Connecting Community through Online Portals in Prince George

City of Prince George. Accessed from https://www.myprincegeorgenow.com

Written by Michelle Gomez, BCCIC Canada Summer Jobs Student – this post is part of a 3 part series on SDG Action in BC

A citizen of Prince George is working to fill the gap of Sustainable Development Goal knowledge in his community. Corey Tataryn sees a gap where civil society networks are not engaged with one another, and he has the idea to create an online portal that will act as a platform to bring together nonprofits and engage members of the community. His story is an example of how an engaged citizen who notices a need for something can plant a growing seed from a small idea.

He explains that the online platform will eventually have 3 tiers. The first will be a simple digital platform that will act as a directory of all the civil society organizations, nonprofits, and even individuals in Prince George. It is essentially a database with basic information.

The next tier will be an engagement hub, which is still digital but incorporates forums as a way for people to communicate. People can use these forums to discuss what they want to see in their community, what has worked in other communities, and to find organizations/individuals that they can partner with. Corey is hoping that eventually he can incorporate some sort of voting apparatus in which people can propose ideas and others can raise questions, problems, and suggestions. At the end, people will be able to vote on the final idea within a weighted voting system.

Eventually for the 3rd tier, he is hoping that this will become a real organization that engages with civil society organizations to find out what services they need, what their redundancies are, identify any gaps in their work, and facilitate networking. The main goal is for the organization to be able to efficiently identify problems at a community level and then identify those who have the best ability to address these issues. In other words, this portal seeks to become a nonprofit itself, similar to the BCCIC but at a community level.

This project started as an idea in 2014, and has evolved throughout the years. Tataryn explains that he noticed this idea in the BCCIC’s report The Invisible Mosaic. The report makes the suggestion to implement ‘the development of a technology platform to facilitate networking among civil society organizations… [because] the creation of an online portal or website structured around the SDGs that would allow CSOs (civil society organizations) to identify other groups working [toward] the same goals or in the same regions as a way to connect and collaborate’ (p. 12). Tataryn himself wrote an interesting and detailed report that focuses in on the idea of how community platforms can be a useful tool to bring civil society together and address the SDGs.

When the Sustainable Development Goals were released in 2015, Tataryn noticed that they matched up perfectly with his idea, as they are an excellent framework with which to structure community level organization. To him, the SDGs are “understandable, coherent, but also engaging… they are very optimistic but also very clear and understandable. It is clear why we need to address them.”

He noticed a gap in his community in terms of addressing the SDGs; most organizations in Prince George know of them, but do not formally address them. He is not aware of any organizations in Prince George that have the SDGs forefronted in their mandate. This online platform is intended to fill these gaps. He hopes that with the SDGs as a framework, community organizations can identify commonalities between each other and work together toward specific goals.

Tataryn is an example of a global citizen who sees a lack of unifying organizational structure in his local community and has in mind a specific design and structure that can be put in place to improve action on sustainable development. The online platform seeks to be a unifying structure through which different agencies, initiatives, and citizens can come together to find common ground.

He notes that many people in his community see the problems but don’t know how or don’t have the tools to address them. “They don’t see how their individual effort can make a difference and they get dismayed… the community portal can engage and inspire the individual citizen to believe that their individual effort can make a difference.”

 

This post is part of a 3-part story series on SDG Action in BC – read on for more stories:

From Local to Global: SDG Action in BC

Empowering Youth in Kelowna to Act on the SDGs

Integrating the SDGs at the Victoria Community Foundation

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