Omidyar Network seeks to strengthen the relationship between citizens and their governments. Our approach draws on the principles of openness and participation, favors solutions that leverage technology, and funds organizations and businesses that provide citizens with the information and tools they need to ensure their interests are represented and to hold their leaders to account.
We work with civil society organizations and innovative start ups that define best practices for what information governments disclose and how it is reported. We also support independent journalism and citizen-based efforts to monitor and report on government actions. This can take many forms; from tracking the performance of public services, such as education and public health programs, to monitoring legislative performance, and from tracking public revenue to monitoring budget expenditures in an effort to combat corruption.
However, open information is meaningful only if citizens can make use of it to improve the quality of their lives and of those around them. Our investees are using technology to increase the ease and quality of public participation. Innovative Web and mobile applications allow citizens to be better informed, voice their opinions, and connect with others around shared interests. Governments, in turn, can use these tools to better understand and respond to the needs of their citizens by making information more accessible, removing barriers to greater citizen participation, and improving service delivery.
Omidyar Network previously funded global work in this area and is now focusing its Governance & Citizen Engagement efforts in India. In October 2018, Omidyar Network spun out Luminate, a global philanthropic organization focused on empowering people and institutions to work together to build just and fair societies, to continue this work.