Project Name - OneCity App "Your 1 Rupee a Day Can Change the City"
Manohar Shrestha(IT Graduate, REGIS University)
When I think of some of the major problems of our city, I see it’s not the problem itself but our lack of education and self-awareness in these issues. It’s about time to change; ourselves, how we deal problems, and how we see things around us.
Most of the time, we blame on Government for not properly addressing on critical issues of the city. At the same time, Government has to rely on foreign aids and loans to complete most of the tasks related to nation. The taxpayers of the country are not happy with the development progress and the continuous problems like inadequate supply of power, drinking water, public safety, public health, education; handling of air, solid and water pollution, vehicle traffic control, domestic violence, and human rights. This is not exhausted list of problems; I can go on and on.
What if we, as citizens, of the country, start dealing with these problems from grass root level. If we can build a system where we can call on general public to participate on the development process as well as dealing with the aforementioned issues. However, our lives have become busy these days due to work, school, family and social issues. Not everyone can manage time to devote on these issues even though they want to contribute something to the society. But, with this program, people who cannot afford time for these issues can still participate and become a part of this program.
"The concept of this OneCity App is to make a platform or portal for citizens to participate and/or to get information on this program. One can download this app for free and can use as a guest user or a registered user. Registered users are the one who donates at least 30 rupees per month (the idea being spending 1 rupee a day). There is no cap for accepted donation. As the number of registered users grows, the donation amount increases. These collected money are spent wisely on various development and social issues weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis. The report of such work and spending are collected and published in the app’s news section. The app also provides pool of resources on various issues like public health, education, national laws, waste management, water and sanitation, vehicle traffic etc. to increase awareness among the general public. For participating on this program, registered users are eligible for monthly prize draw from our sponsors. Apart from monthly lottery prize, users are rewarded with personalized appreciation emails, E-certificates, and souvenirs.
The concept of OneCity App is not limited to cities like Kathmandu but can be practiced all over the world for community service. This truly shows how people can help each other in endless ways with a very minimum effort.
Major features of OneCity app
· Keeps track of donation money
· Lists participating Sponsors
· Alerts on updates and news on development programs and spending
· Photo Gallery
· Suggestion Box/Forum
· Awareness information on various issues
· Lists Monthly prize winners
· Donors (Users/General Public)
· Technical Support (Developers)
· Implementation Partners (Non-profit Organization, or establish one)
· Sponsors (Monthly Prize)
· Advertisement Clients
· Media Partners (Newspaper, Television, Radio, SMS Marketers)
Some of the program addressed by OneCity App Program
· Clean Kathmandu (streets, river, cultural place, public parks).
· Add greenery to the city.
· Proper management of slums around the banks of river.
· Provide free education to the under privileged children.
· Provide basic health care to poor people.
· Take care of stray dogs in the city.
Figure 1: Use-case Diagram for OneCity App System
3. TARGET AUDIENCE
There is no restriction in audience for this program. Everyone is equally welcome to use this app and participate in the program. The motto of this program is to address city issues with 1 rupee per person per day. However, the target audience for this app will most likely be college students and working adults carrying smartphone because of their literateness and affordability.
Smartphone has been an integral accessory for the youth because of its multi functions and connectivity to the social network and World Wide Web. Above all, one has access to millions of apps that can facilitate daily tasks. Youth using smartphone as well as web can access information about the program and participate. Furthermore, the cost for contribution to this program is very low i.e., 30 rupees per month or 1 rupee a day. I believe most of the participant (users) can afford to support for this great cause. Entertainingly, those who will contribute are eligible for monthly prize draw.
4. EARLY FEEDBACK
Before I wrote this Blueprint, I had so many ideas on using mobile technology to do many cool stuffs like tracking a vehicle or person, calling for help, neighborhood watch to prevent crime, app that measures your daily power consumption, list of free public services, listing national laws, tracking vehicular traffic and so on. However, in all those ideas, I realized the app need to work directly or indirectly with some authority (Governmental and Non-Governmental). To present day, we still lack robust IT infrastructure in the country and the idea of communicating our apps to third party authority (lets say, Police department, Fire Department, Hospitals) is not feasible. However, that does not mean that I am against new technological ideas to solve city problems. I found out that we have more smaller and granular problems than that of using technology alone. That’s why I decided to use mobile technology to address wide range of social issues related to city.
Mrs. Samira Shakya is an advocacy and campaign officer at WaterAid Nepal. She travels a lot to remote areas of Nepal to solve problems on water and sanitation. She knows life for those people are not same as our lives in city. They do not have access to basic facility like water, sanitation, food, education and health. One day, she wants to work on her own on social service to help those needy people. When I presented OneCity App idea to her, she was really fascinated. She wanted to be the first person to join the program and promised to campaign on our program. She believed that platform like this will bring like-minded people together who wants to contribute to the society.
Since this is a non-profit social service program through a mobile platform, there is no immediate threat of competition. Moreover, any similar programs or with a different approach to address social issues will further address more issues of the city, which we, as citizens, are more likely to hear.
However, here are some potential competitors for this app and its audience
· Non-Profit Organizations
There are various NGOs in the country that are addressing social issues. This may lead our audience to deviate from participating in the program. But, this program is different from NGOs, which, runs on foreign funds rather than this program, which, runs on peoples fund.
· Social Media such as Facebook, Twitter and so on.
Volunteer groups on social network are also engaged on solving social issues. Audience might want to use social platform rather than mobile phone platform to get involved in social issues. But, this program has tons of information, news update, and monthly prize draw.
