September 15, 2011, LONDON and REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – Omidyar Network announced today its intent to grant up to $3M to six leading organizations focused on advancing government transparency and accountability. The organizations are: Association for Democratic Reforms (India), Co-Creation Hub (Nigeria), Fundacion Ciudadano Inteligente (Chile), Mideast Youth (Bahrain), Centre UA (Ukraine), and Open Knowledge Foundation (United Kingdom).
Through its Government Transparency initiative, Omidyar Network invests in organizations that use technology and media platforms to provide access to information and tools necessary for citizens to participate in the governing process and hold governments to account. Over the last two years, the firm has invested over $40M in transparency efforts across the globe, including organizations such as mySociety in the United Kingdom, Ushahidi in Kenya, Janaagraha in India, and Sunlight Foundation in the United States.
Omidyar Network intends to provide an operating grant of up to $750k to Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), an organization that seeks to improve governance and strengthen India’s democracy through electoral and political reforms. ADR discloses the backgrounds of parliament and state assembly candidates so that voters have the knowledge to make informed decisions. The nonprofit also works for greater transparency and accountability in elections and in political parties, and on raising awareness on changes needed in the electoral and political system. For more information: www.adrindia.org.
The Co-Creation Hub in Lagos, Nigeria will receive up to $200k in support of creating a shared work space where stakeholders from multiple walks of Nigerian life come together to collaboratively create tech-based solutions that address social challenges facing Nigerian society. It will be Nigeria’s first multi-functional, multi-purpose space dedicated to the creation of social technology ventures. The Hub will accommodate 50-60 tech start-ups at one time and will provide pre-incubation services including: advice, training, mentorship, and access to funding through a network of local and international partners. The Hub will also serve as a place for stakeholders to meet, brainstorm, share ideas, and collaborate through partnership events, meet-ups, focus groups, hackathons, competitions, and talks by guest speakers. For more information: www.cchubnigeria.com.
Omidyar Network intends to support Fundacion Ciudadano Inteligente with a grant up to $500k over three years. The Chilean nonprofit creates technology platforms, including websites and mobile applications, to provide citizens access to easy-to-use, graphical information about their government. Citizens can learn about what issues will be debated in parliament, access the profiles and voting records of elected officials, and learn about the demographic make up of the legislature. Future plans include creating online tools to learn about money’s influence in politics and government, as well as expansion to other Latin America countries. For more information: www.votainteligente.cl.
Mideast Youth will receive a grant up to $600k to expand its multi-media content and further develop CrowdVoice, a white-label platform used to build communities around social topics, such as human rights, religious freedom, tolerance, and free speech. Mideast Youth provides a unique platform in the Middle East for the discussion of issues affecting young people, and in the past two years has developed a number of websites to bring attention to marginalized groups in the region. The core sites provide a forum for discussion around a range of cultural and rights issues and are updated daily by more than 300 regular citizen journalists who contribute to the sites. For more information: www.mideastyouth.com.
Omidyar Network will grant Centre UA $335k over two years in support of its initiative, New Citizen. New Citizen is a coalition of more than 50 Ukrainian civil society organizations seeking to secure a greater voice for citizen participation in the political process and holding government to account. Omidyar Network’s support will enable the coalition to build out its technology platforms, enable education and outreach, and expand the program with the Ukraine. For more information: www.newcitizen.org.ua.
The Open Knowledge Foundation of the United Kingdom will receive a grant of up to $750k over three years. The U.K. nonprofit builds tools and communities to promote open access to information that can be used, reused and redistributed freely. The Open Knowledge Foundation works to increase knowledge about open data, designs innovative visualization tools that enable citizens to access and better interpret data, and builds dataset catalogues to demonstrate to both citizens and government alike the benefits of making data open, free, and accessible. Grant proceeds will be used to: expand Open Knowledge Foundation’s key financial transparency project, openspending.org; sustain and build working groups on open data; and establish chapters in additional countries. For more information: www.okfn.org.
In a separate announcement, Omidyar Network Investment Partner Stephen King stated Omidyar Network this week opened a global office in the Shoreditch area of London. The office will serve as the philanthropic investment firm’s headquarters for its work in Europe as well as serve as the global hub for its Government Transparency initiative. He also announced Omidyar Network will begin to expand the geographic focus of its Government Transparency practice to include: Poland, Turkey and Ukraine in Europe; Brazil and Mexico in Latin America; Egypt in the Middle East; and Indonesia and the Philippines in Southeast Asia. The initiative will continue to focus efforts in the United States, India, Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa in sub-Saharan Africa and the United Kingdom. [See press release: Omidyar Network Expands European Presence with Opening of London Office].
About Omidyar Network
Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm dedicated to harnessing the power of markets to create opportunity for people to improve their lives. Established in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, the organization invests in and helps scale innovative organizations to catalyze economic and social change. To date, Omidyar Network has committed nearly $450 million to for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations that foster economic advancement and encourage individual participation across multiple investment areas, including microfinance, entrepreneurship, property rights, transparency and accountability, and consumer Internet and mobile. To learn more about Omidyar Network, please visit www.omidyar.com.