Myanmar has decided to welcome a Civic Tech era of community organization, social mobilization, higher government transparency, outreach and feedback; or just increasing the nation’s collective engagement as a civic society through ICT. The ribbon-cutting comes courtesy of Phandeeyar Innovation Lab, human development organization FHI 360, and USAID.
The Innovation Marketplace will open the doors for innovators, technologists and non-techies alike, to run their civic tech solutions by them. A two-day event in March will put teams to the test, awarding grants and program support to the winners.
I will stay alert to see how the first class fares, but it’s thrilling just to think what their ideas might be. Would the part of Myanmar’s tech with a soft side for civic issues be in tune with the needs of the local democracy, and that of their neighbors?
And which are those needs? The conditions and rights of factory workers? Broadening its international diplomatic and commercial relationships? Protecting and raising awareness of its ancient heritage? Finding measures to counter its massive brain drain? Making sure old wounds are not resurfacing? I am not a fan of cliffhangers, but it’s worth the wait.