How to use partnerships to strengthen the Impact of Civic Tech

The role of partnership offers civic tech organisations and innovators an opportunity to use existing digital technologies and leverage good working relationships with stakeholders within an existing network.
Image of People holding hands in partnerships
Source: Hubpost

Civic tech is not technology as a product but should be viewed as a methodology, process and means of engaging different problems. Therefore, there is value in collaborative civic tech processes and outcomes. Working through social and economic problems in a systematic way, and with multiple perspectives, provides a nuanced and realistic viewpoint from which to think of appropriate and effective civic tech solutions. that are context-specific and have the best chance of meaningful impact within communities.

The role of civic tech innovation across Africa is widely regarded for its potential to strengthen democratic engagement, governance processes and greater transparency and accountability between government and citizens (see de Lanerolle, Walker and Kinney, 2016; Gevers, 2021; Songa and Dabo, 2021). Civic Tech in the global South is still a relatively new concept, within a diverse field that is linked to digital innovation, governance, transparency and accountability initiatives, and improved service delivery. For civic tech initiatives to increase their reach and impact, it necessitates involving multiple stakeholders; this makes collaborations within the civic tech ecosystem vital. These collaborations could include public-private partnerships, collaboration between civic tech organisations and academics, and other such partnerships.

By collaborating on civic tech initiatives and civic tech product development, the  players in the civic tech ecosystem are able to both connect and mutually learn, while being able to share resources, experiences, expertise and learnings. The role of partnership offers civic tech organisations and innovators an opportunity to use existing digital technologies and leverage good working relationships with stakeholders within an existing network.

This Digital Dialogue will provide an overview of the role of partnerships within the civic tech ecosystems in different contexts. With a focus on the global South, the Dialogue will reflect on case studies in which partnerships helped shape the development and implementation of civic tech projects across different communities and contexts. Invited panelists will represent different role players within the civic tech field such as civic innovators, local government officials, community-based organsiations and the private sector. The Digital Dialogue aims to address the following questions:

  • What can we learn from civic tech case studies built on partnerships and collaboration?
  • What are the strategies that we can adopt to facilitate partnerships between various role-players in the civic tech ecosystem, especially partnerships with government actors/agencies, and communities respectively?
  • What are the opportunities and drawbacks of partnerships within the civic tech field?
  • How can lessons and personal reflections improve longer-term collaboration to advocate for civic tech and other digital tech?

By evaluating the role of partnerships in the civic tech space, this Digital Dialogue will offer unique insights from a diverse panel of people working across sectors and expertise. The Digital Dialogue will focus on highlighting the wins of successful partnerships, but will also unpack the challenges and risks associated with partnerships. A greater understanding of the role of partnerships in civic tech innovation will be useful to those working in civic tech, especially in resource-constrained contexts, in democracies in which rights are under threat, and where service delivery continues to be of poor quality.

Caroline Khene – Nurture ID8
Tobi Oluwatola – Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development
Hector Dominguez Aguirre – Portland Smart City PDX Project

Event Details
Date: 6 July 2023
Time: 16:00 (CAT)
Registration link

Also read What’s happening in African civic tech now and What would a gender-equal approach to remote working look like?

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