The question we ask ourselves here is: how technology can be used to build sustainable, affordable, and accessible spaces of civic participation? Spaces that, tailored to Paraguay's socio-economic and cultural context, allow citizens to gather together to discuss solutions, proposals and ideas to address public interest issues (e.g., public transportation, sanitary system).

Participa is a 2-year-long research project funded by the CONACYT (National Council of Science and Technology of Paraguay) and conducted by a multidisciplinary team of Informatics and Sociology professors, researchers and technicians from the Catholic University of Asuncion, Paraguay (UCA) and the University of Trento, Italia (UniTN).

In Participa, first, we plan to explore similar initiatives that have been already proposed in other countries. Later, we are going to research, through pilot studies, the motives, characteristics, and forms of the ICT-mediated civic participation in Paraguay. Finally, our work is going to be focused on modeling, designing, developing and implementing of technology solutions and processes that enable Paraguayan citizens to participate in the ideation of solutions for common interest issues.

Expected Results

To extend the literature with new knowledge about the problem of civic participation through technology on Latin-America sociocultural contexts. In particular, we expect to extend the understanding of executing processes to engage the public in the ideation of solutions for social problems

To build technological solutions that, tailored to Paraguay's socio-cultural and economic context, can serve as an effective means through which the citizenry can work together on ideating solutions for social problems and innovations for public goods and services

To identify social issues on which the society at large would be interested in gathering together to find solutions

To implement processes that enable the civil society to be involved in initiatives of public sector innovation

Validate the solution as an efficient, sustainable, and affordable platform for civic engagement

Case Studies

Voz y Voto : Members of Participa's team took part in the implementation of Voz y Voto. Voz y voto was a civic engagement initiative organized by Sebastián Villarejo (current municipal councilman of Asuncion, the capital of Paraguay) and his electoral campaign team on late 2015. The project aimed at involving Asuncion's citizens on the discussion of ideas for addressing problems related to sustainable urban mobility, garbage and recycling, city management, and others. Voz y voto leverage on a specially-designed idea management platform, IdeaScale, and Facebook to build a virtual space through which citizens can share ideas, vote and give opinions on how these problems can be solved. After about three months of discussion, a set of promising ideas were selected for study.
Participa en tu Educación : Participa en tu Educación is an online participation space where citizens can ideate together solutions for educational issues of Paraguay on three particular areas: Education Infrastructure, Teacher Training, and School Attendance. It works through two participation channels, a Facebook group and a website on IdeaScale platform. In the background, the Social Ideation App keeps synchronized the content of both channels.
Participa en tu Congreso : Participa en tu Congreso is an initiative carried out together with Reglas Claras campaign. It is an online space where anybody can contribute with ideas to increase transparency and citizens' participation in the Congress of Paraguay. It works through two participation channels, a Facebook group and a website on IdeaScale platform. In the background, the Social Ideation App keeps synchronized the content of both channels.

Solutions

Social Ideation App : Social Ideation is an application that connects IdeaScale — one of today's leading online idea management platforms — with the world's largest virtual space of participation and socialization, Facebook, allowing people to participate in IdeaScale-based public consultations initiatives from Facebook.
AppCivist : AppCivist is a software platform for democratic assembly and collective action that lets users design and build their own Assemblies, with modular components, to organize democratic action. It is a tool for collaborative decision-making that helps groups of people to tackle problems in their communities, discuss and decide on ideas for solutions, and turn those ideas into proposals.

Publications

Scientific Publications

Jorge Saldivar, Marcos Baez, Carlos Rodriguez, Gregorio Convertino, Grzegorz Kowalik. Idea Management Communities in the Wild: An exploratory study of 166 online communities. CTS 2016.
Jorge Saldivar, Florian Daniel, Fabio Casati, Luca Cernuzzi. Idea Management in Social Networks: A Study of how to Tap into the Ideas of Facebook Communities. CTS 2016.
Tanja Aitamurto, Jorge Saldivar. Examining the Quality of Crowdsourced Deliberation: Respect, Reciprocity and Lack of Common-Good Orientation. CHI’17 Extended Abstracts, May 06-11, 2017, Denver, CO, USA.
Jorge Saldivar. Empowering Online Idea Management for Civic Engagement with Public Displays and Social Networking Services. PhD Thesis, University of Trento. 2017
Tanja Aitamurto and Jorge Saldivar. Motivation Factors in Crowdsourced Policymaking: Problem Solving, Learning, and Voicing the Crowd’s Experience. In the 67th Conference – International Communication Association, San Diego, CA, USA, 2017.
Cristhian Parra, Christelle Rohaut, Marianne Maeckelbergh, Valerie Issarny, James Holston. Expanding the Design Space of ICT for Participatory Budgeting. Communities and Technologies 2017, Jun 2017, Troyes, France. ACM, Communities and Technologies 2017, 2017.

Technical Reports

Jorge Saldivar, Cristhian Parra, Marcelo Alcaraz, Rebeca Arteta, LucaCernuzzi. Estudio de la literatura: Tecnologías utilizadas para promover la participación ciudadana en la innovacióndel sector público. Reporte Técnico D1 - Proyecto Participa. 2016
Camilo Caballero, Marcelo Alcaraz, Rebeca Arteta, Jorge Saldivar, LucaCernuzzi. Estudio sobre problemáticasn acionales de interés público. Reporte Técnico D1 - Proyecto Participa. Reporte Técnico D2 - Proyecto Participa. 2016
Camilo Caballero, Jorge Saldivar,Cristian Parra, Marcelo Alcaraz, Rebeca Arteta, Luca Cernuzzi. Participa en tu educación: Estudio piloto sobre innovación en el sector educativo paraguayo. Reporte Técnico D3 - Proyecto Participa. 2016
Cristhian Parra, Vincenzo D’Andrea, JorgeSaldivar, LucaCernuzzi. Taller de Diseño Participativo. Reporte Técnico D4 - Proyecto Participa. 2017
Marcelo Alcaraz, Rebeca Arteta, Cristhian Parra, Jorge Saldivar. AppCivist: Desarrollo de plataforma de participación cívica. Reporte Técnico D5 - Proyecto Participa. 2017

Team

Prof. Dr. Luca Cernuzzi

(UC, Paraguay)
Principal Researcher and Project Director

Prof. Dr. Vincenzo D’Andrea

(UniTN, Italia)
Associate Researcher

Dr. Jorge Saldivar

(UniTN/UC)
Research Assistant

Dr. Cristhian Parra

(U. of California, Berkeley, USA)
Research Assistant

Msc. Camilo Caballero

(U. of Salamanca, Spain)
Research Assistant

Ing. Guido Núñez

(UC, Paraguay)
Junior Engineer

Ing. Jammily Ortigoza

(UC, Paraguay)
Junior Engineer

Gustavo Vera Scuderi

(Codium S.A., Paraguay)
Front-End Developer - External collaborator

Marcelo Alcaraz

(UC, Paraguay)
Junior Researcher

Rebeca Arteta

(UC, Paraguay)
Junior Researcher

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