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CIVIC TECH RESEARCH

Current Projects

Civic Tech Innovation Network and South African Cities Network Stakeholder Mapping

The South African Cities Network (SACN) has a partnership with Civic Tech Innovation network (CTIN) to undertake a stakeholder mapping of urban data ecosystem actors and initiatives in the South African metropolitan context through a contracted professional services provider.

Ongoing Research Projects

CTIN is currently conducting research into several themes of civic tech in Africa.

The research will analyse the African Civic Tech Africa Atlas and Case Studies database projects, mining the information CTIN has been collecting to analyse and profile civic tech activities in SA & Africa.

The research entails defining the civic tech space and documenting the evolution of the civic tech movement in Africa, identifying the most effective actors, measuring their impact and success, finding missing gaps within the civic tech ecosystem, and eventually discovering civic tech’s potential within the African context. This research is linked to the research agenda of Wits School of Governance.

Researching and writing a number of case studies on civic technologies in Africa. This includes convening a virtual series of 4 engagements to build and disseminate an aggregation of African case studies on civic tech practices and lessons.

This builds upon initial work based on CTIN’s own outreach and databases, and SACN/CTIN’s COVID-19 civic tech responses survey. The initiative aims to both share and invite case studies. The webinar sessions were modelled around initial experience creatively designed to attract and engage participation.

The sessions are moderated by CTIN’s researcher, Radhika Mia

The Sessions

Session 1: Illustrating the Use of Open Data

Date & Time: 22nd October

Time: 14h00 – 15h30 CET

Open data is heralded as a game-changer for transparency and government accountability. Several civic tech organisations in Africa are using open data to allow citizens to hold governments accountable, and thereby drive better service delivery. The session explored how a few organisations in Africa are driving accountability and service delivery using open data technologies. 

Two major research insights that emerged from the session:

(I) How to get the government to understand why citizens would want data

(II) How COVID-19 is driving innovation and has been good for the civic tech community

Watch the session here

Session 2: Illustrating Regional Experiences in Implementing Civic Tech

Date & Time: 29th October

Time: 14h00 – 15h30

The objective was to look at the common stories that emerged from the group discussion and explored the meaning and significance in the different stories. Listening to the stories of the other discussants, the group may discover possibilities for new perspectives on current challenges.  Implications for group collaboration, cross initiatives and across countries were initiated through the discussions.

Watch the session here

Session 3: Business Models for Funding in Civic Tech

Date & Time:17th November 2020

Time: 17H00 – 18H00

This session explored why many civic tech projects are not able to scale and what emerging business models and earned revenue sources for civic tech practitioners are available. 

One major research insight that emerged from the session was that there is potential for scaling and developing business models among African civic tech, but it will be essential to create an “enabling environment” and via:

(i) Creating visibility of their platforms to commercial businesses
(ii) Engaging more citizens via their platforms
(iii) Creating a buy-in and develop trust with governments
(iv) Building the civic tech Infrastructure

Watch the session here

Session 4: Civic Tech in Low Tech Environment: mHealth in Mozambique

Date & Time: 19th November

Time: 12h00 – 13h00

In this session, the strategies used and lessons learned from implementing civic tech in a low tech environment (such as 2G) were explored. A representative of a civic tech initiative from Mozambique shared their stories and lessons.

The following themes and observations emerged from this discussion: 

  1. The problem, not the technology, should drive the project
  2. About 90% of successful civic tech projects is non-tech related
  3.  The political and political economy of civic tech is too often ignored

Watch the session here

Our researcher is currently collecting case studies on civic tech practices and lessons in an urban African context from each session, these will be shared on our case studies database upon completion.

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