Presentation to Swiss Prototype Fund

Yesterday we did a live presentation. Pretty much everything technical that could go wrong did. All of us had problems getting in at one point or the other, problems with sound etc. @OmaMorkie was locked out of doing their part of the presentation and the first part of the Q&A for example.

Because we were well prepared, we managed to get through it in one piece in spite of this. Our preparation consisted of the following steps:

1. Make sure all background materials were collected in the same place (e.g the Application Form we submitted). Put this in a wiki

2. Prepare the entire final presentation script in writing, test it to ensure it lasted no longer that the allowed 3 minutes and edit the text till it worked. Put this as comments on the wiki (@OmaMorkie and @nadia)
2. Prepare a list of questions evaluators might ask, discuss our answers, and write them down. Put this on the wiki (@OmaMorkie and @nadia).
3. Prepare a list of technical development Q&A. Put this on the wiki (@matthias ).
4. Produce a well organised and properly formatted document that even someone who had never heard of the project could read and still sail through the presentation and Q&A: Climate Gains FAQ.pdf (140.4 KB). Use a text editor to do this (I used gdoc)
5. Send the document to everyone on the team before the presentation.
6. Practice , practice, practice reading out loud all parts of the document.



Final Script

Switzerland committed to reducing a lot of emissions, but we failed to get the required policies passed at the polls. So the only option for Switzerland to comply with the Paris Agreement now is to support more emission reductions abroad. Between now and 2030, approximately 1.5 billion Swiss Francs will be spent on such reductions.

As a former insider, I can tell you that this goal is out of reach, too: The current pipeline of projects only achieves about 10% of what is required. Under the current approach, it takes several years of lead-time between project identification and project start. Despite the long lead times, the programmes are consultant-driven and face little scrutiny from the public in Switzerland or local input from affected populations.

The administrative approach currently used to manage this process is build on a design going back to the 1990ies - a design that relies on a paradigm of sending paper letters back and forth. This creates a lot of centralization among bureaucrats as well as a lack of transparency and participation.

In turn, it is very difficult for developing country actors to access funding and the mechanism is not trusted by the Swiss population, either. This is where our prototype comes in.

Our solution establishes a direct channel between people actually doing work on the ground and Swiss citizens who care about climate issues, so that they can evaluate and approve or reject allocation of public money for climate impact to projects that apply for support. (swiss citizens who want to ensure their public money is spent on the right projects).

Our technical solution combined with our user experience design enables users to do 5 things:

  1. Generate and review verifiable Video-Evidence rather than text based reporting ( We will use Media forensics experts to get the requirements right).
  2. Directly ask and answer questions of each other
  3. Get Automatic calculation of the climate impacts both for each individual project and action on the ground, as well as for the full programme.
  4. Generate with one click reports that are easy to read, understand and verify for both private citizens and institutional staff responsible for allocating public money.

The user experience design we have come up with will save time, frustration and money for Swiss activists, people implementing projects on the ground and people in public administration.

How we will achieve real world impact:

  1. Massively increase % of climate finance that goes to actual work on the ground as opposed to what is now spent on just paperwork.
  2. Speed up the process for evaluating and getting promised money to people doing action on the ground from 3 years to 3 weeks.
  3. Make climate finance accessible also to people who do not already have hundreds of thousands of Swiss francs in the bank to hire expensive consultants.

The Result: We will make emissions reduction happen 10 times faster than it is now to enable Switzerland to meet its climate commitments.

FAQs

What makes the team the right one

  • Have permission to work in switzerland: Swiss citizens + Eu citizens with cross border work permits.

  • Tim: Swiss. Senior Climate Finance and Carbon Market expert. Having seen and evaluated hundreds of climate project applications and helped with writing dozens himself, he has a deep understanding of the landscape and the reasoning behind its mechanics. With the growing urgency of immediate action, Tim has supported Vanessa Nakate in building up her Green Schools Project in Uganda privately. He continues to draw inspiration from the young generation of climate activists globally and is dedicated to re-directing financial support and empowerment to make the common call for “Climate Justice Now” a tangible reality. As a child of the early internet, Tim is seeking to transform the paper-based utopia of rules of Government funding into a functional, digital-first mechanism to fund and report on climate action globally, accessible to anyone independent of their documentation status.

