On March 2, 2009 the website www.public-policies.org was officially launched. It contains the SMART Method of Public Policy, adapted to target problems and solutions in Africa. At this moment, only three countries have been launched, as a pilot project: South Africa, Sudan and Chad.

The SMART method of public policy is based on online platforms and is briefly presented below.

The website, Www.Public-Policies.Org offers two important services:

  1. It allows any person to raise a problem that needs a feasible, valuable and sustainable solution, accessing the "Raise a Problem" link.
  2. It allows any person to recommend a solution to the existing problems that are published on the website, clicking on a country and then the "What is your solution" link.

Once we have enough solution proposals, our team of consultants in African Studies, will follow these steps to support and endorse the best solutions:

  1. First, they analyze each solution proposal individually, and select those that are feasible, valuable and sustainable. A feasible solution is one that can be accomplished by the existing organizations or with help from others. A valuable solution is one that brings value to overseers, people in general or members of the targeted communities, while a sustainable solution is one that is likely to attract public support, as well as authority and money from the political, social or business environments (definitions inspired from Mark Moore's "Creating Public Value").
  2. Once the consultants decide upon the best solution, we create a policy paper that follows a format provided by the Citizen Engagement Team. The policy paper describes the problem along with the best solutions given by the citizens. It also contains a recommendation at the end based on the careful analysis of the consultants in African Studies.
  3. In the next step, we start building awareness around our solution, so we send the Policy Paper to elected and appointed officials, to implement our solution, as well as to the mass-media.
  4. We also archive the Policy Paper on www.public-policies.org so that anybody can download them and send them to whoever might be able to implement our solution.
  5. Because solution proposals come from citizens, we will give credit to those people who participate with sustainable, valuable and feasible solutions, by writing their names and professions on the policy papers and mention them as contributors.

We consider that if we follow these easy and straight forward steps, we will have good chances to influence public policies at local, national and international levels. Using the advantages of the Internet, and this website specifically, we will fulfill our mission, that is, to engage people in providing valuable, sustainable and feasible solutions to problems of public concern. This way we will generate "public policies made by citizens!"

For more information, visit www.public-policies.org.

Radu Oprea,

Executive Director at SMART Association