Team Members

  • Ano Tisam: Full Stack Developer / e-Government Consultant
  • Mana Etches: Full Stack Developer / GIS Analyst

Inspiration

We want to ensure that development initiatives actually meet the needs of communities it intends to serve and that these initiatives are delivered in an effective and timely manner. To do this effectively we need a platform that facilitates, manages and amplifies the voices of the communities.

What it does

CivicHub lets NGO's accept, organize and gather feedback on submissions. Once submissions have been agreed upon then these can be taken to various decision making bodies for approval. If approved the implementation / outcomes can be then be tracked.

See a detailed breakdown here: https://civichub.govcrate.com/

REST API

We also built a rest API so the system is able to talk to other systems should the need arise.

OpenAPI / Swagger Documentation

How we built it

We focused in on the core issues faced by PIANGO

  • Issue 1: The amount of time and effort needed to deal with submissions being received from multiple channels and managing the back and forth via email and other mediums
  • Issue 2: The difficulty of having to manually track the status of submissions / position papers that were sent in and tracking the outcomes i.e. what was decided?, what agreement was reached? What was to be done? who was doing what and by when? etc.

Technology wise the system was developed using a LAMP stack i.e. Linux, Apache, PHP / Slim micro framework, MySQL + NodeJS, AdminLTE amd Chart.js for frontend stuff.

Business Model

The code is open source so it is free to use as is if your hosting provider supports the technology (i.e. LAMP Stack). However to ensure continued development and maintenance will require a source of revenue.

Cost Structure

Hosting is typically the smaller of costs, the largest cost will be in developer labor for ongoing maintenance. Our estimates are as follows:

  • Hosting Costs: Free if current website provider supports LAMP Stack, if not we over estimate the cost at $1,200 / year to provide a buffer
  • Labor Costs (Optional): $13,000 / year estimated for maintenance and development time to be done part time as needed or as funding allows.

Revenue Stream

To sustain the system, revenue will need to be generated to cover the estimated cost structure outlined above

Traditional - Safe Option

We know from previous experience that digital systems can act as funding attraction systems to increase the flow of donor funding to Pacific NGO's by:

  • streamlining the data capture process so that the work that is actually being carried out can be accurately quantified
  • making it much quicker and easier to generate evidence based proposals and reports to donors so you can hit up more donors in a shorter period of time

This is how it has traditionally been done:

  1. Seed funding is obtained to build an information system that captures data about the work an NGO does e.g. $25k-$30k
  2. Seed funding is used to build the system and populate it with past data from the work that has already been done by the NGO e.g. past policy submissions / papers
  3. Data in the system is used to quickly and easily generate reports / evidence of the work that has already been carried out.
  4. This evidence is used to develop and submit proposals / reports to donor agencies to attract increased funding support based on the evidence generated by the system
  5. As matter of organizational policy, for every project proposal that is submitted to donors, a percentage of the budget should include a line item for the ongoing development / maintenance of the system e.g. 5%-10%

Defi - Radical Option

We decided to think way outside the box for our crazy option. It is clear that it is very difficult for NGO's in the Pacific to generate consistent revenues to support their ongoing operations, let alone the development and maintenance of technology products. So we've developed 2 options for creating a sustainable business model based on our expertise in the decentralized finance (Defi) and crypto currency space.

Option 1: Low Capital, High Risk

  1. Secure seed funding from Donor / Grant funding of $25k
  2. Invest in SPHERE, the auto-compounding Defi project that generates and compounds investments at a 99.9k APY. Expected return in 4 months is about $244,824 of SPHERE. This assumes market conditions stay the same or get better.
  3. After 4 months swap $187,500k worth of SPHERE for USDC as an annuity
  4. Deposit and stake USDC in low risk stable coin platform (e.g. Celsius) to act as an annuity @ 8% APY - See here: https://defirate.com/usdc/ for rates
  5. Use the interest generated in the next 12 months to cover the costs of development, maintenance and hosting

Sphere Calculator

Assumption:

  • Able to secure initial seed funding of $25k
  • NGO / Charity is tax free
  • Able to invest into Defi projects

Option 2: High Capital, Moderate Risk

  1. Secure annuity from Donor / Grant funding of $187,500k
  2. Swap $187,500 for USDC
  3. Deposit and stake USDC in low risk stable coin platform
  4. Use interest generated from annuity to cover cost of development, maintenance and hosting

USDC Return Rates Risk Profile and Returns

Assumption:

  • Able to secure initial annuity of $187k
  • NGO / Charity is tax free
  • Able to invest into Defi projects

Simplified Business Model Canvas

Below is a simplified graphical representation of the cost structure and revenue stream of the business model canvas for both options.

Simplified Business Model Diagram

Challenges we ran into

  • Understanding how policy process worked
  • Trying to develop a business model for NGO's in the Pacific that would enable them to sustain ongoing developments of the project.
  • Ran out of time to work on and improve UI / UX but had to prioritize

Note: We are well aware that our financing idea's may be too radical at this stage.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Being able to put a team together at the last minute and being able to deliver a working prototype

What we learned

Without any revenue stream, it is very difficult to build a sustainable businesses models for NGO's in the Pacific due to revenue constraints.

What's next for CivicHub

2 things

  1. We'd like to do integrate CivicHub with Flarum, the open source forum system to handle discussions around the submissions that are made.
  2. We'd like to expand the system to create a citizen engagement platform that helps coordinate and amplify the voices of citizens directly. This may increase the probability for creating a more sustainable business model for the platform.

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