  • Nadia: Swedish. Entrepreneur born in Stockholm. As an engineer and user experience designer, she specialises in building collective intelligence tools for businesses, policymakers and activists. Over the past decade she has designed and delivered online community platforms for participatory sense making and distributed collaboration around social and environmental challenges. Most recently for the World Bank and the United Nations Development Program. Nadia co-founded Edgeryders- The Collective Intelligence Company. The company develops tools that use anthropology to gather and analyse information about human behaviour. It allows clients to anticipate a trend before it is really there, better match solutions to peoples needs and preferences, avoid and detect errors in insights generated by ai. Edgeryders’ work has been featured in l’Echo, Bruzz, La Repubblica, The Nation, Nesta, Dazed & Confused, The Guardian, Wired…

  • Matthias: German. Matthias Ansorg is a computer scientist and technology generalist with a long experience in open source software and hardware development. A social innovator and digital entrepreneur who has studied alternative value measurement and non-monetary economic exchange mechanisms extensively for his award-winning commons funding platform PayCoupons (former Makerfox). Solid expertise in software development, integration and maintenance; has built the edgeryders.eu online platform.

  • Nico: Switzerland based FOSS Hacker and CEO of www.ungleich.ch, a climate neutral Open Source hosting company in Glarus, Switzerland with deep experience in backend technology.

  • Vanessa: Ugandan Climate Activist and global speaker for climate youth. Vanessa has a vast network to climate youth around the world and leads the “Vash Green Schools” Project in Uganda, which has been pioneering the approach to documenting climate action proposed here since 2019. Money for her doesn’t have to come from prototype fund money but from our personal funding of the pilot projects, in case work permits don’t allow funding of non-European partners.

Progress so far and next steps

Key milestones to be implemented during the grant period.

The implementation of the project requires the development of a smartphone app based on "Open Camera "*. This will generate hash values, upload them immediately and store the video (.mp4) in a folder that will eventually be synchronized with a Nextcloud instance. In addition, a Nextcloud app needs to be developed that creates a Discourse post with a link to the video, or a Discourse function that uses an embedded player to stream the video directly from the Nextcloud instance. * For Android only.

1: User flow defined and alpha-tested with Vanessa.

2: Min. one application video from a host country published (beta-testing with partners in host country, reflection with donors & administration)

3: Prototype UI adapted to 1.0

4: Use prototype for on-site implementation (up to 3x), publish

of the videos

5: Application for legal recognition Switzerland

Details in budget

How to prevent fraud and identity theft

We need to be sure person on the video is actually doing the work. And that the payment goes to them and not someone else. We know we need to have deepfake detection mechanism and we will look into the best solutions it in the next phase (not in scope of prototype budget).

Game theory as deterrant for fraud (Tim)

Technology

  1. What technology exactly will you build?

    • Integration of videos in Discourse mobile app via Nextcloud backend. The goal is to provide climate activists around the world with a user interface to document a climate-related issue via video and upload a proposal to solve it. The project will subsequently be evaluated by activists on other continents. If it contributes to climate justice and is priced appropriately, funding is provided. The implementation is documented by video over the entire period and verified again by international climate activists. With the help of “Semantic Social Network Analysis”, short and concise reports for (public) donors will be generated from thousands of such events.

    • The smartphone camera captures a video whose hash value with timestamp is immediately uploaded. Then the local video folder synchronizes with a Nextcloud instance, which subsequently creates a Discourse post with the link to the video. Integrating an embedded player into the Discourse UI would be desirable.

  2. Isn’t the split into three pieces of software (Discourse, Nextcloud, OpenCamera) a bit too complex→ We will make sure this complexity is completely hidden from the end user. The end user will only download and use a single mobile app, everything else is considered as the administrative backend. The proposed architecture is also still not finalized – we are reviewing if Discourse is a good choice for a base technology.

  3. Why did you choose Discourse as a base software? Two reasons: (1) To reduce the overall system complexity by integrating the backend of the outward-facing software application with the central internal management and communication tool that Discourse already is (and is well suited for, see Edgeryders experience) and (2) to utilize a piece of custom Discourse-based software that we are building since several years, which enables the semantic coding and analysis of online discussions.Technically, Discourse can work in this role because it can be extended with RAD (rapid application development) technology, here Ruby on Rails, and because it provides a solid, general data management and analysis interface (PostgreSQL plus Discourse Data Explorer plugin).(Note that this answer is subject to change in case we decide to not build on Discourse in the end.)

