There is no need to convince anybody how much important is the reliability of information and its authenticity these days. Citizens Network Watchdog Poland helps those who were denied access to information they needed and requested. Engineers from Sii Poland, who support the association as volunteers, participate in creating an application that will make the management of documents related to, among others with court cases regarding transparency of ministries, schools or state-owned companies more efficient. Since the project is very complex, Sii Poland decided to support the association in recruiting new volunteers.
Citizens Network Watchdog Poland is an independent and apolitical non-profit organization fighting for transparency in the public realm. Although the Constitution of the Republic of Poland guarantees citizens the right to be informed, e.g. on how the authorities use public funds, access to such data is sometimes limited. The organization helps when someone encounters difficulties in obtaining the data they need, both at the central level, when information is not wanted to be shared by the prime minister, but also locally, when the mayor may stand opposite transparency. And so Watchdog receives, for example, complaints about hospitals when the patient is refused access to requested documents or notifications regarding the register of contracts of the commune office that the entrepreneur wanted to get insight. Since 2003, the association has already provided over 9 000 free legal advice and participated in over 500 court cases regarding the disclosure of public documents.
Currently Watchdog operates mainly thanks to the donations of individuals and grants from private foundations. – We are not financed from public funds to be able to control state institutions independently – explains Agnieszka Zdanowicz, Watchdog Managing Director. – However, this does not cover our needs. Although we have been operating for 16 years, the number of difficult issues that often end in court is not decreasing. This year, we already submitted over 2,500 requests for public information and received 250 judgments from courts according to our cases. Without process automation, it’s difficult for us to effectively manage such a number of documentation. I am very happy about the Sii Poland engagement. Every help matters and let us be more efficient in supporting those who need it the most – adds Zdanowicz.
The applications and the system used by the association are developed by volunteers. However, the number of tasks is still so Sii encouraged by its employees already involved in work for association decided to support the search for more IT-oriented people willing to help. In addition to acting for the public good, it is a very good opportunity for improving skills and knowledge sharing.
– We are currently working on a web application that will be used to manage documents and data sent to the association – explains Michał Anusiak, Software Engineer at Sii Poland. – All the projects use Django framework and are available on Github. We have already planned the architecture and all functionalities and we are beginning the implementation. The project is quite big and will take a lot of time but it brings a lot of satisfaction. If someone has a few free hours a week that she or he can spend on a noble causel, we will be pleased to welcome her or him to our team – adds Anusiak.
Just a few hours a week and knowledge of the Django framework is enough to be able to support the work of the association and help citizens enforce their rights.
To join the team or for more information please contact us via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.