While Senegal is often considered one of Africa’s most stable democracies, that’s not to say that it doesn’t have problems with transparency and accountability. On the contrary, corruption remains a big problem, with some 56% of people reporting having paid a bribe in 2010. A number of organisations at Jokkolabs in Dakar are working on different aspects of these problems and we were fortunate enough to meet with them during our recent trip to the city. A team of young people are working to bring the BudgIT approach to Senegal. We’ve blogged before about BudgIT – the organisation using new technology to open up Nigerian budget data and make it more accessible – and are currently supporting them as they seek to expand. In Senegal, Jimmy and his team want to bring some of that work to Senegal to make budgets more transparent and budget-makers more accountable. Cheikh Fall, meanwhile, has been working on issues surrounding electoral promises and whether they’re being kept. His groundbreaking work in last year’s election, saw his site become an impartial place where citizens could access genuine information on election results and problems up and down Senegal. On a very different theme, ArClean uses gaming and citizen reporting of rubbish problems to highlight concerns about rubbish and recycling across Dakar. The idea is that by shining a light on this dirty problem, the local government will feel more pressure to award contracts to good rubbish collection companies in future. If they don’t, a rubbish revolt might not be out of the question! And speaking of companies, La Centrale des Annonces is helping to bring issues about corporate responsibility and company ownership into the light. They provide the country’s only online company registry, as well as publishing a physical paper each week.
Away from Jokkolabs, OSIWA is a funder working on different issues 0f economic and political governance, as well as the rule of law, justice and human rights. They focus on ensuring government is more transparenct and accountable, building the capacity of civil society to hold them to account and protecting the rights and giving a voice to marginalised community members. They have also been working on elections monitoring and have a wealth of contacts and networks within Senegal and beyond in the wider West African region.