  4. How will you deal with mobile network reliability issues on project sites? On the tech side, the main adaptation is that users interact with a mobile app, not a website or progressive web application. That allows to create an offline-first UX: users do not need to be online to record a video, allowing them to also record at project sites that do not have mobile network coverage at all. Uploading is done at a later stage automatically when a reliable network is detected. Additionally, uploading of the (relatively large) video files is done on a chunk-by-chunk basis, not unlike how torrents are split and distributed in multiple parts. Ideally, we will split the videos between keyframes, which allows to use individual parts even if not all parts make it to the server, or if some parts arrive days or weeks later. Software tools that can split on keyframes efficiently (that is, without needing to re-encode the video) are available, but we have to determine if and how these can be utilized under Android.Of course, minimizing the amount of data to transfer by choosing appropriate bitrate, compression and resolution settings is a first step to prevent data transmission issues. The videos dealt with here are of a technical character, so it is acceptable if some compression artifacts are noticeable.

  5. How do you deal with technical security of payment processing? We will not make a digital wallet of any kind available in or via the smartphone application, so loss of the phone does not mean that funds are lost. Instead, access to funds will be tied to a personal identity (proven by an ID document). Various cash transfer and remittance services offer that kind of monetary transactions, and we will rely on their services (Wise etc.). The app will only include a payment tranche status (“sent”, “collected”), which can be fed in from a payment processor’s API or (if not otherwise possible) e-mail messages.

  6. How are progress reports for institutional funders created? It’s important to automate this as much as possible. This is possible as validators are required to mark sections of video content (or of video transcripts) with ethnographic codes (“tags”) depending on their meaning, for example “location cross-verification” (with explanatory comment) or “20% installation milestone”. We have a custom software for that available, called Open Ethnographer. Reporting software then uses and reorders this input to tick boxes and fill form fields, resulting in PDF files with project and aggregate reports. Evidence from source videos can be automatically embedded into these PDF reports if required, as PDF allows to embed video snippets, but it is unclear at this point if this would be required or helpful to funders. Report PDFs can then be posted in a message to the project’s Discourse thread, which allows to see the whole messaging and reporting history in one thread of the Discourse-based backend. Note that activists and validators would have their own, simpler app-based interface and not see this Discourse thread directly.

  7. What are key technological milestones to be implemented during the grant period? The implementation of the project requires the development of a smartphone app based on "Open Camera "*. This will generate hash values, upload them immediately and store the video (.mp4) in a folder that will eventually be synchronized with a Nextcloud instance. In addition, a Nextcloud app needs to be developed that creates a Discourse post with a link to the video, or a Discourse function that uses an embedded player to stream the video directly from the Nextcloud instance. * For Android only.

Relevance to, and Involvement of, Swiss People?

  • Swiss experts like engineers, scientists etc have an easy and direct way to contribute to climate action beyond protesting
  • Swiss Green and climate people opposed to climate compensation mechanism because too corporate, hard to understand, and there is a lot og greenwashing have direct channel to influence what money is spent on.
    Makes one of the big climate commitments understandable
  • Model for making Swiss public money more accessible to individual citizens who should be getting resources for social and environmental impact projects, but don’t. Because…

Special Features of the User experience - how better than what exists?

Current User Experience

  1. Download 80 page pdf that explains all elements you have to put in application. Its hard to understand, and quite vague especially if you are not professional grant writer focused on carbon mechanisms. “I doubt even a swiss engineer with phd can understand it”.
  2. Fill in form. Hiring grant writer costs you 100k-200K CHF
  3. Send form to validator, pay the validator between 5K-20K CHF
  4. Submit validated proposals to Swiss admin.
  5. Repeat steps 1-4 for your local governments, who have different document you have to read and fill in (so more writing and no copy paste, double work). (Except step 3)
  6. You still have not gotten any money yet and you have spent min 1 year and 150K CHF.
  7. In parallel you have to find a loan, that you will only get after you do steps 1-5 and have gotten yes - which is not a given. So you are risking Losing 1 year and 150K CHF.
  8. All of these steps are happening in different places, each with their own complexities.

