Technology transforms election monitoring in Kenya

Civil society organizations, including Social Watch’s focal point in Kenya, SODNET, developed a web platform to monitor the development of the country’s constitutional elections that took place on 4 August 2010. This was the second attempt to give Kenya a new constitution after the failure that provoked post election violence in 2008 killing thousands, displacing 300,000 and affecting all Kenyans.
The crowdsourcing platform Uchaguzi (“decision” in Kiswahili), was initially developed as a website aimed to map reports of violence in Kenya. The website was used to map incidents of violence and peace efforts throughout the country based on reports submitted via mobile phone (SMS) and the web (e-mail or Twitter).

The Constitution & Reform Education Consortium (CRECO) provided 500 monitors located at various polling stations around the country as well as administrative support. The Social Development Network (SODNET) - Social’s Watch Focal Point in Kenya -was a main partner to the Uchaguzi platform.

The code to report concerns to Uchaguzi was advertised on the cover of the Kenyan Daily Nation Newspaper, on monitors in grocery stores, on TV, radio and through thousands of text messages sent to cell phones all around the country. 

The monitoring tool, based on citizen participation, worked as a source of information in real-time about the events generated around the election. Uchaguzi is a participatory tool, based in good accessibility that works as an input for achieving democratic progress in Kenya.     

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