“My Senate” is a digital program created by the Colombian Congress for citizen participation regarding bills within the Congress. This digital program is an app you can download on your smartphone. This app also allows for citizens to do in depth research on the Congress members.
Problems and Purpose:
The problems that originated in Colombia had to do with lack of citizen participation and knowledge within the Colombian government. The purpose of “My Senate” is to give Colombian citizens complete access and transparency into governmental decisions. It also allows citizens to have a voice regarding the bills on the agenda. The program’s purpose is also to hold Congress accountable.
Background History and Context:
According to Democraciaabierta (2016), citizen participation in Colombia is not a new concept there. Decades ago, the Colombian Constitutio’s contents required citizen participation in government. However, citizens of Colombia were thought to “participate” in government, but it was strictly limited to the planning phase. Participation was misleading, and it became a “top-down” approach- national to local level. This misled citizen participation within Colombia.
Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities:
According to LATINNO, the name of the organization in charge is Senado de la Republica, which is the Senate of the Republic of Colombia (2017). This is a governmental backed program.
Participant Recruitment and Selection:
Participants involved in the program are Colombian citizens, with open participation selection (LATINNO, 2017).
Methods and Tools Used:
“Mi Senado” was implemented under the Open and Transparent Congress Action Bill in the Colombian government. Methods used in “Mi Senado” are digital tools (smartphone app) and the method used is e-participation. This program uses a formulation backed by the Colombian government with open participation selection. The methods are to give citizens the ability to make non-binding decisions (LATINNO, 2017).
What Went On: Process, Interaction, and Participation:
“My Senate” was implemented for digital participation within the framework under the Open and Transparent Congress Action Bill due to the lack of citizen participation in Colombia, as well as the lack of transparency among the Colombian government. The innovation was effectively implemented. Colombian citizens had access to sessions and agendas in Congress, as well as the ability to express their opinions about bills being discussed. The goals of increased citizen participation were satisfied.
Influence, Outcomes, and Effects:
The outputs of “Mi Senado” generated a policy change. The policy was implemented for e-participation. The outcomes of this program increased citizen participation and access to governmental policies and decisions. The outcomes also increased accountability within the Colombian government. The outcomes increased citizen voice among decisions. The effects of the program are increased citizen participation and more accessible resources for the citizens to engage and become knowledgeable about bills, agendas, and sessions within Congress (LATINNO, 2017).
Analysis and Lessons Learned:
“Mi Senado” portrays conventional participation. Conventional participation “developed to uphold order, accountability, and transparency by providing citizens with checks on government power” (Nabatchi, 2010). “Mi Senado”offers individuals the opportunity to engage with public officials, which portrays conventional participation in a digital form. Since “Mi Senado” is a program for citizen engagement in digital form, this program also portrays digital citizen engagement. “Mi Senado” proves the effectiveness of transparency among and access to government officials on citizen participation.
 Democraciaabierta. (2016), Citizen participation, key for a sustainable peace. Postconflict in Colombia. https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/democraciaabierta/postconflict-in-colombia-15-citizen-participat/#_ftn2
 LATINNO. (2017), My senate. https://latinno.net/en/case/5208/
 Nabatchi, T., & Leighninger, M. (2015). Understanding political participation. Public Participation for 21st Century Democracy. John Wiley & Sons.
The first version of this case entry was written by Camille Watson, a Master of Public Service candidate at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, and then edited. The views expressed in the entry are those of the authors, editors, or cited sources, and are not necessarily those of the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.