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Crowdring - brought to you by The Rules

1. What do you propose to do? 

Crowdring links petitions to a dedicated local phone number, allowing people to demonstrate their political support by placing missed calls.  

2. How will your project make data more useful?

Crowdring will be an open source campaigning and data visualization platform available for anyone to use. Call data is aggregated, mapped and made available to local NGOs and the media.Crowdring protects user privacy and geolocation, and in the event of third party interference, it can visualize and expose censorship.

3. How is your project different from what already exists? 

Crowdring is free and accessible from any phone. It distinguishes itself from mobile-based platforms like Ushahidi by accepting and tracking missed calls, allowing people to “sign” petitions at no charge.

4. Why will it work? 

The Rules will launch Crowdring following the November broadcast of Why Poverty? film screenings - first in Kenya, then in Brazil, India and other countries. Partnering with Steps International (the NGO producing Why Poverty?) and a network of national broadcasters (including the BBC), a global audience of 500 million can respond to the films’ compelling stories about the structural causes of poverty by making calls in support of local and global policy reforms.  To build global momentum, visualizations and analysis will be published in print and online, as well as integrated with social media platforms such as Facebook Zero.

5. Who is working on it? 

The Rules is a project of Purpose, which incubates movements that deploy huge numbers of people, online and on the ground, to influence the political process.  The Crowdring team includes Purpose designers and strategists: Mark Belinsky, founder of Digital Democracy andBem Armenia; Petra Farinha, lead UX designer at Purpose; Lee-Sean Huang, designer for organizations like,and, and trustee of The Awesome Foundation NYC; and Alnoor Ladha, co-founder of The Rules and a Founding Partner of Purpose.

6. What part of the project have you already built? 

Crowdring builds on existing technology for campaign platforms such as Mobile Commons and online mobilizing tools crafted by Purpose to create a new, open source, cost-effective, and inclusive multi-lingual platform, specifically to organize mobile and online campaigns in the developing world.  The campaign infrastructure already in place includes The Rules website and its integration with social media channels, and partnerships with local and global advocacy NGOs and global media outlets.

7. How would you use News Challenge funds? 

Funds will be dedicated to the research and development phases of building the back and front ends of the platform, in addition to running analytics, designing visualizations, and creating the documentation needed to make Crowdring open source.  Funds will also support the setup of mobile communication networks in different countries.

8. How would you sustain the project after the funding expires? 

Crowdring will be supported by a micro-donation platform to cover operating and outreach expenses. In-kind operations and technical support will come from Purpose, as well as from mobile phone providers and other NGO partners. The Gates Foundation has already provided initial funding which helped to build the current online platform.

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