Our user experience

We already have budget secured from governments (which they have to spend according to paris agreement). Once we have, this is the user experience:

Perspective of Individual swiss citizens and people implementing projects on the ground:**

  1. Film the current local situations land your proposed project to improve it
  2. Upload using the app
  3. Swiss citizens also using the app looks at video
  4. Maybe asks you some questions directly via the app
  5. Swiss citizens deliberate and then approve, rejects or suggests modifications with one click
  6. If you are approved, money for first step is directly transferred to you
  7. You Do the step and film process and results using the app
  8. Swiss citizens review and ask questions, approve, reject or suggest modifications
  9. If yes, you get another tranch of payment and so on.

Perspective of watchdog or government official, or parlementarians who needs to know what is happening with the money**

  1. Log in and with one click download a simple reports that condenses large amounts of forum & video communications from the community implementing the project into a 1-2 page document.

    • Number of Installations/ implementations (+ Map)
    • Total amount spent
    • Paragraph on activity last quarter
    • Paragraph on activity expected next quarter
    • Impact indicators proportional to number of installations (e.g. tCO2e, Nr. of People, etc.)
    • Programme Timeline (several years, state of programme), possibly with indicator-graphs.
    • Failures / Outstanding deliveries (up-front payment made, no video delivered)
  2. If there is an audit you can download more detailed report and you can review each and every video and trail of decisions and transfers of money.

How do you ensure projects are operational for long term? (Monitoring)

*Same process but money to pay people is coming from a different budget pool (which governments are obliged to provide by paris agreement)

Are there any other applications for this technology solution than climate finance?

Yes. Anyone using video documentation as proof could use this combination of technology and process to ensure that the video footage is trustworthy. For example journalists, funding program managers or even private sector companies e.g in construction.

How do you handle GDPR/ Privacy/ Data security issues?

  • Openness by default.
  • Instructions include reqiuirement that everyone in video confirms verbally that they understand it is going to be made publicly available on the internet and that they consent to this.
  • Licensing: Users agree to grant a non-exclusive, irrevocable, royalty-free license to the rest of the world for their submissions under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License .

Who will pay for the pilot projects?

We will privately. Note that it is not “spending” but an investment, as these projects should generate compliance-grade carbon credits valued around 35 CHF per ton of CO2. When they generate carbon credits we can recoup the money invested by selling the carbon credits generated.

How will you get people to use this solution?

    • Personal Introductions (follow ups and throughs) through our existing network of contacts.
  • Project ambassadors (people who will advocate for our approach) for example previous UNFCCC youth delegates or celebrities.

  • Social Media

  • “Climate.University” (Ongoing education and discussions on climate justice)

  • Events (pre- and post-event happen on the Forum, by attending the event they are already over the first barrier)

  • Calls for Proposals

  • Tenders

  • All preparation and discussions take place or are documented on Online forum.

What would users be discarding for this solution instead?

For people doing climate projects on the ground (including but not limited to activists):

  • Other sources of funding (e.g. GoFundMe)
  • Funding Applications via intermediaries (e.g. WWF)

For Funders

  • Their legacy reporting system
  • The habit of always sending a person by airplane to go on site.
  • Project Management Software
  • Detailed Measurements (only carbon market projects ever do those, not climate finance projects)

What risks do you see and how will you deal with them?

Risk 1: Scams and Cheaters overwhelm the platform, stealing the “initial trust seed” needed to get new projects off the ground. Mitigation:

  • We have start with an initial set of trustworthy individuals within the climate activism community. And we are spreading through their social network first.

  • A slow onboarding process, where new users need to engage virtually for while, making cheating more costly.

  • technical means

    • AI detection of duplicate images/videos
    • geolocation tags
    • Automatic Hashing & uploading of Hash at the moment of recording
    • A randomly generated phrases shared by SMS when on site and repeated on the recording
  • Manual, human peer-to-peer validation of all videos

Risk 2: Insufficient Infrastructure Funding. Mitigation: Got to secure 5 Million from somewhere…

Risk 3: Competition. Especially Sustaincert could be problematic and steal our approach.

Risk 4: Double Claiming - Activists Fundraise e.g. on GoFundMe and get 2x money for the same stoves. Mititgation: Reverse Image Search?

What is your elevator pitch to users?

We want to make small projects and big money compatible. We use video and collective intelligence to do that in a transparent, trustworthy way.

