Those of you who have been following our work for a while will know that we have been supporting mySociety for a number of years. As the mySociety team has expanded, so too has their global reach. We have previously funded them to work in partnership with African organisations to develop a number of digital democracy tools. Their most recent work with the South African organisation Parliamentary Monitoring Group saw the launch of the excellent parliamentary monitoring website, People’s Assembly. There has been great interest in mySociety’s work in Africa from across the continent and that’s why we’re delighted to announce that we have awarded them a further grant of £40,000. As with previous grants, the money will go towards helping mySociety partner with suitable local organisations to design and build digital democracy tools. This year, the team plan to adopt a user-centred design methodology, ensuring that any product or service accurately meets the needs and demands of its intended audience. Understanding the local context and designing accordingly is critical to the success of any good digital democracy intitiave and that’s why we and mySociety consider a partnership approach to be most suitable and sustainable. Any organisations in Africa who are considering developing a parliamentary monitoring site or other digital democracy tool should contact us and/or mySociety to discuss it and how we may be able to help. We have provided a number of grants to organisations working on different aspects of transparency and accountability across Africa and would love to hear from others with an interest in this area.
In addition to building new sites and tools, part of our grant will be used to enable mySociety to work with groups they have previously collaborated with to further develop and enhance their work. This could include developing new functionalities for existing sites, improve user experience or publish more data.
It should be a fascinating year ahead and we can’t wait to see the results.