Technology, policymaking, grassroots organizing, and evidence-based decision-making. These are at the heart of the solutions for projects undertaken by the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI). Founded in 2019, CEI is a non-profit organization tackling various societal and development issues through entrepreneurial and social innovation. It has been creating innovative solutions in social entrepreneurship, civic engagement, and SME financing. Moreover, CEI aims to revive local language and literature and promote Nepali artisanal crafts for the income generation of disadvantaged artists.

For the purpose of strengthening community-led initiatives for civic involvement, CEI has developed a tool called Shaasan (meaning governance). This tool is a tech-enabled citizen-led initiative that promotes civic engagement and responsive governance. CEI recently came to LabStorms to discuss challenges related to this tool that involved hiring people with the right mix of skills and experience in civic engagement and technology, technological know-how to understand the workings of an app, and navigating through the complex and convoluted political systems and cultural factors that may hinder or aid their initiative.

Civic engagements in times of COVID. The app allows citizens to report local civic issues, notify friends, communities and concerned civic/private organizations, and then act by mobilizing community-led change instead of waiting for the government.

Informed decisions for technological know-how. As a non-profit that is not a tech company, it becomes too difficult to upkeep as it requires many resources in maintaining a platform. This means that lack of capacity from the team and lack of resources make it difficult to sustain a tech platform.

Scaling the tool for the greater good. Scaling a tech solution is often a hybrid of sourcing skills needed to build the platform if it is not a tech company. Attendees suggested using existing platforms that offer scaled capabilities and then dedicating internal owners that will help to manage and grow the platform.

Read the full article about civic engagement and technology by Fariha Raisaat FeedbackLabs.