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WeGov

Why Were Kenya's Elections Peaceful? Technology Provides Only a Partial Explanation

BY Kelly Gilblom | Thursday, April 4 2013

Screenshot of the Uchaguzi map of election day events.

When Kenyan presidential candidate Raila Odinga graciously conceded to his opponent, incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta, during a Saturday television broadcast that followed a long court battle, the country breathed a sigh of relief. Fears that Kenya would spiral into crisis, as it did after the 2007 presidential elections, did not materialize. In marked contrast to the terrible violence of the last time, this post-electoral transfer of power was, with the exception of isolated incidents, peaceful. Read More

WeGov

Kenya's First-Ever Presidential Debate Became a Significant Social Media Event

BY Sara Jerving | Wednesday, February 13 2013

Screenshot of debate organizers' Facebook page

Kenya held its first presidential debate in the country's history this Monday. Millions tuned in as candidates answered questions posed by moderators. In an interesting twist, the organizers selected both the moderators and the questions from suggestions submitted by ordinary citizens via social media platforms, SMS and email. Read More

WeGov

On Social Media, the African Diaspora Redirects the Conversation on International Aid

BY Julia Wetherell | Friday, February 8 2013

When the much-hyped Kony 2012 campaign crashed and burned last year, it became a symbol of the misguided approach taken by many glamour causes in international development.  The story quickly became a laughingstock in the international media.  Yet even before one of the campaign’s directors was found running naked on the streets of San Diego, Ugandans and other Africans living in diaspora were engaged in a social media takedown of Kony 2012. 

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WeGov

Can Technology and "Testimony" Prevent Violence in Kenyan Elections?

BY Sara Jerving | Wednesday, February 6 2013

Kenya's Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) campaigning in Kibera (credit: Sara Jerving)

Community organizers, activists and civil society workers are hoping a mix of technology and on-the-ground organizing can stave off political violence around Kenya's upcoming elections. Read More

WeGov

Weekly Global Readings: Creativity

BY Lisa Goldman and Antonella Napolitano | Wednesday, January 23 2013

This week's theme is "creativity," whether it be photos of graffiti by Syrian anti-regime activists or a social media platform that fosters creativity and collaboration between young Indians. Read More

WeGov

Abayima Makes SIM Cards Into E-Readers to Combat Information Blackouts

BY Julia Wetherell | Tuesday, January 22 2013

Over the past decade, mobile tech has grown into a dominant force in journalism, activism, and revolution across the globe. Yet one organization is going lo-tech to get information in the hands of the people – by transforming basic cellular phones into e-readers loaded with news that might be otherwise censored by the government. Read More

WeGov

For Recovering Liberia, Tech Hub a High-Speed Link to a Digital Future

BY Tamasin Ford | Tuesday, January 22 2013

Graduates of a course for women at iLab Liberia (image: iLab Liberia)

Struggling to recover from a devastating civil war, few Liberians have access to computers or even electricity. In the capital city of Monrovia, an Ushahidi initiative called iLab Liberia is an oasis where instructors teach courses in everything from basic computer skills to programming languages. Read More

WeGov

Sierra Leone Teen Becomes MIT Media Lab's Youngest "Visiting Practitioner"

BY Lisa Goldman | Monday, December 3 2012

A video about a boy from Sierra Leone who creates innovative technology solutions with household goods and materials he sources from dumpsters has gone viral, with over 3.5 million views in two weeks. Kelvin Doe, 16, figured out how to make his own batteries out of acid, soda, and metal when he was 13 years old. He also made a generator out of a cast-off voltage stabilizer and built the equipment to start a community FM radio station, which he runs with a team of friends who act as reporters and station managers (Doe goes by the name DJ Focus). He created these things out of necessity — because batteries were too expensive and his family home did not have access to regular electricity. Read More

WeGov

In Zambia, a Phone App Allows Citizens to Participate in Drafting Their Constitution

BY Lisa Goldman | Friday, November 2 2012

Screenshot from phone app page.

Zambia is in the process of writing a constitution that will reflect the aspiration of the people. In order to make the process inclusive, the government has created a phone app that allows people to read the draft, sharing and commenting on pages. The Zambian draft constitution app is available free for download on Google Play — but not on iTunes, which shows the extent to which low-cost Androids are kicking dust in the face of the prohibitively priced iPhone in developing nations. Read More

WeGov

Africa in Flux: How Urbanization and Digital Technology are Changing a Continent

BY Lisa Goldman | Monday, September 24 2012

SMS in Kampala, Ungada (photo: Future Atlas/Flickr )

A new report details the ways in which urbanization and mobile technology are driving profound change in Africa. Read More