I would like to congratulate Milton and Everton for leading “Adote um Vereador” and Manuella for the precise researching of the project.
This is a very innovative project both for its nature and its object. “For its nature” because it provides a simple way to hold politicians accountable. By using simple tools such as blogs and Twitter, the “adopters” have a platform to keep information and are able to spread what they have documented.
And I believe the project is innovative for its object because “vereadores”, which are members of the Legislative branch of the government in Brazilian cities, are mostly ignored in Brazil. The mayor, who is the head of Executive branch in municipal level, gets much more attention from the press, the academic studies and the NGOs (actually, this is quite natural in a way; this happens because the head of Executive has a lot of power in our cities).
So, “Adote um vereador” is a very welcomed project because it sends light to a fundamental branch of the local government. After all, the local Legislative is not only responsible for making and reviewing the municipal legislation; it’s also in charge of monitoring the powerful City Hall. Thus, if you have a group of well-intentioned “vereadores”, the mayor and his aids must do a better job.
In spite of all those praises, I find that “Adote um Vereador” nowadays faces a fundamental problem in reaching its goals: some “adopters” do not know what to observe and to document in their blogs. Sure, that’s not to blame totally on the bloggers: Brazilian public administration is not used to transparency and accountability; there’s little information available; also, many “vereadores” simply ignore their “adopters”.
Despite all those obstacles, I believe there’s room for a more efficient approach. And here, I have a simple suggestion: I believe the “adopters” should try to work in group. I mean: they should, in a monthly basis, pick a topic and try to raise data on that topic. Example: “next month, let’s raise all details concerning the funders of vereadores’ electoral campaign”. Or: “let’s check how vereadores positioned when discussing the garbage collection problems”. And the result of this work should be published by everyone and sent to the press, NGOs, universities and so on.
Speaking of press, Universities and civil society movements, I’m sure the project would gain a lot if “ adopters” have the chance to get some involvement with these institutions (in spite of all our belief in the power of innovation, I think we should not disregard the “old” institutions). Suggestion: meetings with researchers, journalists and activists in order to exchange experience and ideas (be careful, though; people like these love to dictate rules. Bloggers should make clear they just want to EXCHANGE ideas).
To sum up: I believe the project is great, but it does need a little more coordination and expertise in order to reach a higher level.


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