We are providing exactly the amount of cash that the project needs at the time it needs it without taking the risks that they don’t deliver, because we’re cutting it in really small trenches and verifying delivery in small action items on video. For each individual installation, we are keeping the incentives aligned by making the payments for staff and overhead ex-post upon the delivery of the video, but the payments for the actual technology ex-ante.

Game theory elevator pitch:

Traditional funding usually requires huge chunks to be approved at once at the government level. And that means you’re playing a single top trust game, where, for the person who receives the initial trust, cheating is the rational choice. We are changing that by going to a series of small stakes trust games, where you get approved for a tiny amount of money, you deliver video, you get approved for the next tiny amount, you get your deliver video, and you’re doing that back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, changing a single shot game to a repeated game. In repeated trust games, the rational solution is a cooperative tit-for-tat strategy.

What is your MVP?

For people doing projects on the ground and for swiss citizens who care about climate issues:

    1) App for video recording integraded into a (discourse) forum based community 
    2) Personal interaction with existing community members
    3) Bridge to various payment tools   

For Funders

  1. Compliance-grade reports from large amounts of forum & video communications from the community implementing the project. Typical minimal compliance report:
    • Number of Installations (+ Map)
    • Total amount spent
    • Paragraph on activity last quarter
    • Paragraph on activity expected next quarter
    • Impact indicators proportional to number of installations (e.g. tCO2e, Nr. of People, etc.)
    • Programme Timeline (several years, state of programme), possibly with indicator-graphs.
    • Failures / Outstanding deliveries (up-front payment made, no video delivered)

Backend

    1) Well structured file database, everything easy to find
    2) Security Features (Hash to be send at moment of recording to timestamp video files)

USPs of the MVP:

  • Hyper-Transparency: All relevant project related interactions are public and auditable. All implementation steps are recorded on video.
  • Hyper-Accessibility: Zero paperwork required for joining

Limitations of the MVP:

  • Funder requirements can make the video-forum-archive → report function complicated and expensive
  • Tool designed for programmes with many small interventions and thus many small gigs

What about privacy?

Our approach will generate a lot of video material from vulnerable communities. We cannot guarantee that those videos remain private, therefore it’s probably safer to make clear from the very beginning that everything will be public. We will delete videos that have obvious privacy violations (naked people etc.)
Note that our tool will in many cases be the first point of contact to the internet for currently not-electrified populations & includes most social media functions. Self-Hosted FOSS social media preinstalled on frontline reporting phones could be a big part of the deal and might also get separate funding.

What roles would be needed to make the solution successful, scalabale and sustainable?

Roles

Community Roles:
- Activists (who actually do the work. The vast majority of people will be in this role, have a payment channel set up)
- Observers (Journalists, non-activist community members, cannot receive money, no KYC)
- Validators (from observer community (tbd if volunteers is viable, else paid)
- Community Management (Languages, communicators, regional context, ability to produce quality summaries for reporting . about 1 per 200 community members.)

Central Roles:
- Oversight community managers
- Summary-of-summaries from community managers (Ethnographer)
- Acquisition Donors
- Key Account Managers (per revenue stream, e.g. UNDP, GEF, SEA, IKI, etc.) Need to know Donor/Buyer processes and formats)
- Procurement Projects
- Tech Support
- Media & Comms (whole project)
- Frontend
- Backend
- Sysadmin

We are sending in a prototype fund application as soon as we find a developer with a company registered in Germany who wants to build it - let me know if either you or Daniel want to work on this. Below is a brief summary, the full document in German and the discussion thread is here: Group call #3: Business Modelling & Planning - #7

Integration of videos in Discourse mobile app via Nextcloud backend.

The goal is to provide climate activists around the world with a user interface to document a climate-related issue via video and upload a proposal to solve it. The project will subsequently be evaluated by activists on other continents. If it contributes to climate justice and is priced appropriately, funding is provided. The implementation is documented by video over the entire period and verified again by international climate activists. With the help of “Semantic Social Network Analysis”, short and concise reports for (public) donors will be generated from thousands of such events.

To which thematic field do you assign your project? *

The project solves a concrete problem in technology-enabled multilateral climate cooperation while improving the advancement and integration of the popular FOSS tech stacks Nextcloud and Discourse.

