Towards a more Open Government in the Americas

Fellows Twenty-three young professionals from 14 countries of the hemisphere met in Osprey Point, Washington, this month to join a global network of change agents. For the next nine months, these young leaders will work developing projects that will be linked to transparency, citizen participation and the efficient public administration in the region.

This gathering represented the second edition of the Fellowship OAS on Open Government in the Americas, a program of the Organization of American States (OAS). For second consecutive year, this program is opening a space for the free exchange of knowledge and experiences in Open Government (OG) among young leaders from the public administration, private sector and civil society.

I was one of the 23 young leaders who were invited to participate in this program.

First things first, who am I? I’m a UX Designer at Acklen Avenue, also, a well known member of the tech community in Honduras. One of the core values of Acklen Avenue is community, so yes, you see why it makes sense to me to be part of the team. I’ve been organizing tech events in Honduras for nearly 5 years now. It’s been an amazing experience so far, full of learning and, of course, lots of hard work.

One of my goals organizing these tech events is to create a positive impact on my country. I like seeing projects developed and implemented, always improving, and most importantly: making people’s life better. With these thoughts in mind, I understood that it would not be possible to create a change if we were working as islands —after all, the separation of islands is just an illusion, they’re all connected underwater. A couple of years ago, we, as a community, decided to involve more and more government agencies as partners in our process —of using our technological skills for social good. That’s why understanding how government works is of pivotal importance. We need to understand their goals so we can work together to generate more impact.

Even though it is still in development, I can already say with confidence that this Fellowship program has been an extremely useful growth opportunity for me: chatting with fellows from other countries and finding out that we all share common problems, or eventually finding someone who’s a little more advance and can pronounce the “been there, done that”, and explain in detail how they did it, what worked for them, and what didn’t. All of those conversations that occurred during the breaks and meals, were, to put in a simple word, enlightening. The core program content was also a unique experience, I honestly didn’t know much about Open Government until I began my preparation for this program; now I see it as a logical iteration towards a more democratic democracy (somehow that phrase makes perfect sense for me, I hope it also clicks you).

Working at Acklen Avenue makes the difference when it comes to actually creating something useful out of the fellowship, it may be me who’s in front, but I know I have the support from a team of not only great software developers, but also amazing people that are willing to go the extra mile to make a dent in our society and make the world a better, fairer, place where our voices really matter.

You can read more about the OAS’ Fellowship on Open Government in the Americas following this link: http://www.oas.org/opengovfellowship