Two-way platform for civic empowermentBy Colab.re
When Bruno Aracaty and Gustavo Maia were working on a political campaign during the 2012 municipal elections in Recife, they took to Facebook to create polls asking local residents about the city’s problems and possible solutions. The strategy was a huge success – more than 50,000 people took part.
Even though their supported candidate eventually pulled out of the elections, Aracaty and Maia realised that people needed an effective communication channel with the government, and decided to build a platform that would deliver just that.
In 2013, the pair launched Colab in Recife. A simple and transparent two-way communication gateway between politicians and citizens, Colab allows anyone to go to their website or app, post a photo and a description and choose a category under which to file their post: ‘report’ is used for reporting incidents like anti-social behaviour, ‘propose’ is for suggesting ideas, and ‘evaluate’ is for reviewing current government services like public transport or even football stadiums.
Colab’s success was swift. Soon after launch, people in São Paulo were enquiring about using it too, and the founders were seeing that there was demand all over Brazil. They have now expanded to more than 50 municipalities with 100,000 users across the country.
The next challenge is to get city officials to use Colab with as much fervour as the voters. So far, Colab has an agreement with the city of Curitiba, which uses the app’s free dashboard to monitor and respond to citizen complaints, and is hoping to partner with more cities, both in Brazil and internationally.
A premium version for city officials is in the works, which will feature push notifications and polls for citizens to help with decision making. See if your city is using the service at http://www.colab.re
Image courtesy of Igor Schutz
Last updated: 30th of August, 2016