What social challenge do you want to address with the project? *

The project is an integral part of Climate Gains, which enables P2P evaluations and funding decisions for climate projects in developing countries even when local partners do not have the resources to fill out complicated forms. The bureaucracy and associated costs of accessing international climate funds are critical barriers to decarbonization in most developing countries. Unlike traditional text-based processes, videos are much easier to generate while making it more difficult to free-form claims. In particular, small and very small projects do not have access to international climate finance due to the above-mentioned hurdles, even though it is precisely these initiatives that can contribute massively to sustainable development at extremely low costs. (Background paper: Peer to Peer Climate Finance. This experimental paper lays out a path… | by Tim Reutemann | Medium)

A first trial model with prioritized software and a lot of manual data processing was developed together with Vanessa Nakate and the energy retrofit of 17 schools in Uganda so far was documented by video. To replicate and eventually scale the project, these steps need to be automated and a backend based on FOSS needs to be converted.

How do you plan to technically implement your project? *

The smartphone camera captures a video whose hash value with timestamp is immediately uploaded. Then the local video folder synchronizes with a Nextcloud instance, which subsequently creates a Discourse post with the link to the video. Integrating an embedded player into the Discourse UI would be desirable.

Have you worked on this idea yet? If so, briefly describe the current status and explain the planned new features. *

The approach already works (see Green Schools project by Vanessa Nakate), but mostly through time-consuming manual data editing. Currently, videos are initially shared via Whatsapp or Twitter ( informal P2P- evaluation ) and funding is triggered manually after review of the videos by experts*. Potentially massive scaling requires automation of these steps.
What similar approaches already exist and what will your project do differently or better? *

There are approaches based on the RBF (Results-Based Finance) model under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement or even the international carbon markets. However, these are not accessible due to the above mentioned bureaucratic and financial hurdles and thus for the majority of actors from developing countries. Through video documentation and evaluation, these barriers should be dissolved and market access should be made possible for local actors with minimal capacities.

Who is the target group and how should your project reach them? *

Climate activists and thus countless local communities as well as small and micro decarbonization projects in developing countries as well as international climate activists.

What software projects have you worked on so far? For open source projects, please provide a link to the repository.

Discourse
Nextcloud
Open Camera (?)
Makerfox

Our Application Form

What follows below is the text we submitted - it is what got us shortlisted to do this presentation…

Describe your project

Democratic Crowdsourcing of evaluation for funding for Swiss Climate projects abroad. Goal: To reduce the lead time and transaction costs until the first material change on the ground should be reduced by at least a factor of 10. be reduced.

What social problem do you want to solve with your project? Why is it important?

Switzerland cannot achieve its international commitments in climate policy without foreign compensation. The current process from an idea from a developing country to the bureaucratic that, despite seven years of preparation, no project has been no project has been implemented.

Our project aims to radically simplify this process and at the same time the development of project documentation into an open platform. Variations of this problem can be found in all climate financing mechanisms, and Switzerland is an international pioneer. international pioneering role.

How do you plan to solve the problem? b) What function(s) will your prototype focus on? Describe your minimum viable product (MVP)

  1. Through an open peer-to-peer evaluation of micro-project proposals from the partner countries by climate activists in video form, later to be processed in an administratively compliant manner .
  2. The user experience of social interaction between individuals from Switzerland and the partner countries.

MVP:

(a) video sharing platform (ala TikTok - Peertube - Nextcloud).

b) structured discussion platform (where the videos are posted) are posted)

c) Money channel

d) A way to process the videos in a management compliant way.

We have a working non-FOSS mock-up (expected) with partners in Uganda

What question(s) would you like to answer with your project? What do you want to learn from the prototyping phase?

  • Can the approach also work for other technologies and countries in the mock-up?
  • Can the bridge be built to Switzerland’s official mechanisms?
  • Can we easily and quickly generate administrative summary reports from the videos?

Who is your target audience? How do you want your tool or project to reach them? How do you involve them in the project and/or team to ensure your prototype meets the needs of your target audience? (User Testing)

Users: Climate activists and technical experts from Switzerland and our our partner countries. Contacts already exist. The prototype will be one to three concrete project proposals. We provide private fast-start funding for the implementation of up to three projects. Financing of up to 45’000 CHF for the implementation of up to three projects, and up to 30’000 CHF for the official validation by technical experts in Switzerland.

