The country-wide protests against the current government are interrupting GovIThub, Romania’s volunteer-run digital government transformation project. The GovIThub fellows halted their work on 1 February, making them one of the first to protest the new government. The government-supported project had been operational since October 2016, working with the ministries to create digital government services targeted at citizens.
“The government’s decisions invalidate GovITHub’s mission and blatantly contravene the principles upon which this programme was founded, as well as the fellows’ personal values”, the GovIThub fellows write in a public letter.
The 6-month GovIThub was an initiative of Romania’s former Prime Minister, Dacian Ciolos. It aimed to build digital government services, by attracting young IT specialists, start-ups and IT companies. The project aims to use technology to simplify bureaucratic procedures and create a digital public administration.
The government had hoped to create a community of programmers, designers, project managers and entrepreneurs. GovIThub included twenty government-funded fellows and 300 part-time IT specialists, and involved staff members from all ministries.
Since October, the community had started to work on more than 40 projects, of which 16 were launched online. The most visible project, Radar, let citizens monitor polling stations for the December 2016 parliamentary elections.
The group also redesigned and deployed the website of the Ministry of Health, built a solution to track the availability of vaccines, and was creating a human resource management portal for medical staff.
For the Ministry of Labor, GovITHub created an online map that shows all of Romania’s social services. Other GotIThub projects include an overhaul of the online tax services portal, and the creation of public consultation portal, where citizens can discuss government legislative initiatives.
Nearly all of the solutions created and code written by the project is publicly available.