Open Development Mekong Project
The East-West Management Institute (EWMI) works to strengthen democratic societies by bringing together government, civil society, and the private sector – to build accountable, capable and transparent institutions. EWMI first developed and pilot a country platform called Open Development Cambodia (ODC) to better organize, share and analyze economic and environmental development and land conversion data among a network of related grassroots organizations in Cambodia using a unique open data platform to facilitate this collaboration. The platform addresses urgent areas of concern including: deforestation, land grabbing, water/food security, access to information, and freedom of expression. It also challenged critical, debilitating threats to data transparency using an approach that separated factual data from advocacy to protect it from government censorship, which is a significant issue in the region. Once the ODC pilot was proven, with tens of thousands of users accessing it per month EWMI initiated Open Development Mekong to do the same regionally in Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.
Internaut Consulting was initially retained to research and develop grant proposals for potential donors related to the ODC web platform and to advise on its technical developments and program strategy. Funding from proposals written by Internaut Consultimh came from MacArthur Foundation, McKnight Foundation, Global Vision, American Jewish World Service, Open Society and Spider (a Swedish SIDA affiliate). Internaut Consulting also assisted in the development of a USAID technology incubator and entrepreneurship proposal in Cambodia for USAID.
As the Cambodian pilot evolved into a regional platform, Internaut Consulting’s mandate was extended to help identify a management team, find programming resources and project manage the complete overhaul of the platform deployment which included redoing the entire front and back end interface; deploying data harvesting and data sharing extensibility; allowing for native multi-lingual capability; making it accessible/responsive via mobile; cleaning up and adding thousands of records; converting the original Open Development Cambodia (ODC) platform to this new open data platform developed in WordPress and CKAN; and finally, converting the 33,000 ODC users to the new platform.