Election Monitoring in Africa’s Biggest Democracy

voter reg

Credit: Heinrich Böll Stiftung

There was never going to be anything simple about Nigeria’s 2015 elections. Both main candidates – Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari – are big names that commanded significant followings. Security concerns, technology worries and registration difficulties, meanwhile, compounded an already complex electoral situation in Africa’s largest democracy. Continue reading

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Accountability Innovating Within and Outside Government at Global Innovation Gathering Berlin

Image 12I recently wrote about the fantastic opportunity I had to be part of the Global Innovation Gathering in Berlin both before and during Re:Publica.  There were so many fascinating discussions that I thought I would turn them into several blog posts. This one focuses on tech innovations taking place to improve service delivery and bring citizens closer to government.  Should we do this from outside in or inside out?

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Guest Post: GuA British Reverse in East Africa – from the War Office Archive

The following post has been kindly prepared by Nicholas Dykes, cataloguer at the British Library’s War Office Archive. The post relates to work funded by Indigo to conserve, catalogue, digitally capture and publish a number of maps and pages of text relating to the former East Africa Protectorate, Uganda and Colony of Kenya. It is the second in a series of posts aimed at explaining the work and revealing the stories told by the maps and documents. It is hoped that these historical artefacts can be used by historians, scientists studying climate change, population movements, land use, governments and others to study the sometimes brutal nature and operation of British colonialism during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  

The recent attack by al-Shabab gunmen on a university in Garissa, north-eastern Kenya, demonstrates the threat still posed by the group, despite its losing control of the main cities and ports in Somalia. Conventional military tactics have generally proven ineffective against them, as they melt away and blend into the civilian population, before re-grouping to strike, as one BBC article put it ‘like mosquitoes in the night’. Continue reading

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Elections – Forewarned is Forearmed

As recent electoral events in the UK demonstrate, elections can be tricky mistresses and ‘foregone conclusions’ can be way off the mark. Here at Indigo we frequently receive proposals from groups wanting to do work around elections in sub-Saharan Africa; whether it’s voter education in Kenya, youth participation in Tanzania or election monitoring in Nigeria. If your organisation is seeking to do work on elections, building in enough time to get the work done can be crucial. Designing a project, producing a proposal, implementing it and then monitoring and evaluating it can take longer than you might think. You could also be in conversation with potential funders for a number of months beforehand, which could quickly eat into the timeframe you had initially envisaged. So, if you’re thinking about it and are looking for funding from us, get the ball rolling early. We’d love to hear from groups using technology for election work, so drop us a line!

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The Lagos Lunge and Abuja Ab Crunch – Why Nigerian Exercise just got a whole lot easier…

Conservative estimates say every fifth Nigerian is overweight, while one in ten are clinically obese. Whatever the true rate, it’s clear that a significant proportion of Nigerians are battling the demon weight. That’s why Indigo will be providing an interest-free loan to Truppr, a social tool that helps sport lovers organise and find team mates for their favourite sports in cities around the world. It was founded at the CoCreation Hub in Nigeria and you can read more about the loan here.

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MSF – Mapping, Knowledge Sharing and the Limits of Humanitarianism

Last week, I attended the first of two Medecins sans Frontieres’/Doctors without Borders (MSF) ‘Scientific Days’. From my snap poll (aka stealthily reading peoples’ name badges) many of the attendees were MSF employees or volunteers and so this conference gave me a privileged insight into the challenges, dilemmas and opportunities facing one of the world’s biggest humanitarian response agencies. Continue reading

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Making Translation a Priority for Humanitarian Response

The following post was kindly prepared by Grace Tang, global coordinator at Translators without Borders. It reflects upon TwB’s recent experiences providing local language Ebola content in West Africa. Indigo has supported this work with a grant and we were particularly keen to learn about TwB’s experiences working across multiple countries and languages and with a myriad of humanitarian response agencies…

The recent Ebola outbreak that killed more than 10,000 people has highlighted the importance of communicating with communities in the right language. Many agree that more sensitisation activities would have made a difference. As Ebola Emergency Coordinator for Médecins sans Frontières/Doctors without Borders in Guinea argued, “in the first nine months, if people had been given proper messages, all this could have been prevented.” Continue reading

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