Monithon meets the New York Public Library

Yesterday we had the honor to have a conversation with brilliant Daphna Blatt and Caitlyn Colman-McGaw from the New York Public Library (NYPL) about future applications of civic monitoring in New York City.

Daphna Blatt, who is Director of Strategic Research & Analytics at the NYPL, learned about us in the book Mistrust by our friend Professor Ethan Zuckerman, a well-known media scholar and Internet activist, former director of the MIT Media Lab and now an associate professor of public policy, communication and information at the University of Massachusetts.

Public libraries have a key role in promoting citizen engagement in “smart city” initiatives and cultivating civic impact. In particular, the NYPL is recognized as one of the world’s most innovative institutions and a real beacon of legitimacy and identity in New York. NYPL’s programs combine exceptional expertise in data and information with the ability to act as a facilitator of civic initiatives for public accountability and for increasing trust in public institutions. Have a look at the NYC Open Data portal.

We were impressed by their interest in both Monithon’s method and the At the School of OpenCohesion application. Caitlyn Colman-McGaw, Manager of Young Adult Educational Programming, asked about the emotional response of high-school students when exposed to controversial public issues – a response that eventually leads to creative suggestions for improving public policies.

Our own Luigi Reggi also mentioned EU policies and initiatives for reducing inequality and promoting social inclusion, which are particularly interesting in the context of New York City.

A final recommendation from the NYPL was to collect more detailed information about the civic impact of our monitoring, for example by assessing civic skills and awareness before and after the monitoring activities.

Stay tuned for future developments 🙂

 

 

Civic monitoring of EU policy in Turin shows both positive and negative aspects of funded projects

On May 21, the student laboratory of the University of Turin – one of the activities of the project “A civic monitoring network for the civic monitoring of the European funds for the environment, promoted by Monithon and Lunaria and co-financed by the European Commission – delivered its results. The event was organized with the support of the Metropolitan City of Turin, Europe Direct Turin and the OpenCoesione initiative of the Department for Cohesion of the Presidency of the Council. The discussion was designed for the students to meet the authorities and hear their positions on the possibilities offered by monitoring.

A training experience not only for the students – involved in monitoring six projects funded by the European Union in the Turin area – but also for the administrators who attended the final event during which the students presented the results of their monitoring, highlighting the shortcomings.

The monitoring activity allowed the students to conduct fieldwork activities and check the progress of the projects – selected through the interactive Project Finder map made available by Monithon -, which also allowed them to meet the recipients of the funded projects, and therefore see the real impact they have on citizens’ lives. What basically emerged during the project was that, although useful and well-realized, the users of the services complain of shortcomings, not only due to the lack of maintenance, but also to the implementation of the interventions, which do not always exactly meet the needs of the beneficiaries of the projects.

After the first phase of “inspection”, the students then contacted the public managers responsible for the National Programme “Metropolitan Cities” to ask for clarification regarding the shortcomings they found. This has therefore made it possible to open a round table with the European Commission and the City of Turin not only on the issue of civic monitoring – a very useful tool in monitoring the management of funds – but also on the importance of involving citizens in all phases of the project for a better success of the project itself.

Read the civic monitoring reports [IN ITALIAN]

 

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Cristina Scarasciullo

Contributor

24-years-old student of Public and Political Communication at the University of Turin. Citizen of the world with Puglia in her heart and a backpack always ready for new experiences. Many different interests that, however, have a passion for writing in common.

164 teams from “At School of OpenCohesion” have completed their civic monitoring!

We want to congratulate the students, teachers, and the “At School of OpenCohesion” team for completing the long civic monitoring program in such a difficult year.

164 monitoring groups – two-thirds of those that started in October last year – have reached the end of the course and are ready to participate in the final selection for finding out which groups will emerge as winners in this edition.

It is an extraordinary result obtained also thanks to the partners and territorial networks that have supported the groups and facilitated the interviews with the subjects responsible for the projects financed by the Cohesion Policies.

Our editorial team supported the groups and commented on the civic monitoring reports that were developed in the third phase of the educational path. The overall quality of the reports is very good, with about 50 reports that resulted particularly effective thanks to their critical analysis, in-depth information, communicative capacity, and the ability to reach a wide audience of subjects in their investigations. About 45% of the reports published on our site received specific comments from our editorial team on the various sections of the report, which guided the development of the research and greatly improved the final result.

READ ALL THE REPORTS HERE, starting with the last one sent.

In such a particular year, it was hard to physically visit the projects, but the students were great at interviewing the responsible parties remotely. To all the teams that have not yet been able to send their Monithon civic monitoring report, we remind you that there is no deadline for sending the report to us!

There is always time to continue monitoring, and we are here to support you.

There is a new app in town: Monithon Project Finder helps you discover EU-funded project in your city

On Friday 16 April was presented to the public the “Monithon Project Finder” – a new web application created by Monithon in collaboration with the designers and developers of Sheldon Studio, starting from the open data published by OpenCoesione, which helps to locate the projects financed in the environmental sector from European funds 2014-2020.

An interactive map allows to perform a search related to funded projects in Italy per municipality and districts: each pin on the map calls out a project. There are over 7 thousand projects displayed, for an amount of approximately 8.9 billion euros, which can be filtered by Municipality, theme, project category, budget, starting year, and implementation progress. The map displays projects financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in the 2014-2020 programming period, as classified by OpenCoesione in the following “synthetic themes”: Environment, Energy, Culture, and Tourism. The data update is as of 31st December 2020.

Among the projects, there are all those relating to energy efficiency of public buildings and enterprises, sustainable mobility, prevention and mitigation of hydrogeological risk and climate change, management of the waste cycle, modernization of water networks, wastewater treatment, protection of biodiversity, enhancement of the environmental and natural heritage.

