What’s happening in Civic Tech this week?

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

Source: Photo by Pixabay

COMMUNITY OPPORTUNITIES 

Open Call: Be part of the Musical Programme at CTIF & Jamfest 2023

The Civic Tech Innovation Forum and Jamfest have traditionally celebrated African innovation and recognised the artistic and cultural talents that inspire Africa’s creativity. This year, we continue with this tradition and invite musical artists to send in their applications to be a part of this exciting annual event…read more 

Deadline: Friday, 7 July 2023

Submit to nkosinathi@civictech.africa 

Applications for the UNICEF Innovation Fund are now open

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: 25 August 2023

The Centre for Public Service Innovation (CPSI) is a South African national government component within the Portfolio of the Minister 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 

Pitching the Rest of World Africa desk

Rest of World cover stories that explore the impact of technology on people and institutions outside the Western bubble. Their  focus is on local stories with global relevance. Their Africa desk is accepting pitches for news stories and reports on topics of interest across the continent, from Egypt to South Africa, from Nigeria to Kenya. Their news stories range from 600 to 1,000 words, while reports range from 1,000 to 2,000 words. They prioritize on-the-ground reporting that is fresh, timely, and globally relevant. They pay a $500 flat fee for shorter news stories and for $750 for reports, which are typically around 1500 words. They take timely payment seriously, and typically send payments within 15 business days…read more  

Calll for Sessions Proposals: The African Internet Governance Forum (AfIGF): 7 July 2023

The African Internet Governance Forum (AfIGF) invites stakeholders who are passionate about shaping the digital landscape in Africa to organize engaging sessions under the following subthemes: Cybercrime and Online Safety, Cybersecurity, AI & Emerging Technologies, Digital Divides and Inclusion, Human Rights and Freedoms, Data Governance and Trust, and Universal Access and Meaningful Connectivity. They are looking for innovative and insightful workshop proposals, lightning talks, open forums, town halls, launches, award ceremonies, and pre-event activities…read more

Deadline: Friday, 7 July 2023

Submission Link 

Empire Partner Foundation Tech Awards: 30 September 2023

The Empire Partner Foundation (EPF) has been actively involved in promoting the development of youth and entrepreneur skills in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector since 2016. EPF has a strong focus on recognizing and supporting local talent and technology in South Africa. To highlight and celebrate the achievements in this field, EPF organizes the Annual South African Technology Awards. This prestigious event aims to showcase the talent and technology of tech-based businesses across all nine provinces of South Africa. The awards will provide an opportunity for these businesses to gain recognition and exposure for their innovative contributions to the ICT sector. EPF is enthusiastic about creating a platform that not only acknowledges the achievements of South African tech businesses but also encourages their continued growth and success. …read more

Deadline: Saturday, 30 September 2023

Entry Form 

Call to submit new research in civic tech the field

The Civic Tech in Africa Evidence Map, launched in March 2023 was a joint collaboration between CTIN and the South Africa Centre for Evidence (SACE). The project aimed to create an up to date evidence base on African civic tech research. This comprehensive research database provides information about the size, type, concentration and focus of research topics, while classifying each piece of literature into key themes. CTIN will be maintaining and updating the evidence map bi-yearly. As such, we would like to extend an invitation to organisations and researchers in the civic tech space to submit new research in the field – including both academic and non-academic research (reports, policy briefs, opinion pieces and case studies). Once reviewed, the studies will be added to the evidence map. 

Submit to yasmin.shapurjee@wits.ac.za

COMMUNITY NEWS 

Shaping the Future: The Rights of Children in the Digital Space

Our previous  Digital Dialogue in partnership with the International Civil Society Centre, which took place on 1 June 2023, focused on  helping children  become responsible digital citizens  in the face of uncertainty and unsafety faced in the online space. The internet and its appendages are incredibly complex and very few people understand it in its entirety. This creates room for children to find themselves in dangerous spheres of the internet, ones which their parents and guardians, and even themselves, are unfamiliar with…read more

Watch Full Dialogue

The Role of Digital Technologies in African Elections 

In the aftermath of colonialism, the African continent has faced a barrage of issues, including the overarching issue of rapid democratisation. Elections have taken place in countries across Africa, each with their own unique set of complexities. Now, in the contemporary era, another dimension has been added to that — the emergence of technology and the role that this technology plays in elections. Technology’s relationship with elections is prevalent not only in Africa, but around the world, and this is influencing citizen participation in elections, and even goes as far as influencing the parties and individuals for which civilians vote. The quality of elections in African States often comes into question and this has been inadvertently affected by digital technologies. On the one hand, technologies can be used to improve the electoral process, but on the other, they can also be used to stifle democratic proceedings. Many African states tow the line between these two ends of the scale…read more

