Lebanon suffers from endemic corruption within all levels of society and state. Ranked 134th out of 175 countries in Transparency International's 2014 Corruption Perception Index, corruption is a key repressor in the political, economic and social development of Lebanon and is a leading cause of political instability. As a result of such widespread corruption and mismanagement, Lebanon's public services - from water and electricity to road maintenance and waste disposal- are unreliable and often insufficient.
Many individuals in Lebanon are not well informed of the official processes that exist for securing public services or addressing issues that arise with these services. They are often unaware that there are existing complaint mechanisms at public institutions for resolving grievances and addressing issues with public service delivery. Even when people are aware of these mechanisms, they are often unsure which office to contact and how. For example, they are unsure which regional water authority they should contact to address their interrupted water supply or how to submit an official complaint.
This often means that individuals never take effective action to resolve their grievances with public services and institutions, therefore preventing them from receiving adequate access to public services and failing to protect their rights. This perpetuates the lack of trust that people have in the country's institutions and leadership. They feel like their concerns are not being addressed and their rights are not being upheld.
Our proposed solution improves access to information about public services and complaint mechanisms, by creating a user-friendly database with an interactive map. The database would provide users with information on the public administration buildings and offices in their city and their services and contact details. Users could also search by a specific issue, such as "water", and find out which office they should refer to depending on their location of residence and issue. This would empower people to take action when problems arise. If people's complaints are not addressed effectively by the relevant authority, they could "flag" them on the map, which would show where there are clusters of complaints about specific issues in certain areas. Users could opt to remain anonymous or provide contact details for additional follow up by the Lebanese Transparency Association, to provide free advice and advocate for authorities to address specific complaints.
The khadaMAP will provide all of the information an individual needs to take action on public service problems through an easy to access and interactive website. It will clearly map locations of public institution offices and buildings, provide information on their services, and crowdsource data on problems with these services. Users could access the site from mobile phones, tablets or computers. Social media functions would allow users to share information easily with friends. The map format would also allow easy visualization of community and regional issues to share with relevant authorities.
Another similar project in Lebanon, Kamashtak, has successfully used this technology to shed light on traffic violations, pedestrian rights and road conditions, allowing users to submit complaints anonymously and view them by violation type on maps.