In the previous post, we shared profiles of winners in the categories of mobile business, travel and entertainment from the mBillionth Awards. Each year, the Awards recognise and honour outstanding mobile content and apps from around South Asia. A jury process screens nominees online followed by three days of heated face-to-face debates. Here are the 2014 jury picks for winners in the categories of mobile governance and inclusion, powered by government agencies as well as social enterprises.
Labour Permit @ Sparrow SMS / Nepal
In many developing countries, there are significant numbers of citizens who work overseas. Nepal’s Janaki Technology has started a service for these international workers called Labour Permit @ Sparrow. It provides migrant workers in Nepal with information about their status of labour permits and actual details of processing cost, thus side-stepping brokers who used to give fake information on recruitment. Mobile users can check the authenticity of the announced vacancy details with actual proposed salary and company profile, via SMS in Nepali and English.
NextDrop / India
Water supply has been a problem in many Indian states. NextDrop is a solution developed for residents of Hubli and Bangalore. It provides information on water availability to residents via automated calls and SMS. It also provides information to utility engineers through a web-based dashboard. Data on water delivery outcomes helps utility engineers so they can quickly identify and address problems whenever detected or referred by the citizens (via crowdsourcing). Mobile alerts are also provided to households about unsafe water during pipe breakages. 25,000 households have registered for the service for a fee of Rs. 10 each.
Citizen’s Connect – SMC Mobile App / India
With the vision to make Surat a more organised city, the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) has setup a mobile application called Citizen’s Connect. Citizens can check and pay outstanding or advance property tax; check and obtain death certificates; verify information about shops and establishment; check registration certificate details; file complaints; get information on government officials and jobs; subscribe for alerts on active tenders; and so on. All information on the app is available in English with Gujarati language support.
Accessible Places / India
Accessible Places is an initiative of the Directorate of Information Technology, Government of Maharashtra, in order to ease the lives of differently-abled people. It is a crowdsourcing application for locating, identifying and rating places which can be easily accessed by differently-abled citizens. Examples of locations include amenities such as hospitals, ATMs, libraries, schools, parking lots, restaurants and parks.
Halaat-o-Meter / Pakistan
Also drawing on the crowdsourced model, Haalat-O-Meter is a platform which enables residents of Karachi to post updates on their neighborhood during times of trouble like protests, marches, road blockage and traffic jams. Considering that Karachi has been facing a lot of civil disturbances of late, the app is even more beneficial for people in the area to be safe and share information about shooting, bomb blasts and other risks. The service is accessible on the Web as well as on mobiles.
mPassport Seva Project Mobility Solution / India (special mention)
To simplify the process of getting a passport and all related information, mPassport Seva app was launched for citizens of India by the Ministry of External Affairs. The app provides a wide variety of services such as tracking the status of passport application, locating a passport office or facilitation center, calculation of fees, list of supporting documents, and real-time passport application status.
Bhasha Helakuru / Sri Lanka
There is a large Sinhala speaking population in Sri Lanka and other parts of the world. But the Sinhala script has a large number of characters in comparison to Latin that are not compatible with the small cellphone keyboard. Bhasha Helakuru is a phonetic Sinhala input method to input Sinhala characters on Android devices. The app also can be used in messaging, email and social media, thus including many more citizens in the digital world. The app can learn users’ custom glossaries and predict words accordingly.