This project is for ideas that people are crying out for in their country and would love for anyone at all to build, but in the absence of that, are willing to do it themselves with our support.

    2) I’d love to hear your suggestions for how we could do this. It would be great if you could join our mailing list and share your experiences there.

  6. what is the amount of funding allotted for this (max/min? I know it’ll depend on the submitted budget, but please provide more spec as it is hard to judge the scope of your support)?

    also, should multiple ideas from the same group be submitted together or as separate projects? what if ideas fall under the same category?


    • Olga, at this point we’re only really interested in the idea itself, rather than the funding. Just concentrate for now on coming up with the best idea you can! And each idea should be submitted separately: there’s no limit to how many anyone can enter!

  7. “Alice: it’s a rolling call: there are four monthly deadlines from November 15th. ”

    Can we please clarify? This means there are 4 deadlines:
    15th November
    15th December
    15th January
    15th February


  8. Is it possible to submit a proposal if the project’s institutional framework is currently undergoing change? Now we don’t have any legal entity, but it will change soon.