What’s happening in African civic tech now

We’ve put together a list of opportunities, news, resources, and events that you may be interested in. We would love to hear from you. Should you have and opportunities, news, resources, and events you would like to share with the African civic tech community, please email Nkosinathi Mcetywa at nkosinathi.mcetywa@wits.ac.za

Community Opportunities

DataFest VizQuest Competition

The DataFest VizQuest data visualisation competition welcomes individuals, teams, and organizations who have a passion for data visualization and a drive to make a difference. Whether you are a data enthusiast, a creative designer, or a policy advocate, this competition offers an inclusive platform for participants to showcase their skills and contribute to meaningful change. Participants can be based in Uganda or have the ability to travel to Kampala for the in-person event. Join this collaborative journey to harness the power of data visualization for social impact and gender equality…read more
Deadline: Wednesday, 7 June 2023
Registration Link 

Call for abstracts: Be a part of this new and one-of-a-kind encyclopedia

The Tayarisha Centre is editing the following sections of the Encyclopaedia and invites abstracts that relate to Artificial Intelligence (AI), Digital Governance (or Digital age Governance), Civic Tech Innovation, and Gov-Tech Innovation. This encyclopedia is a multi-volume series and the first of its kind to be edited by some of the most established academics and researchers from the Global South. This encyclopedia provides comprehensive coverage of current developments in public policy and public administration as fields of study and government practice in the global South. It contains distinct empirical, methodological, and theoretical essays on practical and normative transformations and underlying trajectories that have emerged in Asian, Latin American, and African public policy and administration in recent decades…read more
Deadline: Wednesday, 7 June 2023
Submission Link 

UNICEF Innovation Fun

The UNICEF Venture Fund is looking to make up to US$100K in equity-free investments to provide early-stage (seed) funding to for-profit start-
ups developing frontier technology solutions that can positively impact the lives of the world’s most vulnerable children and youth. If your product is registered in one of UNICEF’s programme countries, is a working prototype, has demonstrated results, and is (or could be) open-source licensed, you are encouraged to apply…read more
Deadline: Friday, 28 July 2023
Application Link

Call for entries: Public Sector Innovations Award Programme

The Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI) is a South African national government component within the Portfolio of the Mi
nister for the Public Service and Administration, tasked with the mandate of entrenching the culture and practice of innovation in the Public Sector. This is done through various programmes that unearth, recognise and nurture the replication of innovative solutions to improve service delivery. The Executive Director (Acting) of Centre for Public Service Innovation, Ms Lydia Sebokedi in partnership with the Director-General in the Free State Office of the Premier, Mr Kopung Ralikontsane, officially launched the 21st Public Sector Innovation Awards 2023 Programme – Call for Entries 2023 at the Bloem Spa and Conference Hotel  Bloemfontein, Free State…read more
Deadline: Friday, 25 August 2023
Entry Form

Community News

How a lack of power keeps millions offline and left behind

When we unlock our phone or boot up our laptop, most of us take for granted that we’ll be able to connect to the internet, rarely stopping to think about the complex networks of wires, servers, and subsea cables that keep our bits and bytes flowing. But around the world, many lack a critical ingredient of internet infrastructure needed to connect: electricity. Roughly a billion people—13% of the global population—don’t have access to electricity and many more face regular disruptions. A reliable and affordable electricity supply is a fundamental requirement for accessing and using technology, including the Internet. Without reliable power, devices can’t operate and services go down. Without electricity, the internet is just a black hole…read more

Three global development leaders share their hopes and fears for AI

The powerful new chatbot ChatGPT has raised awareness of generative artificial intelligence — or tools that don’t just analyze existing data but create new content. It’s one example of how advances in AI are moving more rapidly than our ability to comprehend their impact on society. Depending on how these technologies are developed, regulated, and used, they have the potential to increase access to opportunities or worsen poverty and inequality. At the Global Inclusive Growth Summit 2023, global development experts shared their biggest hopes and fears for AI, along with what they think is required to ensure that these technologies will be a force for good. The event is presented by the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth and the Aspen Institute on the sidelines of the World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington, D.C…read more

Community Resources

Growing and Sustaining African Civic Tech: A Playbook Starter 

Growing and sustaining civic tech initiatives is an arduous task that presents multiple challenges. Financing and funding civic technology activities take up a significant portion of most organisations’ worry hours. Often, when there are shortages of funds, this is viewed as an organisational failure. But instead of looking at funding and financing as a reflection of innate value, it should rather be viewed as one of the tools that allow us to reach our social impact. It is a strategic tool that should be considered alongside all of an organisation’s other strategies as well. Based on research undertaken at the end of 2022, the report will help you: get a birds eye view of African civic tech, understand key risks and opportunities for funding types and get tips on accessing funding that works for your organisation. 
Read Full Report Here  

Civic Tech in Southern Africa: Alternative Democracy and Governance Futures?