Target group administration: The FOEN itself is not able to develop software as a prototype. However, there is interest in a demonstration by the Climate Division / Compensation Section. Likewise there is confirmed interest from the current implementation partner of the Federal Government (UNDP) as well as the administration in at least four host countries. (Dominica, Vanuatu, Georgia, and Ghana have already confirmed) and two other donors (Sweden, Global Environmental Facility). (Full transparency: one of the applicants was, until March 1, 2022, in the FOEN’s Climate Division responsible for offsetting abroad and is now privately here.)

How do you plan to implement your project technically? How do you plan to proceed? Please also comment on the distribution of tasks within the team.

  1. Interviews stakeholders (donor + onsite), UI specified; Nadia.
  2. Implement more clickable prototype; Owen
  3. Go through the whole project cycle from proposal to funding for the
  4. Go through energy retrofit of another school kitchen in Uganda; Vanessa, Tim, Nadia
  5. Using the revised prototype, implement up to three small projects (up to 15’000 CHF) in up to three partner countries of Switzerland.
  6. Present the finished video proofs of the three projects to the administration (and other donors).
  7. Adapt the proof method and format 1x more.
  8. Implement the projects
  9. Submit projects officially for scaling in Switzerland
  10. Recommendation from programmers and sysadmins: focus on UX.

Technical so far:

  • Single sign-in
  • Integration Videos Discourse

What similar approaches already exist and what will make your project different or better? How do you build on existing analog or digital solutions in Switzerland and abroad?

Internal: The project is based on the “Vash Green Schools” project that has been ongoing since 2019. Project. It is the “UX Mockup” on Web 2.0 tools (Twitter, Google Drive).

External: There are Fast, private crowdfunding and microloan platforms.

(Kiva, GoFundMe) that can work for small projects with a lot of marketing and on the other hand there are official channels for public money money that require a lot of administrative effort and even more patience. These are only accessible for established institutions.

= Our goal is to enable the UX of crowd platforms for distributing big pots of public money.

What experience prepares you for this project? If you have ever worked on open source projects, please provide links to max

Sysadmin (Nico): CEO von ungleich.ch

Backendprogrammierer (Matthias): https://ma.juii.net/

UI (Owen): https://www.linkedin.com/in/owen-gothill-274aa5175/

UX (Nadia): https://impactexpert.eu/about-me

Stakeholder-Netzwerk (Tim): https://www.linkedin.com/in/timschloendorn/

UX-Tester (Vanessa): Vanessa Nakate Is on the TIME100 Next 2021 List | TIME

Are your team missing skills that would improve your project or make it more successful?

The already identified partners on the ground in the Swiss climate partner countries are not officially part of the team (managing expectations). There are many contacts, especially to Vanuatu, Dominica, Georgia, Uruguay and Malawi. Addition from Nadia after submission was made: We need audio visual media forensics expert to shape instructions for shooting video.

Briefly describe the current status of your project and what enhancements you plan to work on during the project. If available, please add links to the existing project.

Please outline the 4 key milestones you and your team would like to implement during the grant period. You can also refer to supplementary documents that can be uploaded later on

1: User flow defined and alpha-tested with Vanessa.

2: Min. one application video from a host country published (beta-testing with partners in host country, reflection with donors & administration)

3: Prototype UI adapted to 1.0

4: Use prototype for on-site implementation (up to 3x), publish

of the videos

5: Application for legal recognition Switzerland

Details in budget

How could you or others continue and/or improve your project after the end of the funding period? (Sustainability of the project)

We expect a reduction in transaction costs and lead times of modular climate projects by up to 90%. This is true both for foreign compensation in Switzerland, but also for other donors. We are also in contact with UNDP, the GEF and Sweden. The “handholding” part of the budget can be taken over by other climate activists (crowd instead of timer).

(Crowd instead of Tim & Nadia). The translation into Formats acceptable to donors will be partially automatic. The overhead costs do not scale with the size and number of projects.

What risks are there in your project and how do you try to minimize them? (e.g. data protection, environment, society)

Depending on the type of project, private data, such as geolocations of schools and faces of the people implementing the projects. It is certain that these will become public, as they must be validated by private validated by private third parties, so consent for publication is publication is necessary

Environment & Society: The core of the project is the demonstration of Environmental and Social Impacts. The switch to video allows for a massive improvement. The technology itself is “light weight” and requires only a little power for the server and a cell phone on site.

Here you can tell us all the information we should know. You can also refer to supplementary documentation and upload it in the Attachments section.

