With the political instability in the region, it’s often difficult to see beyond headlines and into the daily lives of Palestinians living in the West Bank. Behind the news coverage is a thriving, and often overlooked, IT community. Funded through USAID, the CityLinks program, ICMA, and Esri partnered to host the App2Action Challenge which brought together young developers in the West Bank to address critical water resource management challenges in Nablus Municipality.
We are proud to have two of our winners, Radi Barq and Mohamad Sayeh, students from An Najah University in Nablus, attending the Esri Users Conference this week. In bringing two rising stars from Palestine’s IT Community to a premier technology conference, we hope to help them gain a broader understanding of how different open data and mapping tools can be utilized to create stronger, healthier, and smarter communities.
Both ICMA and Esri understand the important roles that local government and technology play in community resilience. Not unlike California, where Esri is headquartered, water is a scarce resource in the West Bank. Exacerbated by climate change, this is a reality that is unlikely to change. Understanding current challenges in the water sector at the local level while preparing for future climate impacts will be a struggle that local governments worldwide will have to face.
I’d like to believe that Radi and Mohamad are part of the next generation of developers in Palestine that will help local governments utilize technology and apps to bring efficiency and transparency to local government. Radi’s app is currently being assessed for operationalization at Nablus. The app will allow customers to upload maintenance requests to municipality servers. The reports will include location, photo, description, and phone number. In the interest of transparency, all users will be able to see reports and interact with them using a like feature to let the municipality know how many people the issue is affecting. The municipality will utilize the app to respond and update the status of each report for customers to see its progress.
You can learn more about all of our winning apps here and learn more about the developers here. We’ll continue to follow all of our participating developers to see where their ideas go. Stay up to date on news from our App2Action Challenge on our CityLinks Blog as well as on Facebook and Twitter.