Sahem fe al tashrea (Participate in Legistlations)
Kuwait National Assembly

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
First of all, I would like to explain the project. It's a service that allows the public to give their suggestions on all bills that are discussed in parliamentary committees before voting on them through the website. The problem before the implementation of this project was that many people had some suggestions on some bills and legislations that were executed from the parliament, but were not able to express their opinions on them or contact the members of parliament to express these opinions. In addition, members of parliament would like to receive input from the public on certain issues in order to develop an amendment to legislations. In this context, various social groups-especially women, youth, and ethic minorities had suffered from shortcomings in the legislations due to the lack of proper communication with members of parliament whom can usually be reached in what Kuwaitis call "Diwanies:" a weekly Kuwaiti gathering held in a reception hall strictly for men. Another valid reason to create this initiative is to improve community E-Participation in the legislation process and democracy .

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
The Speaker of the National Assembly of Kuwait, Mr. Marzoug Al Ghanim, proposed the initiative based on his field of expertise in political science in Kuwait. This suggestion was very beneficial in solving multiple problems concerning the bills that were still discussed in the parliamentary committees. Strategy : Providing an online service for the public to participate in the legislation process by sharing their views and suggestions through the website. Main objectives : 1-Taking into consideration people opinions on all bills listed on the agenda of the legislative committee through an automated, easy-to-use web application. 2- Avoiding any shortcomings in the legislation. 3- Obtaining highest degree of transparency by providing bills on the agenda to the public. 4- Increasing E-Participation level in policy making among the public. Target audience: All citizens and residents of Kuwait-specifically experts, former members of parliament and ministers, lawyers, lobbyists, political activists.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
The initiative "Sahem fe al tashrea," provided by KNA, is an entirely new political concept in the region that gives Kuwaiti citizens the equal opportunity to carefully examine the Parliament's work structure and legislations to their comfort in the most convenient way. If we compare "Sahem fe al tashrea" to services other parliaments provide online for their citizens, it is considered innovative because it allows the public to be hands-on with all issues concerning bills and legislations that are on the agenda in all parliamentary committees. In this respect, they can submit their inputs directly to the head of the committee that concerns the citizen's issue. Creative and Innovative approaches: • Producing a weekly TV show named “Sahem fe al tashrea” where every episode hosts a minster and a head of a parliamentary committee and people who have submitted their views on a certain amendment. • Easy to follow steps to use the service. • Instructional video displaying how to use the service. • Promoting the service in an advertisement that the speaker and head of committees contributed in.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
The Kuwait Parliament has regular topics that are submitted by the MPs for discussion in the parliament. The Kuwait Parliament has decided to open these topics to the public for their comments, opinions and their view on the matter. This would help the committees involved in these discussion to have a wider feedback and more angles of review. An implementation plan was built which involves using advanced web-based technologies. The plan was to ensure that the user will have a hassle free ability to submit his/her opinions through the system. The Steps that were taken were - Flowchart Design - Data Resource Collection - Identifying Available Resources - Beta Development - Testing and quality assurance - Deployment.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
- Information Technology Development Team for software and database development. - Network Team for the virtualization of server technologies. - Media Team for promotion, conceptualization and training. - Management team consisting of Team leaders.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The software aspect of the project was built using our own in-house team. The technical aspect was built using a shared resource on our private cloud/virtualized environment using Microsoft Technologies i.e. Hyper V. We used Oracle’s Database that is MySQL as a backed resource. The Human costs involved above are purely monthly salaries. The Marketing aspect was outsourced to a PR company and was funded by the parliament itself.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
A study that was submitted by Mr.Adel Al Sarawi a former Member of parliment to the financial committee showing the impact of the system.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
An inbuilt statistics server was developed to provide the necessary business intelligence to understand the growth patterns of the responses and also the check on the quality of the comments. We also used Smartertools Stats to provide us an insight of pageviews of the public, which chose not to participate by writing in their comments.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
We faced multitude of obstacles. - We had an onslaught of hack attempts / spammed comments, for which we made an intelligent blocking system if the system is being under attack. - Initially we would have sporadic system loads due to public rush of important sessions; we got this resolved by moving this into a bigger bandwidth pipeline. - The Database Query to pull out the subjects become extremely complex, due to the criteria needed to display them. This was resolved by getting Mysql support from Oracle and then deploying the recommendations.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
Key benefits are: • Providing an easily accessible tool for the public to give their opinions on new laws that will eventually affect their lives. • Giving members of parliament more time to focus on their role in the parliament, instead of passing suggestion to parliamentary committees since the initiative allows suggestions and public input to go directly to stakeholders . A concrete example that can be provided here is an amendment that allows officers in Kuwaiti army who are required to have bachelor degrees to have a rank in one year instead of two year like non graduates officers. This amendment passed on May 2014 due to public demand and contribution of the officers on the specific bill. The impact of the service was measured by many positive comments from the public on the web-based system and through satisfaction of members of parliament.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
We strongly believe in Kuwait National Assembly’s ability to deliver the sustainability of its initiative. Undoubtedly, there will be always room for improvement and expantion of the website's accessibility and capability but it is also transferable. For example, the government could also apply this service to bills and amendments they would like to propose to parliament. The service can also be integrated with the Official Portal of the State of Kuwait (e.gov.kw) to increase the E-Participation level in this portal that represents Kuwait E-Government.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
We should always seek new ways to improve governance accessibility and interaction with citizens and adapt to the technology advancement by coming up with smart approaches for parliaments to listen to people and to activate community E-participation.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Kuwait National Assembly
Institution Type:   Other  
Contact Person:   Amal Al Mutawa
Title:   Head of Audio Visual and Electronic Division  
Telephone/ Fax:   Tel 22002202 Fax 22427632
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   a.almutawa@kna.com  
Address:   Gulf Street
Postal Code:   P.O. Box 716 Safat K
City:   Kuwait city
State/Province:   kuwait
Country:  

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