Indigo awarded a grant of £12,300 to Veritas Zimbabwe for the development and launch of a Zimbabwean Draft Constitution App.
It took a long time to get to this point. The Zimbabwean constitution has been disputed since independence with one redraft suffering defeat in a referendum in 2000 and the country effectively being governed, not by the constitution, but by the power-sharing deal since 2008.
With the draft constitution close to fruition, Veritas Zimbabwe, a parliamentary monitoring organisation, contacted us to discuss the possibility of creating a mobile phone app for the draft constitution that would help disseminate this important document and stimulate debate before the country-wide referendum, which was held on March 16th 2013. Veritas had been working with the general public throughout the writing of the draft constitution but felt that for the draft constitution it should aim to engage with an even wider and more diverse group of people than ever before.
Of particular interest was engagement with young people. In Zimbabwe, mobile phone penetration rates are high at around 87%. The App was designed with the most tech-savvy youth in mind and as such was written for Android, Blackberry and Nokia. A mobile web forum was also constructed. It was hoped that this young audience would lead the way in debating the draft constitution discussing it with their peers, parents and wider communities.
Of course, here at Indigo, we’ve funded a similar project before and so we had a sneaking suspicion we knew just the team to help Veritas out with the development of the app! The team at Pledge51 had such phenomenal success with their Nigerian Constitution App, which in January of 2013 had been downloaded 530,000 times, that we knew they would do an excellent job turning the draft Zimbabwean Constitution into an app! We have been so pleased by this collaboration – it is fantastic to see past grant holders helping new organisations and individuals into the field!
Last we heard the app had been downloaded in excess of 10,000 times. You can find it in the Google Play store here.
Here at Indigo we hope that the app not only inspired debate and informed Zimbabwean voters, but that it also strengthened the country’s commitment to democracy, in this important year which should see new elections.