The Civic Tech Innovation Network (CTIN) was initiated in 2017 by researchers and a community of practice coming out of the South African “Making All Voices Count” project. This was part of an international programme that supported “the development and spread of innovative approaches to fostering accountable, responsive governance using tools and platforms based on mobile phone and digital technologies.” The idea here locally was that there would be value in creating a learning and advocacy network bringing together tech innovators in the public sector and civil society.
For almost 3 years now, the CTIN has continued to define itself, engage with its communities, and explore paths to engage and support our country’s small but strong and growing civic tech community. With its foundational support coming from The Omidyar Group’s philanthropy, Luminate, which champions innovation and the mission of funding and supporting NGOs and advocating “for policies and actions that will help people participate in and shape the issues affecting their lives, and make those in power more transparent, responsive, and accountable” – CTIN has managed to appeal to a wide and transdisciplinary community of practice.
CTIN’s incubation through the Journalism and Media Lab (JamLab) has been significant because JamLab’s partnering between Wits Journalism and the Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct means that it has been possible to leverage strong synergies across the domains of new technologies, journalism and media innovation, and social justice / civic activism. With the emerging linkage to the Wits School of Governance, we also envisage strengthening the link to the field of public administration and governance.
This report represents an important historic record of the CTIN journey, as its first full “annual report”, including its financial books. We are proud of the reach, continuity, and engagement that the CTIN has achieved thus far in a domain that could not be more relevant in these times. We look forward to the Network’s continued growth and impact.