By the means of the Project Finder, the user can select the most interesting projects to evaluate. Once the project has been identified, anyone can start their civic monitoring activities by clicking on the button contained in the description of the selected project. The civic monitor will automatically access the Monithon work area, where she will be guided step by step in the development of the Civic Monitoring Report thanks to the online guide MoniTutor.

4 steps for finding the projects near you and starting the civic monitoring

The map can be navigated freely, although we recommend that you follow the steps below.

1. Locate your municipality

From projectfinder.monithon.eu, the first step is to look for a municipality to start from (top left). The map will focus on the chosen municipality: each dot corresponds to a project, and the color depends on the thematic area (e.g. sustainable mobility or environment). By moving the distance indicator just below right and left, you can establish the size of the radius starting from the center of the municipality, for example to consider only the municipal area, neighboring municipalities or the entire province or metropolitan area.

2. Filter the projects to find something interesting

At the bottom, you can raise the green panel to select the projects: you can filter by “category” (there are 28 and they distinguish the projects on the basis of the main activity carried out), or by budget, year of start, progress and presence of civic monitoring reports on the project, indicating that the same project has already been monitored in the past.

3. Pick a project from the list

To see the resulting list of projects, you need to click on the white panel, bottom right. The projects can be sorted by distance, theme, financial value or starting year.

4. Start monitoring!

By clicking on each project, you access a summary sheet that contains the essential data on the progress and description of the project. From here you can start monitoring: by clicking on the button at the bottom right of the card you will be accompanied immediately (if you are not logged in, just log in) on our work area for creating the report and access all the information and suggestions of the MoniTutor. Of course, you can also access the project sheet by simply clicking on each dot!

“Monithon Project Finder” was created to accompany the activities of the project “A national network for civic monitoring of European funds for the environment and sustainable development”, implemented by Lunaria and Monithon – and co-funded by the Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy of the European Commission.

Let’s learn how to monitor the EU funding for the environment!

We are happy to invite you to two free online training events (in Italian) on the civic monitoring of EU funding for the environment in Italy on April 16 and May 21. On the second day, we will launch a national civic monitoring network. Here you can find the program and all the info to participate.

If you are interested in participating or collaborating with us, please send us an email at retemonitoraggiocivico@gmail.com!

Two online events, free and open to all, are scheduled for next Friday 16 April and Friday 21 May, from 2.00 pm to 5.00 pm, organized in collaboration with the Sbilanciamoci! Campaign, with the laboratory “European cohesion policies and territorial communication strategies” (Prof. Alba Garavet), and the course “Communicating Europe: institutions, representations and public opinion” of the University of Turin (Prof. Marinella Belluati). What are the environmental projects financed in Italy by the European Union through the resources of the European Cohesion Policy? Where exactly are they located, and what kind of interventions do they envisage? How much are the resources allocated to them, and who manages them in our country? How to monitor their progress and evaluate the real impact on beneficiaries and territories? These are the questions to be answered in the two initiatives in April and May, thanks to the participation of experts, activists from Italian environmental organizations and networks, students, institutional representatives.

This training is co-funded by the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy of the European Commission thanks to the project “A national network for civic monitoring of European funds for the environment and sustainable development”, created by the NGOs Lunaria and Monithon. The project is supported by the Sbilanciamoci! Campaign, the OpenCoesione initiative of the Department for Cohesion of the Presidency of the Council and the Department of Culture, Politics and Society of the University of Turin, the Metropolitan City of Turin, and the Europe Direct Turin.

Download the complete program of the two events on April 16th and May 21st (in Italian)

In particular, the afternoon of Friday 16 April will open with a session aimed at providing – thanks to the interventions of Anguel Beremliysky (Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy of the European Commission) and Francesca De Lucia (expert in environmental issues) – an overview on the EU Cohesion Policy and European funds for the environment in Italy. Following, the best practices of civic monitoring animated by Monithon, by the laboratory on European cohesion policies of the University of Turin and by the University of Turin will be presented with contributions respectively by Luigi Reggi (Monithon), Alba Garavet (Europe Direct Torino), Simona De Luca, and Gianmarco Guazzo from At School of OpenCohesion (ASOC). 

Besides, the Monithon team will offer specific training on the civic monitoring of EU funds for the environment and sustainability, which finance thousands of projects throughout Italy. On this occasion, a new interactive platform will also be illustrated – created in collaboration with Sheldon Studio starting from the open data published by OpenCoesione – to discover and promptly locate the projects financed in one’s territory, and access all the information already available such as the financial dimension, the description, the subjects involved, the implementation schedules and the progress. The objective of the event on April 16 is to launch initial experimentation of environmental civic monitoring by “triggering” the autonomous initiative of the training participants.

The event scheduled for the afternoon of Friday 21 May will open with the presentation of civic monitoring initiatives – their challenges, strengths, and the preliminary results achieved – launched on an experimental basis following the training day of 16 April. The discussants for this session will be Willebrordus Sluijters and Andrea Mancini of the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy of the European Commission. During the second session, the foundations will then be laid for the process of setting up a national civic monitoring network of European funds for the environment and sustainable development, with a round table of comparison and extended discussion between various organized subjects of Italian civil society. Among the organizations and participants who confirmed their presence at the round table are: Sergio Andreis (Kyoto Club), Gianluca Catullo (WWF Italy), Sabina De Luca (Forum Inequalities Diversity), Anna Donati (Alliance for Sweet Mobility), Paola Dottor (Transparency International Italia), Emanuele Genovese (Fridays for Future Italia), Anna Lisa Mandorino (Cittadinanzattiva), Maria Maranò (Legambiente), Luigi Reggi (Monithon), Sara Vegni (ActionAid), Duccio Zola (Lunaria).