Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship
Research Accelerator Grant Awardee 2017: Diana Dajer
Peacetech from the ground up (e-participatory budgeting as a social inclusion tool)
'After fifty years of war, Colombia is starting the implementation of an ambitious peace deal between the Government and the FARC-EP guerrillas. Participation is one of the most used words in the agreement between the parties, and peacebuilding in the local areas will depend on the active participation of citizens in more than forty participatory spaces featured in the final accord. One of the mechanisms included in the agreement is participatory budgeting, which is a process that allows citizens of a locality to directly decide projects that should be carried out by the subnational governments with part of the local budget.
'Even though participatory budgeting has spread to more than 1700 cities worldwide, and ICTs are increasingly being used to support participatory budgeting processes, technology has not been used in these scenarios to particularly foster peace outcomes. In this context, as part of her DPhil research, and thanks to the support of the Build Peace Fellows Programme and Medellín’s Town Hall, Diana is working in a participatory research for action project in Medellín, Colombia, to design, pilot and refine a participatory budgeting game and tech tool, to help foster social inclusion, transparency and trust in governmental processes.
'The tool is called Our Development and will be used to conduct a trial on the ground, to test certain hypotheses about the use of technology for peace purposes in Medellín’s participatory budgeting process. Once the pilot phase finishes, and thanks to the support of the Research Accelerator Grants, the project aims to produce a minimum viable product of a participatory budgeting tech tool, that could be licensed and scaled up in Medellín and other cities worldwide. In addition to academic outputs, the results of the design and pilot phases of the tool will also be used to produce a report for practitioners with evidence-based recommendations and lessons learned from the project.'
Diana is a lawyer specialized in administrative law. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and she is also a DPhil candidate in Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Oxford. Her research focuses on the interaction between citizen participation, technology and peacebuilding in Colombia, using participatory budgeting as a case study. Until recently, Diana was a Build Peace Fellow, where she conducted participatory research to design Our Development, a participatory budgeting tech tool project to foster peacebuilding in Colombia.
Social inclusion and democratic innovation in post-conflict societies are Diana’s biggest professional, academic and personal interest, and her career is rooted in Colombia and Latin America’s state-building efforts. She has worked in this area for the past eight years in different projects involving human rights, transitional justice, international law, and political and civic participation.
In some of her previous positions she has worked as an advisor on peace for the Colombian Ministry of Interior, as Project Manager of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung’s Rule of Law Programme for Latin America, and as a researcher of the Toledo International Centre for Peace. More recently, she was a consultant at Purpose, supporting the design and implementation of MOVILIZATORIO, a laboratory of citizen engagement and mobilization to strengthen participation in the Colombian peacebuilding process with the use of digital tools.