What if? This is a question that drives me daily. What if people are connected to affect change with technology? I am very honoured to be selected as a Personal Democracy Forum Google Fellow 2012 among a distinguished list of accomplished fellows.
Learning about the struggles to give voice and have free elections around the world, I’ve encountered a few shining lights that we could learn and remix in North America:
Qabila.tv from Egypt has an amazing program of digital literacy accessible videos to teach people about democracy and the principles. It is in common language. The team used these in their community-based organization outreach campaign to reach the youth. In order to succeed in mandates for elections, we need to start thinking better about how to use the power of the Internet for true engagement. And, then take it offline to communities, listen and remix:
At Ushahidi every day I work alongside election monitors, corruption mappers and other civil society activists. I’m on a mission to ask “What If” citizens could give voice to their causes, their passions, their communities. These people are disrupters doing the heavy lifting. I simply have the honour of sharing their stories as Ushahidi is a vehicle for people’s change. And, I have the responsibility to find ways to augment and surface their work globally while supporting it with documentation and training.
- Trust of citizens can only be acquired with long programming for safe elections. The Ushahidi Liberia team is a strong example of continuous planning and relationship-building.
- Civil society and community-based organizations are core to real engagement. The Harassmap team has a strong offline and online program which could be applied to elections
- Why people vote and don’t vote might be analyzed by Sentiment Mapping. Last year, my colleague launched I Vote Because for the Canadian elections, It was a small act to bind people to the “act of voting” and to spring discussion. I look forward to seeing more evolution in this area.
On Saturday, June 16th, I will participate in a Free Election Hackathon with a number of groups. I plan to use my PDF experience to assist people who will be doing election monitoring around the world in the coming year. I can’t wait to hack on ideas, then test them into action.
Here’s to happy braining,