1. NapisteJim.cz and their first success!

    Veronika has just updated us on the recent success of their NapisteJim.cz portal, clone of WriteToThem:

    “The context: Last week, the Lower house of the Parliament had on table amendments to Lottery Act. Something very important was accomplished in this amendment (bigger rights for villages and cities in gambling regulation) but it also contained several very controversial paragraphs. Most notably, the Act commanded Internet providers to block ALL commercials and advertisements of lottery companies that are not registered in Czech Republic, moreover, under fine 10 million CZK.

    This is 1) technically imposible (e.g. when working with Google AdSense and similar), 2) it creates grounds for further Internet censorship. Mainly the internet community rised up in protest which they expressed in several different ways which included e.g. internet petition but ALSO, thanks to our application, personal e-mail appeals to MPs. Again, more than 1 000 e-mails were sent!

    The result: MPs decided to divide the amendment in parts on which they voted separately… the controversial  paragraphs did not pass through, and still the good achievements were approved. We could not dream better result in this issue!”

    Congratulations to the entire team! It looks like the traffic to the site, as well as amount of sent e-mails are very encouraging, so we hope to see more exciting updates in the future!

  2. Promoting NapisteJim.cz

    KohoVolit team has done great job in bringing together 20 celebrities on a screen of their promotional video for NapisteJim.cz – chech WTT. The official launch is planned for tomorrow, so we hope to hear more about it. In the meantime, check out the photos and watch out for the video on their blog!

    How do you promote your project? Let us know!

    Great idea, great work!

    Update: We have just been told that the launch was moved forward to the 26th of May.

  3. KohoVolit.eu and their videos from eDemocracy Day

    Veronika Sumova has published two videos documenting eDemocracy Day we have recently posted about.

    First one is a general overview of the event:

    eDemocracy Day – barcamp-like event 12th March in Prague! from KohoVolitEU on Vimeo.

    Second is their interview with Jakub Górnicki from Sejmometr.pl:

    Jakub Górnicki from Sejmometr.pl on eDemocracy day in Prague (March 2011) from KohoVolitEU on Vimeo.

  4. Voting Advice Application from KohoVolit.eu in action

    Michal Skop posted on his blog on blog.aktualne.cz specific example of usage of their voting advice application on KohoVolit.eu. One of the senators, Jiri Dienstbier senior, has passed away (you might have seen it in the Guardian), so now new voting is required and planned for the upcoming weekend. When I asked about it, Veronika explained:

    “These elections are only little, but they are important, because it can quite substantially change the distribution of power in the senate (basically, before it was slightly for the left side of the spectrum (while we have middle-right coalition in government), now it is equal and everybody is waiting who is going to win.”

    If you go to the original post, even without understanding the language you can see the vast amount of reactions, including comments of users who decided to test the site!

    What a great way and timing to showcase the project! Well done!

  5. Photos from eDemocracy Day 2011

    Veronika has posted the photos from eDemocracy Day 2011. Here is a short photo story from the event:

  6. eDemocracy Day

    We have posted earlier on about eDemocracy Day planned in Prague. Veronika has just updated us that the event was really successful. 25 projects from Czech Repubik, Slovakia and Poland were presented during the day. There was also scope for collaboration and additional questions. As posted a second ago on our blog – Jaroslav presented newly prepared API and discussed it with representatives other teams, who have similar plans.

    Veronika promised photo documentation, in the meantime posting the topics of the event:

    “The main topics were: Parliament watchdogging, Public procurement, Project sustainability, Data sharing and API, and Watchdog and Media.”

    We are really keep to hear more about it, so let’s hope we will have more information soon.

