With support from USAID funded BALADI CAP, ArabiaGIS and its partner “Sakker El-Dekkeneh” launched the municipal online platform – Baldati. The forum/portal came to life after more than ten months of advocacy efforts to persuade five municipalities (Jezzine, Bkassine, Haitourah, Roum, and Kaitouly) with a population of around 43,000 citizens, to publish their financial, administrative and developmental data. The portal also allows municipalities to publicly receive citizens’ suggestions and opinions, the latter of which could be publicly viewed by all residents of member municipalities, thus strengthening a participatory and empowering civic culture.
The “municipal facebook to be” provides the five municipalities with a chance to publish their financial data (budgets and budget reports) for the current year and past years. The portal also provides analytical and statistical data on budget appropriations as well as actual expenditures. Municipal decisions and detailed visualization of municipal projects are also provided through the portal. Citizens will have the chance to provide their feedback on municipal budgets and projects, air their complaints on municipal performance, and most important, file and sign electronic petitions for municipal information and action. It is the first of its kind in Lebanon as it allows all subscribers to follow the progress of several municipalities at the same time and to coordinate civic action within their regions.