African Election Project (AEP) and the Centre for Democratic Development – Ghana (CDD), have signed an agreement to collaborate and share information towards promoting peaceful, credible and transparent December 2012 elections.
The project, being funded by STAR-Ghana, is using the Ghana Votes Ushahidi platform as part of AEP’s “Enabling peaceful transparent and credible elections in Ghana using new media” programme, a release copied to the Ghana News Agency on Wednesday by the International Institute of ICT Journalism, (Penplusbytes) said in Accra.
It explained that as part of the collaboration, CDD-Ghana through its network would contribute content to the Ghana elections mapping platform and process content contributed by its network. Content would be pulled from the crowd-sourced session of the platform with the help of Software created by CDD.
CDD-Ghana and Penplusbytes would jointly promote the use of a website, www.ghvotes.com mapping platform and disseminate its output through respective networks and in the media.
The partnership would also enable members of the CDD’s Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) to contribute and report incidents as “trusted sources” around the elections from their various locations across the country, which would be synched into the Ghana elections early warning alert system to help reduce electoral violence and ensure peaceful elections.
The idea behind this collaboration is to encourage full citizen participation in the electoral process by providing them a modern, attractive, user-friendly and interactive well-structured online election platform to easily enable citizens, journalists and civil society organizations share news, audio and videos about the Ghana Elections via multiple channels including a toll-free SMS short code (prefix AEP to 1902 on all network and 7000 on MTN).
Citizens can email, twitter radio programmes and web forms as well. The information collected would be verified and published with a dynamic timeline that shows when and where every incident happened.
Ushahidi, which means “testimony” in Swahili, was initially developed to map reports of violence in Kenya after the post-election fallout during the country’s 2008 elections. The GhanaVotes2012-ushahidi platform has been specially developed and designed to display reports from the Electoral Commission, civil society groups and citizens on the upcoming Ghana elections.
The map would provide information about everything from security issues, polling station logistics to voter education activities. In addition, the map would display all the voting polling stations, which are linked to AEP poll finder application, and would also contain information on parliamentary, presidential candidates and political parties by constituency and regions, making the map a one-stop shop for election information.
AEP was established in 2008 and coordinated by the International Institute of ICT Journalism (Penplusbytes) and covers elections using Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) across the continent. AEP have successfully covered elections in Botswana, Namibia, Ghana (2008), Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, Mauritania, Mozambique, Malawi, Togo, Niger and Liberia.
STARGhana is a multi- donor pooled funding mechanism (Funded by DFID, DANIDA, EU and USAID) to increase the influence of civil society and Parliament in the governance of public goods and service delivery, with the ultimate goal of improving the accountability and responsiveness of Ghana’s government, traditional authorities and the private sector.