· Similar mobile apps and program
After launching this app, there is a great possibility of developing similar app and program. This could be a threat since, the new app and program could attract audience from this program. However, the programs transparency on spending, better and updated apps, committed sponsors, media highlight and better management will retain our valuable users and contributors.
Mr. Ravi Ram Pokharel is an entrepreneur and environmentalist. He has a small family and owns a house in Thapathali near the Bagmati River. He likes his home very much but he does not like the surrounding around it. The awful smell of solid waste flowing or sometimes stagnant has made his living a hell. Another frustrating issue is the slum by the banks of river. He does not feel quite safe because of the migrant people staying there. There have been number of incidents of burglary, extortion and rape around that area. He sometimes thinks of shifting to a new place. People like Mr. Pokharel will be interested to join OneCity App program and be a part to resolve issues like he is facing. OneCity App program would address issues like this by organizing cleaning sessions, managing slums, and being vigilant to crime prone areas.
7. TOP USER STORIES
A Government Official
OneCity has got tremendous support from general public and media to be extremely successful and touching so many people’s lives. The way people are working hands-in-hands shows that people care for each other. Even though I work for Government for National Planning, I am very much impressed with the amount of social issues addressed in so little time without any financial help from government or foreign donors. I like all the features of the app and their working mechanism. I am a proud user of OneCity App and I am happy to be part of this campaign.
A Bachelors Student
Being a student, I have my own worries. I have to split my time between family, school, friends and other social events. I don’t get much time to think about development and other issues of country. However, when I first heard of OneCity App, I was not much interested on it even though I use smartphone. One of the problems I was facing around my neighborhood was Stray Dogs. These dogs roam around the meat shop day and night. It has caused too many road accidents. Above all, they bark all night and I couldn’t concentrate on my studies. Since last month there are no more dogs, they were taken to special shelter. Later, I found that the program from OneCity App has solved this issue. Ever since, I have become an active member of OneCity App and I proudly donate for great cause.
8. BUSINESS MODEL
One of the crucial aspects of this program is its sustainability. In order to provide uninterrupted service, adequate funds should be managed. There are three major source of fund for this program.
· Donation from users (general public)
The biggest source of fund is through donations from app users who would like to participate and contribute for development works. Therefore, the key success of this program is to have as many members as possible. This can be done by promotion through local newspaper, SMS marketing, television and radio in partnership/sponsorship with media partners. For registered users a nominal fee of Rs.30 is charged, however, if one wishes to donate more than Rs.30 he/she is most welcome. There are two options to donate. User can donate to the program through vendors like ‘e-sewa’ or they will be charged through mobile service provider (NTC or Ncell). The program will then collect the money from respected mobile service provider. The collected funds from the user are highly prioritized to spend solely on development works and addressing critical issues of the city.
· Revenue from in-app advertisement
Another source of fund is through in-app advertisement of local businesses. As the number of users increases, businesses are tempted to invest on advertisement in this app. This fund can be utilized for overhead and operational cost of the app and the program itself.
· Monthly Prize Sponsors
In order to motivate and entertain the registered users as well as to attract new users, there will be monthly prize draw. The prize could be anything from smartphone, tablet, electronic item, etc. to the item that has value of more than Rs.5000. These prizes will be backed from our sponsor partners so that the program does not have to use any of the donation money for this purpose.
For the success of this app and the program, adequate and effective marketing is a must. Promotion is necessary both before and after launching of the app to attract new users and to reach out people to articulate about the program. Since, this is a non-profit program, it would be wise to call upon sponsoring media partners to showcase our app and information about the program in respective media (Newspaper, Television, SMS marketing, Radio).
Likewise, the app should do its own marketing session to attract enough in-app advertisement clients to increase its revenue to support overhead costs.
The OneCity App program needs to have a good implementation plan for its success. It has to maintain good relation and communicate among its key stakeholders. The stakeholders being: donors and users, technical personnel, implementation partners, sponsors, advertisement clients and media partners. There will be monthly meeting among stakeholder to discuss about the progress of the project and at the same time about hurdles that it is facing. The collected donations are used as per program policy and maintain utmost transparency. One of the key successes for this program is its continuity and sustainability. Therefore, this program needs to retain old users and attract new ones. This can be done with innovative ideas in the app and focusing on more critical social issues that general public will like.
Implementing partner performs all task of the program and is responsible to
· Manage tasks to be performed on weekly, fortnightly and monthly basis.
· Organize seminars on respected project and inform users through app.
· Hire and manage workforce to complete tasks.
· If necessary work in partnership with governmental and non-governmental bodies.
· Address users query from the Forum and figure out necessary social issues to be addressed.
· Maintain transparency on the spending of the donor’s money.
· Gather and submit updates about the project, financials of the project, related news and awareness tips to the technical team (developers) for daily news update in the app.
After this app is introduced to general public, depending on its popularity, here are some ideas that can be incorporated in future
· Partner with Governmental and Non-Governmental bodies to relay information to general public
· Add features in existing OneCity App, such as ICE (In Case of Emergency) help, live vehicular traffic information.
· Phone book (like yellow page)
· Users can upload pictures of related issues to be addressed.
· Integrate video clips on awareness, inspirational topics and local development news.
9. CORE TECHNOLOGIES
As this App needs to be available to maximum number of citizens of the country, the major platforms I can suggest of are as follows:
· Windows Phone OS
· Android OS
· Apple iOS
· Web Platform (For those who do not have smartphone or wish to use the
The app can be developed
· Natively using specific native language for each platform (for e.g. C# for Windows, Java for Android, Objective-C for Apple iOS, Php and other CMS tool for Web)
· Or Hybrid application using both native and web technologies (Such as PhoneGap, Sencha Touch to name a few).