The CTIN Regional Ambassador Programme grew out of CTIN’s intentions to function as a Pan-African Community of Practice (CoP) in response to ever-increasing interest from the wider African civic tech community, a testament to the need for a community for people in this space. Additionally, the RAP aimed at circumventing our geographic limitations and strengthening regional connection and participation within the African civic tech community.
The programme signified an approach to assist CTIN, as a CoP, to build an active civic tech community, as well as build awareness and strategic ties with innovators, organisations, researchers, practitioners, and other civic tech actors across the continent. The RAP is thus being initiated to solidify CTIN’s reach and regional partnerships in the African civic tech space. As an African organisation that uniquely convenes and maintains a CoP with civic tech actors, it was important that the CTIN actively and intentionally seeks out visibility in African regions currently underrepresented within our Network so that nobody is left out of the community building and beneficiation.
While the CTIN is based in South Africa, it has functioned as a Pan-African CoP in response to ever-increasing interest from the wider African civic tech community since 2018. Based on the regional, and local knowledge and networks of the RAP ambassadors, the partnership between CTIN, as a CoP, and the respective RAP members facilitated a collective community-building and nurturing context that connected members and actors both physically and online.
The RAP ambassadors’ local knowledge has proven to expand CTIN’s knowledge of initiatives across all the regions of the continent and in turn create a wider network of African civic tech initiatives. Therefore, the RAP was a means to ensure the extension of reach by partnering with civic tech organisations on the continent to circumvent the geographical challenge of representing and connecting African civic tech innovators. The RAP ambassadors serve not only as CTIN ambassadors but also as the Network’s eyes, ears and heartbeat on the ground. The CTIN recognises the importance of identifying ambassadors that best understand the nuanced experiences of their region and as a result, ambassadors serve a dual purpose of not only representing the CTIN but also championing their regional civic tech actors and landscape. CTIN ambassadors are also chosen on the basis that the candidate organisations could also strategically benefit from playing the role, and not see it as extraneous to their existing mandates.