There is a background paper on the mock-up in Uganda:

Medium – 1 Apr 22

Peer to Peer Climate Finance

This experimental paper lays out a path towards shifting the paradigms of

I have here a list of tech questions I would expect after the presentation tomorrow, with answer I’d give to them.

Possible tech-related questions

  1. Isn’t the split into three pieces of software (Discourse, Nextcloud, OpenCamera) a bit too complex? → We will make sure this complexity is completely hidden from the end user. The end user will only download and use a single mobile app, everything else is considered as the administrative backend. The proposed architecture is also still not finalized – we are reviewing if Discourse is a good choice for a base technology.

  2. Why did you choose Discourse as a base software? Two reasons: (1) To reduce the overall system complexity by integrating the backend of the outward-facing software application with the central internal management and communication tool that Discourse already is (and is well suited for, see Edgeryders experience) and (2) to utilize a piece of custom Discourse-based software that we are building since several years, which enables the semantic coding and analysis of online discussions.

    Technically, Discourse can work in this role because it can be extended with RAD (rapid application development) technology, here Ruby on Rails, and because it provides a solid, general data management and analysis interface (PostgreSQL plus Discourse Data Explorer plugin).

    (Note that this answer is subject to change in case we decide to not build on Discourse in the end.)

  3. How will you deal with mobile network reliability issues on project sites? On the tech side, the main adaptation is that users interact with a mobile app, not a website or progressive web application. That allows to create an offline-first UX: users do not need to be online to record a video, allowing them to also record at project sites that do not have mobile network coverage at all. Uploading is done at a later stage automatically when a reliable network is detected. Additionally, uploading of the (relatively large) video files is done on a chunk-by-chunk basis, not unlike how torrents are split and distributed in multiple parts. Ideally, we will split the videos between keyframes, which allows to use individual parts even if not all parts make it to the server, or if some parts arrive days or weeks later. Software tools that can split on keyframes efficiently (that is, without needing to re-encode the video) are available, but we have to determine if and how these can be utilized under Android.

    Of course, minimizing the amount of data to transfer by choosing appropriate bitrate, compression and resolution settings is a first step to prevent data transmission issues. The videos dealt with here are of a technical character, so it is acceptable if some compression artifacts are noticeable.

  4. How do you deal with technical security of payment processing? We will not make a digital wallet of any kind available in or via the smartphone application, so loss of the phone does not mean that funds are lost. Instead, access to funds will be tied to a personal identity (proven by an ID document). Various cash transfer and remittance services offer that kind of monetary transactions, and we will rely on their services (Wise etc.). The app will only include a payment tranche status (“sent”, “collected”), which can be fed in from a payment processor’s API or (if not otherwise possible) e-mail messages.

  5. How are progress reports for institutional funders created? It’s important to automate this as much as possible. This is possible as validators are required to mark sections of video content (or of video transcripts) with ethnographic codes (“tags”) depending on their meaning, for example “location cross-verification” (with explanatory comment) or “20% installation milestone”. We have a custom software for that available, called Open Ethnographer. Reporting software then uses and reorders this input to tick boxes and fill form fields, resulting in PDF files with project and aggregate reports. Evidence from source videos can be automatically embedded into these PDF reports if required, as PDF allows to embed video snippets, but it is unclear at this point if this would be required or helpful to funders. Report PDFs can then be posted in a message to the project’s Discourse thread, which allows to see the whole messaging and reporting history in one thread of the Discourse-based backend. Note that activists and validators would have their own, simpler app-based interface and not see this Discourse thread directly.

  6. Why do you want to build new software for this, given that there are already many video platforms and video messaging applications? It is certainly possible to use a video messaging application for prototyping what our software should do; we did so already, using video messages in WhatsApp. The issue arises for evaluators and administrative users when massively scaling up this operation, as then they have to manually track and manage hundreds or thousands of video-based conversations. To make these processes efficient and reasonably error-free, we need not just video messaging but workflow-centric software features, as known from business applications.

    This combination of workflow management software with a video messaging based front-end side does not exist, to our knowledge, so we have to build it. The innovation here will be to keep workflow related features and information largely invisible in the activist interface (“front end”) so that they can interface with the process naturally, like in a conversation over video. Workflow management features are however essential in the administrative part of the software (“admin backend”).

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