The future we are creating is one where winning ideas - in trade, in the national conversation, in development, in environmental stewardship - are not merely the property of people who can afford to buy and hoard data. Rather, by making information freely available, we are helping to build a future where the winners are those who most creatively utilize what everyone knows.
The future we are creating is one where a community of citizen work together to build powerful online tools to change flesh-and-blood lives.
Our Website: http://www.galligalli.org/
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GalliGalli is premised on the idea that innovation in cartography and technology are powerful but not, in and of themselves, sufficient tools for change. Technology can effectively intervene in the existing power dynamics. Yet, tech solutions need to be augmented by original research and by propagation through human networks.
We are especially big fans of open source communities and will be active citizens in both Open Street Maps and Wikipedia in Nepal. We are, thus, also dedicated to building and being part of a community of individuals, collectives and institutions working to channel technology to create change
Currently, we are in working on three efforts: public transportation (Kathmandu Yatayat) which will use OSM; transparency in government services (Project Sunshine) which will use MediaWiki; and networking/advocacy (Project Moonshine) which will use local moonshine shacks :-)
The idea for GalliGalli emerged in a dog-infested galli, a narrow lane, in Kathmandu. Returning home after a decade-and-a-half away, Sakar had forgotten the network of shortcuts around his neighbourhood. His father showed him a particularly useful one. Trying to navigate the lane alone a few days later, Sakar found himself lost. He began daydreaming about a reliable map of Kathmandu's innumerable gallis and an app to help him navigate them.
Over many conversations with his sister Surabhi, the idea evolved into its current avatar: an ambitious project that will not just help Sakar get un-lost but do much more. It will assist citizens, residents and visitors navigate the city, government services and literally put much of Nepal on the map.
GalliGalli allows its two co-founders to align deeply personal motivation with their professional quest. Our sibling team has been geographically separated since their early days (different boarding schools) and later by their professional choices (Surabhi chose to be a journalist in Nepal, whereas Sakar worked as a IT professional in the US). Finally living in the same country, we have conceived of a project where we complement each other. Surabhi draws on her interest in the social sciences and storytelling. Sakar bring his experience in making data tell a practical tale and making computer applications touch humans.
Both Sakar and Surabhi have spent about half their lives living outside Nepal (mostly the US for Sakar and Yemen/US/India for Surabhi). In many ways, we are products of this land, Nepal. In other ways, we are alien. Perhaps this is true for everyone; all of us struggle to reconcile our fragmented, and often competing, loyalties and identities. GalliGalli will give provide space for these fragments of self and society to interact and negotiate. In our vision, local communities and the weekend tourist, the individual artisan and corporate retailers, the lone intrepid guide and the high-end luxury tour company all belong equally to the GalliGalli ecosystem. We will make room for all these voices by providing a combination of rigorous, well-researched content as well as open-source, community-driven information.
In a culture that cautions withholding information to retain power, GalliGalli is profoundly open and transparent. GalliGalli ignores the admonition that safety comes in building walls around that which is precious. In our time and place, it is radical in valuing agility over ramparts and pooling resources over secrecy.