In what ways can coders and tech people help improve a nation?
Code4Nation, a group founded by Ainun Najib, proved that they can do phenomenal things for the betterment of their country. Ainun shared stories of their projects in a fireside chat with Freelancer CEO Matt Barrie at SydStart 2015.
In Indonesia, the tabulating of election votes takes about two weeks. Ainun and his team came up with a platform that will make the process transparent to the public. They set up the website called Kawalpemilu.org and gathered 700 volunteers to guard the 2014 Presidential Elections. "Kawal pemilu" means guard the election.
Ainun’s team crowdsourced and tabulated the number of votes from around 478,000 polling stations. It was a massive effort to collect all the data. Ainun commended the election committee because they opened their data for every polling station. All scans of the votes were visible on the website and people could report any irregularity they find. Kawalpemilu revealed the final results one week earlier than the official announcement.
Their next project was Kawalapbd.org, where APBD pertains to local budget. The screenshot below shows the budget for the country's capital, Jakarta. In translation, "kawal APBD" means to guard the budget. This website made details of budget allocation accessible to the public. People can upvote and downvote a budget to share what they think of the allocation.
Kawal desa or guard the village budget is a new project that started this year. This is in accordance to the law that every single village in Indonesia will receive up to $100,000. This project aims for transparency of budget allocation to prevent a village chief in becoming a potential corrupt king.
Based on the previous projects they did, Ainun realized that Indonesian coders and tech people are eager to contribute to the nation. They just don’t have the community or the place where they can collaborate. With this, Ainun launched Code4Nation, an online forum where they can meet up and discuss what projects they can build to help the nation.
This is a social media platform where people can post their concerns, which other users can upvote or downvote. The top five issues are reported to the president.
This project is for capturing the public sentiments about the ministers. "Kawal menteri" means guard the ministers. This is where people can express their opinions whether the ministers are doing their job or not.
Hackathon Merdeka 1.0
The Code4Nation community organized the first ever Hackathon Merdeka held in August. For this hackathon, they got to work with the Office of the President as represented by Luhut Pandjaitan (Chief of Staff and Minister for Security).
The problem statement given to participants was the fluctuating prices of food commodities. Some of the hackathon winners built e-commerce platforms where people can buy straight from the farmers and have the goods delivered to their doorstep. Ainun’s team brought the winners of Hackathon Merdeka 1.0 to pitch their apps to the president.
The first hackathon impressed Rudiantara, Minister of Communication and Informatics so much, that he championed the efforts of Ainun’s team. He pushed forward Hackathon Merdeka 2.0 in October, which involved 1,700 participants from 28 cities. This included Sydney, with the hackathon hosted by Freelancer.
On December 4 and 5, Hackathon Merdeka 3.0 transpired in all Indonesian diaspora around the world. The final phase of Hackathon Merdeka was in observance of the International Anti-Corruption Day. This hackathon gained the support of the Corruption Eradication Commission and Indonesia Corruption Watch.
What’s Next for Ainun?
Ainun shared their wild idea of setting up an online political party to bring the citizens' aspirations to the national level. If it’s too much of an idea to take part in the election, then they will just set up a platform to show how a political party should be -- one that engages and listens to citizens’ concerns and aspirations not just during election campaign period but throughout the year.