CTIN hosted four engagements to create a reservoir of case studies on civic tech best practices and lessons for other civic tech initiatives in Africa. The following 12 case studies were collected from various African civic tech initiatives.
Session 1: Illustrating the Use of Open Data
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
Session Case Studies
- Open Cities Lab: People-centered informed decision making for participatory democracy
- Les Villageois: Young people take ownership of digital technology
- BudgIT: Illustrating the use of open data to drive transparency and accountability in Nigeria
- Open Up: Civic Tech vs Gender inequality
- Mobile Web: Illustrating the use of open data to drive transparency and accountability in Ghana
Session 2: Illustrating Regional Experiences in Implementing Civic Tech
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.
Session Case Studies
- MobiSAM: Improving Makana Municipality’s communication and responsiveness
- WoeLab: Creating African Smart Cities Through technology startups
- Tanzania Data Lab: Promoting innovation and data literacy
Session 3: Business Models for Funding in Civic Tech
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
Session Case Studies:
- iCampus: Business Models for funding civic tech in Africa
- Gavel: Using technology to accelerate Justice in Nigeria
- iTakeActions/Noble Missions: Improving access to quality education for children
Session 4: Civic Tech in Low Tech Environment: mHealth in Mozambique
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:
- The problem, not the technology, should drive the project
- About 90% of successful civic tech projects is non-tech related
- The political and political economy of civic tech is too often ignored
Session Case study:
This project 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 project was supported by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation.