ReStart Romania 2012 – A challenge for government transparency, open data and user-friendly public service

On November 16, two hundred diplomats, businesspeople, civic leaders, journalists and IT hackers voted by text message during the ReStart Romania Gala which announced the winners of the second annual ReStart Romania technology challenge.

Based on the TechSoup Global challenge model (pioneered at NetSquared events in 2007, 2008 and 2009), ReStart Romania brings developers, activists, public, and private sector folks together to kick-start social change. Restart Romania’s projects in 2011 engaged Romanians to end corruption, preserve forests, improve medical services and clean-up the streets.

This year’s ReStart Romania challenge again saw 2,000 people register with 102 projects proposing online crowdsourcing solutions for more transparency in government, education, open data and for efficient and user-friendly government services. Once the ideas were posted, more than 11.000 unique visitors contributed to the ReStart webpage with visits, comments or likes. The challenge generated 450 mentions of ReStart and TechSoup Romania in the online environment, creating almost 750,000 impressions to ReStart related topics in the media.

ReStart Romania 2012 winners received cash prizes which will enable the creation of their platforms by March, 2013. They winners were:

  • OrasulTuturor.ro / A City for All (a project of The National Organization for People with Disabilities) -- an online platform which would locate all accessible public places and put them on an interactive map. Half of Romania’s public buildings (from city halls to schools or universities) are not accessible which contributes to a 97% unemployment rate for the disabled.
  • Lipsatratament.ro / Lack of Treatment (a project of Romanian Angel Appeal) -- an online platform which monitors the supply of life-saving drugs for the 65% of Romanian HIV/AIDS patients and 65,000 cancer patients at-risk due to the lack of needed medication. A mobile phone app, blog, and interactive map help patients and doctors to report shortages caused by Romania’s inefficient national distribution system.
  • Sexulvsbarza.ro / Sex vs. The Stork (a project of Adriana Radu and Front Association) -- an online sex education platform needed in Romania because it has one of the highest rates of underage pregnancies in Europe. The website will also focus on the rights of young women, gay, lesbian and transgender teens.
  • And the four finalists were:

  • Legilibere.ro / Free laws (a project of the Sponge Media Lab in Bucharest) -- an online platform which would provide people with summaries of pending civic legislation in an open format and in plain language so the impact of new laws can be easily understood. 
  • Lexcivitas.ro (a project of the Save Bucharest Association) -- an online platform to alert citizens about pending urban development projects, their impact, and compliance with rules and regulations.
  • PublicJob.ro / Public Job (a project of Cristian Botan) -- a job portal to ensure equal access for everyone to all public sector employment opportunities (together with the application process for each job posted).
  • Publicăm economia publică / We Publish the Economy (a project of Irina Lonean) -- an online platform which would treat citizens as "share-holders" in public enterprises in order to keep them informed about the efficiency of public spending.
  • In addition, this year a Coding Award was presented by Microsoft Corporation’s Senior Director of Global Community Affairs Akhtar Badshah to IT companies for their volunteer contribution. (The winner was Zitec, which also took home the Design Award).  And U.S. Ambassador Mark Gitenstein received the Honorary ReStarter Award for his tireless support for the ReStart concept and for its projects.

    Learn more about ReStart Romania on the ReStart Facebook page, see 75 great photos from the Gala, and watch videos on the ReStart video page (which includes testimonials by local activists telling us “what pisses them off about Romania”).

    ReStart is spreading: coming soon to this blog you can read about the winners of just completed challenges by ReStart Czech Republic and ReStart Slovakia.

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    Pictured above: a video testimonial from the ReStart video page.

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