Posts Tagged ‘twitter’

Anti-corruption project in competition at N2Y4 Mobile Challenge

6 April 2009

One of our colleagues here at TI has prepared an exciting project for the N2Y4 mobile challenge. In a nutshell, Mosomo-health is looking to make use of mobile phones to bring together information about health-related government spending and connect this data to local knowledge about whether or not funding reaches its intended destination and actually results in on-the-ground infrastructure and public health services.

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In the interest of brevity and to encourage you to head over to the netsquared site this is an extremely abbreviated description of the idea. If you like it thus far, please register (it’s non-profit and there won’t be any spam), go straight here to look at the detailed description of Mosomo-health, give it a star rating and perhaps an additional positive comment in the comments field. If we can create enough of a buzz, then maybe, just maybe, we’ll have a chance to reach the finals of the competition and mobilise some funding to pilot the project.

To get a sense of just how worthwhile this may be, check out the last challenge-winning project Ushahidi and on the contest site.

Thanks in advance for your help in spreading the word!

And while we’re at it, TI’s new twitter has just been named Nonprofit of the Week by Nonprofitorgs. Good reason to follow both.

Fight Against Corruption and Rule of Law Threatened by Twitter?!

17 March 2009

Not in the grand scheme of things, we don’t think. But consider this piece from the NY Times webpage:

And on Monday, defense lawyers in the federal corruption trial of a former Pennsylvania state senator, Vincent J. Fumo, demanded that the judge declare a mistrial after a juror posted updates on the case on Twitter and Facebook. The juror even told his readers that a “big announcement” was coming Monday. But the judge decided to let the trial continue, and the jury found Mr. Fumo guilty. His lawyers plan to use the Internet postings as grounds for appeal.

So much for Twitter and possible unintended consequences in the fight against corruption. Not a good reason to ignore the potential of this technology to create transparency though, is it?

Blogs and tweets inform and help during Mumbai attacks

30 November 2008

The tragic events in Mumbai last week highlighted again how susbtantially the media landscape has changed in the recent past. Literally within minutes after the beginning of the terrorist siege, twitter users, bloggers and flickr users began reporting the events as they unfolded. Established national and international news media quickly began featuring the content provided by private individuals in their own reporting. This Wired blog post has some of the most interesting examples of social media tools used to provide first-hand accounts of the events, including the already prominent flickr collection by Vinu. Gaurav Mishra has written an extremely informative and balanced account on the use and impact of social media tools during the days of the siege. He suggests that while Twitter was used heavily to send first-hand news, there was somewhat less original citizen reporting through blogs than could have been expected.


The horrific violence perpetrated against the people of Mumbai and their visitors in the attacks brought out the best in people as well: empathy and the desire to help others in the wake of terror. As pointed out by Asfaq Tapia, volunteer spirit and social media complemented each other in this situation to deliver critical information faster and more comprehensively than traditional news and rescue services could:

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Blogging for change in Africa

20 October 2008
Kelele | The African Bloggers Conference

Kelele | The African Bloggers Conference

I just came across the announcement for the Annual African Bloggers Conference planned to take place in 2009 in Kenya via the blog of the Association of Progressive Communicators. This prompted me to address one of the key questions when looking at social media for development.

The main challenge for using social media concepts, and the internet in general, is that many people, especially in the developing world, still don’t have access to it (see this statistics overview, wikipedia, as well as this nice map).

However, usage rates are growing tremendously, especially in Africa and the Middle East, and initiatives such as the bloggers conference give hope that the internet, as a genuine grassroots media, can reach not only the few. Through the internet and information sources such as blogs, the entrance barrier to join a political dialogue and the public sphere are much easier than through traditional media and TV.

A while ago, this article looked at South Africa and the influence bloggers and “citizen journalism” have on the political dialogue in the country, arguing that, while not yet in a scale as in the US, bloggers are are joining the discourse and start receiving attention by the media.

Of course, radio on the other hand still advantages providing a platform for discussions. Community radio projects keep to be successful around the world. A great initiative addressing how to tie in both media is the Radio 2.0 for development blog. See also a related post presenting the publication: Fighting Poverty: Utilizing Community Media in a Digital Age.

Merging text messaging and social media tools such as twitter provide another opportunity that will be discussed in a following post.

People are starting to make noise. With corruption being one of the main obstacles for development, there is the potential and the need to start engaging into social media tools and not write off the continent, just because of the technical challenges that still need to be overcome.