Rebooting AskNepal initiative

30 Oct 2016 - Nikesh Balami

October 17th, 2016 – A day when I messaged Mr. Ravi Kumar Nepal, Co-founder of Code For Nepal showing my interest in leading and contributing AskNepal initiative and within a day my meeting was fixed with him for October 22nd, 2016 where we discuss the different possible ways of my engagement. Today right after one week of that meeting, here I am writing this post with the possible Project Plan, Admin Access, Project Lead tag. Unbelievable, Isn’t it a super fast way of joining a community. Yes, it is and thanks to Ravi and team for accepting me as a C4N family.

So, What are the possible next steps and how we are doing it?

Like every others project, AskNepal initiative also needs multi-stakeholders, supporters, collaborators to make a greater impact and easy outreach. So, our next step is to search for possible organizations and civil society organization (CSO) who can help us. Our initial discussion with some RTI Activist of Nepal had found that there is more than 10 organization working all around Nepal for the betterment of Right to Information Act with greater implementation and impact. At first stage, we will be starting this discussion with two organization of Nepal, Citizens’ Campaign for Right to Information (CCRI) and Freedom Forum because this organization has great experience of working in RTI field and human resources who believes in technological solution. We will keep searching others possible organization. We want these kinds of CSO, who understand technology to be our collaborators because AskNepal initiative is all about increasing citizen’s reach of Access to Information through the use of technology.

We will be taking feedback and suggestion from this two organization (CCRI Nepal and Freedom Forum) regarding site customization so, that we can make it more user-friendly because the current version of the site is the replicate of the global initiative Where you choose the public authority that you would like information from, then write a brief note describing what you want to know. Then we will play the intermediary role where we will send your request to the respective public authority or officer. Any response received is automatically published on the website for you and anyone else to find and read.

But we plan to localize the site according to the local context and needs to increase our chances of reaching local citizens from all around the country. We will implement and try all kinds of suggestion regarding site customization because, at the end of the day, all we want is to make the site user-friendly.

After making site perfect, our next step is to discuss initiative with a government organization in search of help. For this, we will follow Top-Down approach and will directly start from National Information Commission (NIC)  because when it comes to working with government, Bottom-Up approach never works and I personally have a good experience about this. We also believe our chances of getting positive responses from government officials is high and after getting linked with government and CSO, the project outreach is just a matter of time.

Last but not the least, the site is still empty, what about data, where are the list of public authorities?

The answers are clear and simple, we will search and crowdsourced it. National Information Technology Center (NITC) already have this data because all the ( domain are control and maintained by them. We will ask those data with them by using RTI Act and the ongoing project of Open Knowledge Nepal, PublicBodies Nepal can be another possible source of data.

The outreach and frequent maintenance of site will be done by the team of Code for Nepal and Open Knowledge Nepal. More importantly, If the initiative got selected for Accountability Lab Incubator, all the implementation of this plan is going to be easier.

Want to join or support AskNepal initiative, contact project lead Nikesh Balami (