COMMUNITY RESOURCES

Podcast: Advancing Technology & Social Change through the Ushahidi Digital Tool

Ushahidi is a global not-for-profit technology company that develops integrated tools and services to enable people to generate solutions and mobilize communities for good. They build open-source software with the intent of strengthening communities and improving lives, empowering users to rapidly and purposefully gather, analyze, respond and act on data and information. Since their founding in 2008 as a tool to monitor and map post-election violence in Kenya, Ushahidi’s crowdsourcing tools have been used by thousands of groups and millions of people to raise voices, inform decisions, stop suffering and influence change. In this episode, we spoke to Daniel Odongo from Ushahidi. Daniel is the director of implementation at Ushahidi. We spoke to Daniel about their development and growth in civic tech in Africa and across the world…read more

Listen on Apple Podcast

Listen on Spotify

Communicative ecologies and mobile phones: Forging a way to increased citizen engagement

Over the past decades there has been a worldwide shift towards calls for greater transparency and accountability in government. As part of this shift, the way citizens and the state interact with each other has evolved from the traditional top-down governance that has been popular until quite recently, to include more bottom-up governance where citizens initiate interactions with the state. At the same time there has been much discussion amongst academics about the potential of using technology to facilitate greater interaction between these two parties. This paper describes the MobiSAM project, reflecting on the five year research intervention in a small municipality in the Eastern Cape of South Africa…read more

Online Budget Data Portal: Vulekamali

National Treasury has been working in partnership with IMALI YETHU to develop an easily accessible online budget data portal. This portal has recently been named “vulekamali” by a South African citizen who entered a competition which was open from November 2017 until mid January 2018. Through vulekamali, National Treasury continues to entrench its commitment to transparency and budget participation reforms. As is well known internationally through ranking in the 2017 Open Budget Index (OBI), South Africa came 1st out of 115 countries, sharing this position with New Zealand. National Treasury already publishes extensive budgetary information on its website, however it has been observed over time that the use of this data is not as extensive as it could be. Furthermore, the OBI report shows that South Africa can improve on public participation. The portal will therefore publish easily accessible data in a user-friendly format, to enable more effective information sharing, analyses and research. The portal will support involvement by civil society and the public in the budget process and enable citizens to have informed discussions in different government policy areas. The launch of Vulekamali was on 20 February 2018, in Parliament, Cape Town…read more

Data Journalism with Africa Data Hub 

The Africa Data Hub (ADH) is a collective of data organisations operating across three African countries that work together to provide local journalists with verified accurate up-to-date data, tools, training, mentoring and support to tell the stories that matter with the data they need. They believe that access to quality data not only has the potential to challenge power and the status quo, but also to have a direct impact in addressing vulnerability, inequity and exclusion. The first phase of this project focused almost exclusively on the COVID-19 crisis and ends in 2022. A key vision of ADH going forward is to see data mainstreamed into news stories and with that, they are also building a community of data journalists who can engage each other for support, resources and solidarity in their work. They are in the process of opening up important African datasets that are inaccessible to journalists that need it. This work involves sourcing, aggregating, cleaning and processing data into usable formats for further analysis and reporting. They are also working on demystifying data as a helpful starting point and value add in stories…read more

COMMUNITY EVENTS 

Tayarisha Lunch Box Series with Dr. Kagiso ‘Tk’ Poe: 6 July 2023 

The recently released report entitled ‘The Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture’, in early 2022, has brought the number of established Commissions of Inquiry (CoIs) in post-1994 South Africa to 12, depending on the definition used. Moreover, post-2011, there has been an exponential increase in the use and establishment of CoIs in South Africa’s political and legal governance environment. 

Join Tayarisha Centre for Digital Governance for their next installation of the Tayarisha Lunch Box Series with Dr. Kagiso ‘Tk’ Poe as he presents on “Commission of inquiry: hybrid hollowing out of State governance.”

Date: Thursday, 6 July 2023

Time: 12pm-1pm (CAT)

RSVP with Zibusiso.Manzini-Moyo@wits.ac.za

Digital Dialogue #14: The role of partnerships in strengthening the impact of Civic Tech: 6 July  2023

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. 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…read more

Date: Thursday, 6 July 2023

Time: 4pm-5pm (CAT)

Registration Link 

Save the Date: CTIF & Jamfest Conference 2023

CTIN’s annual conference, Civic Tech Innovation Forum (CTIF) is intended to enable the civic tech community and ecosystem actors to engage face-to-face (and virtually!), learn about innovations, tools, and techniques, share experiences, and meet potential collaborators. It presents an opportunity to gain an overview of what is going on in the sector in Africa and the world. The conference also provides an opportunity for the Civic Tech Innovation Network to consult with network members to inform the design of future activities. Jamfest, organised by Jamlab Africa is a conference that brings together journalists, media managers, and other stakeholders across the African continent to talk about innovations, content, and audience analytics, among other conversations. These two events make up the joint conference,  CTIF, and Jamfest. The CTIF and Jamfest is an opportunity to showcase innovators in media and civic technology who are helping move Africa forward; innovators who are tributary streams, unclogging the continent’s rivers of possibility and letting them flow…read more

Date: 16 – 19 October 2023

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