This paper interrogates the emerging (‘civic tech’) in the southern African democracy and governance landscape and explores possible futures and policy implications of civic tech in the region in the run-up to 2030. The study’s key findings point to strong though unequal growth in civic tech across the southern Africa region, with a strong focus on democracy and governance, notably web-based applications. While the study revealed numerous visions, potentials and examples of strong civic tech-enabled futures that could be more ‘organic, shared and positive’, it also identified numerous disablers and challenges to the effective embedding of civic tech in the region…read more 

Lawyers For Justice Libya

Since their incorporation as an non-profit organisation, Lawyers For Justice Libya has consistently sought to defend and promote the human rights of everyone in Libya. As they work in an environment that rapidly evolves on a daily basis, they implement strategic, innovative, and flexible activities that seek opportunities to create long-term impacts. In this way, Lawyers For Justice Libya continue to make differences that are life changing for many individuals and benefit Libyan society as a whole…read more  

Digital Rogue Society Experiment Group (DRSE.G)

Digital Rogue Society Experiment Group (DRSE.G) is licensed by the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) to observe competing political parties activities in the digital space for the long term. It undertook the observation and submitted a report along with the findings to NEBE. This case study seeks to demonstrate political parties’ online activities during the Ethiopian Election 2021. It leverages Facebook text posts of the parties to visualize the distribution across the defined categories and sub-categories. The visualization is portioned in three parts namely pre-campaign, campaign and post-campaign period and a separate sheet uncovering the entire data collection period. The total number of posts evaluated is 1,057. This case study mainly focuses to analyze the process of political parties’ digital understanding, commitment, representation, role and dynamism during the election period…read more

Community Events

Digital Dialogue #13: Towards turning children into digital citizens

The Internet was designed for adults. However, children and juveniles are using it on a daily basis and in great numbers. Hence, the protection and welfare of children in the digital space is since long a reoccurring topic in public debate. Governments have enacted regulations on how online services should treat children’s data, prohibit nudge techniques, as well as detect and report abuse. Parents, teachers, and schools are being sensitized and trained to assist children to navigate their online lives. There is consensus that “best interest” should govern the systems that give access to child users. This exceptionalism oblige businesses to operate along rules that protect vulnerable users. But what can be done beyond risk aversion, so as to offer opportunities to children in the emerging digital spaces that…read more.
Date: Thursday, 1 June 2023
Time: 4pm-5pm (CAT)
Registration Link

Investment in ICT as an Engine for the Enjoyment of Digital Rights in Uganda

This webinar will be hosted by Unwanted Witness. The objective of this webinar is to explore the benefits of investing in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) as an engine to promote digital rights in Uganda. The webinar will focus on the opportunities that adequate investment in ICT presents for the promotion and protection of digital rights. The webinar aims to increase awareness and understanding among stakeholders on the importance of adequate investment in ICT for promoting and protecting digital rights in Uganda. To enhance knowledge among policymakers and government officials on the need for increased budget allocation for ICT in Uganda…read more.
Date: Tuesday, 13 June 2023
Time: 1pm (CAT)
Registration Link   

West African Privacy Regional Engagement

The West African Privacy Engagement aims to discuss the importance of corporate responsibility and privacy protection in West Africa, and the role of civil society in fostering corporate accountability. The discussion will explore the challenges faced by civil society in holding corporations accountable for their actions and the need for stronger regulation and enforcement of privacy protection laws. The session will be structured as a panel discussion, featuring experts in corporate responsibility, privacy protection, and civil society activism. Each panelist will present their perspectives on the topic, followed by a moderated discussion and Q&A session with the audience…read more
Date: Friday, 16 June 2023
Time: 1pm (CAT)
Registration Link 

DataFest Africa, Kampala

DataFest Africa is an annual event that ultimately celebrates data science and its ever-evolving impact on the African continent. Since its inception in 2019, the conference has become a melting pot of some of the brightest minds in the region, bringing together stakeholders of diverse backgrounds including; government, civil society, academics, students and private industry experts to connect, learn, and collaborate on innovative data-driven solutions. This year there will be a pre-event in Kampala, Uganda. Stay tuned for more details…read more
Date: Thursday, 29 June 2023

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