  7. eDemocracy Day in Prague

    It’s a very impressive list of supporting organisations! What is this all about? Veronika Sumova has posted on KohoVolit.eu blog an update about the local event dedicated to government transparency planned for the 12th of March. eDemocracy Day in Prague is designed to discuss the current eDemocracy and eParticipation projects, their current developments but also to share challenges and learnings, and do a bit of networking too. The event will follow unconference model allowing its participants to suggest topic for 2 slots of 2 hr long sessions (with additional 3 hrs in the evening, if required). It’s free, and from what I understand there is also a scope for a little bit of support for those, who might struggle with travel expenses. Veronika explained to me that actually the first two sessions are already suggested:

    1. parliament watchdog – what does it mean, how to do it?
    2. sustainability of watchdog projects – money, people, projects

    It looks like it’s going to be a very fruitful event – apart from the KohoVolit.eu team I can see participants representing DoTankoch.sk, Foaf.sk, Fair Play Alliance, NašiPolitici.cz and Diary Policy. Really impressive set of projects. I hope we will be able to learn about each of them more!

  8. KohoVolit.eu popular on the local daily news portal

    Veronika Sumova has posted a quick update this week about Michal’s recent post published on blog.aktualne.centrum.cz – local news portal. It looks like his post has been rated as number one on the site based on its popularity.

    “Michal is giving tips on how to get the right information… the graph simply consists of several different cities in the region – how much money they give to sport activities in each city. So there is no calcuation, it is just putting the numbers from those cities in the descending order. The problem is that majority of them (8 of 10) don’t have these info on their own site, so for ordinary citizen is hard to get to the data. So further on he is giving tips how to ask for it correctly according the law on information to which the townhalls are obligated to respond and provide the information.”

    Here is the original graph:

    Used with Google translation

    Michal includes an example copy of a request message within his post making it really easy for any reader to copy it and send off to their local institution. The post has generated quite a long discussion and reached 12,643 views within 6 days, which in the region counts as very popular!

    Do you think it is worth using simple examples of processes used within your projects on public spaces to promote your work? Can this approach be a way of increasing civic engagement? I would love to hear your thoughts!

  9. KohoVolit.eu this week

    This week KohoVolit.eu team has received the approval of funds from Batory Fundation within the framework of Civic Coalition Program for co-operation planned with another local portal, NasiPolitici.cz [‘Our politicians’]. Veronika Sumova explaings:

    “The biggest goal and challenge of this web-based NGO is to bring objective, complete and accurate information about elected representatives. They do it through complex CVs published on their website which contain information such as education, political parties membership (historical and actual), candidatures, elective offices (historical and actual), proffessional career, commercial ownership or membership in different advisory boards.”

    The two teams work together already when profiling the MP’s (their activities and votings), but there is more in the pipeline:

    “Later on, after Czech WTT launch, we hope in further cooperation within this application as well, probably through widgets or some other means. Lastly, somewhen in the summer we want to use short CVs from NasiPolitici to upgrade our own site and to move it slowly towards what in the end should look like TheyWorkForYou…”

    We will learn more details about this cooperation shortly, so stay tuned!

  10. KohoVolit.eu this week


    Veronika Sumova posted an update on the challenges of KohoVolit.eu team when trying to build an intuitive tool for citizens to contact their representatives.

    “The election system to Czech parliament is weird… quasi local based, quazi party based combines regional and state-wide components.

    Basically people vote mostly for parties and their leaders, but they can vote only for candidates in their region. So when they hypotethically want to write to specific MP, they might want to write to one of their regional MPs because they are probably closest to the problem they are dealing with. But they might also want to write to one of the ‘faces’ of the political party, because it was actually him/her they voted for even though not directly. Or they might want to write specific committee (defence, finance, education etc.) even though there is not anyone from their region…”

    Facing the above mentioned challenge the team has decided upon the following:

    “For identifying the region, we decided to use Google maps and the API they provide. This means that when person enters even very incomplete adress we get information about which region or which part of the city it is in. If anyone has interesting experiences with this and want to share, please do:-)

    But the really tricky part comes when discussing when (which step) and where (graphically) put the option for so to say ‘advanced search’ according to parties or committees, so it’s not disturbing those that want to use regional key and it’s easy to find for those that prefer other ways of identifying… comments are welcome:-)”

    Yes, do let us know what you think is the best way forward or get in touch with the team directly on their blog.