The North-South Divide

I don’t think anyone has yet come up with a satisfactory term to describe the different blocs of countries that have historically been described as rich/poor, first/third world, developing/developed or, most recently, Global North/South. All are – to my mind – wholly inadequate, as they try to lump together such heterogeneous countries in just two categories.  Continue reading

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They Work for You: Monitoring Parliament and Why It’s Worth It

TWITTER Opposition Parties Parliamentary Monitoring GroupIt’s hard to trust our leaders. Across the globe, the gap between rich and poor is widening while seldom a week passes without a political figure or big brand being exposed for avoiding tax, involvement in corrupt practices or making decisions that blatantly work against the public good.

Now more than ever, it is critical that citizens are able to hold both public and private institutions to account so that the decisions they make serve us. We rely on them to ensure that people can access the services they need like good schools, effective healthcare and efficient waste disposal.

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South African MPs sing for their supper

Do you know how many debates your MP appears at? I don’t have a clue and I certainly don’t know what a good attendance rate looks like. South African voters now have a chance to compare the attendance record of their representative with that of other MPs to see who’s the hardest working and who’s sleeping on the job. Take a look at PMG’s attendance page and you’ll see attendance rates that vary between 0% and 100%. The following article – that recently appeared in South Africa’s Financial Mail – explains the work in more detail (apologies for the poor quality of the scanned article): Continue reading

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Easy online tool to find your MP or councillor

The following article is reproduced with the kind permission of GroundUp. The original article can be found here.

Website helps you to hold your elected representatives accountable


Screenshot of the People’s Assembly website for Philippi

Do you know who your local Member of Parliament (MP) or your ward councillor is? Do you know what they do and how to contact them? Many South Africans don’t. Continue reading

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Accessing Information in Uganda

In some parts of the world, the right to access information is fairly well entrenched and something that citizens, the media and others are familiar with. In other parts of the world, meanwhile, access to information is but a distant dream. Many countries, however, occupy a sort of middle ground where the right to information is present, but it is neither widely understood, used or complied with. Continue reading

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AfricanLII – Our High-Flying Grantee

It’s not often our grantees make it into an in-flight magazine (at least, I don’t think it is). This month, though, it’s great to see the African Legal Information Institute (AfricanLII) make it onto the pages of South African Airline’s magazine and reflects on the importance of having access to legislation and legal information for everyone and how online is helping make that a reality:

SAA magazine article

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War Office Archive goes live in Nairobi

Nick and John Paul

Nicholas Dykes with John Paul Karijo, Community Manager iHub

The following blog post was kindly prepared by Nick Dykes, Cataloguer at the British Library.

In 2014 the British Library received funding from the Indigo Trust to catalogue, conserve and digitise almost 600 colonial-era military intelligence maps of the former British East Africa, a rich historical resource held at the library in the so-called War Office Archive. The project was completed last year with a modest underspend, which was put towards promotion and marketing of the project in East Africa itself. As the cataloguer and co-ordinator of the project, I recently travelled to Nairobi to give demonstrations of the new online resource and to deliver talks about the archive’s rich potential for environmentalists and for researchers of African, colonial and personal history. Continue reading

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