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OurMOZ: a platform to foster eCommerce & eCitizens

With the objective of creating a mobile application in order to collect, report, share and search for information useful for the citizens, the Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS is developing the OurMOZ project. Under the Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) Competence Center, OurMOZ is a mobile, citizen centered platform that provides real-time geotagged information of what is happening within the cities. What time does that business open? Which important event is being held this week? Is there any community problem going on? These are some of the questions which may, from now on, be supported by the OurMOZ project. Also, it is expected that this platform will boost small commerce and enhance the engagement between citizens and other local stakeholders.

The citizens play an important role in the OurMOZ project since the information is relied from them to themselves. Registered users (reporters/scouts) can provide geotagged facts and occurrences, while unregistered citizens can only add temporary information and see what happens in their neighbourhood. Institutional consumers can visualize stats or anonymous reports (e.g. a broken tube in a road, a leak in the roof of a school, etc.), which might be extremely valuable to promptly react to eventual problems.

Currently, OurMOZ is being design and implemented in Mozambique, in collaboration with the University Eduardo Mondlane (UEM), however, the project may be replicated in every developing country. The platform is tailored precisely to under development countries, combining the social network concept with the citizen’s reporting and eCommerce information. Associated parameters such as the lifetime of information, number of similar reports, number of positive feedbacks, among others, will provide consistency and credibility to the platform.

Citizens of developing countries have little access to information and poor involvement in what is related with local businesses, community services or institutional entities. The increasing adoption of Smartphones in Mozambique opens thus an opportunity for mobile crowdsourcing platforms, which allow real-time gathering of contributions from a large local community. When used to enhance city services, it can be very useful, letting citizens play an active role in their community.

Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS will welcome one PhD graduate from CIUEM (Centro de Informática da UEM) to coordinate the project and three MSc students working in Mozambique which will have the opportunity to work on aspects of the project related to their research thesis.

The project is part of the framework of ICT4DCC (ICT4D Competence Center), with reference “Projeto n.º NORTE-07-0124-FEDER-000042”, co-financed by the Regional Operational Program of the North (ON.2), in accordance with the National Strategic Reference Framework (QREN), through the European Regional Development Fund (FEDER).