Social media analytics on crime and violence in Honduras. The colors represent the sentiment -- positive, negative or neutral -- associated with the context in which the words pandilleros (gang members) and pandilla (gang) were used.
The words “crime” and “violence” seemingly go together when talking about the Northern Triangle countries of Central America (El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala). The words “data” and “hackathon” go together when discussing technical innovation, intricate computer applications and groups of hackers writing computer code to create the next billion-dollar application. Rarely do these four words merge on the same plane, but when they do, opportunities abound for conversations that have lots to do with innovation and more to do with citizen security and social development. I had the opportunity to take part in such conversations during a USAID-organized hackathon on April 30 and May 1, focusing on security levels in Central America and the Caribbean.
Georgia lags behind most European countries when it comes to women’s political participation. Only 12 percent of the members of the parliament are women and only 11 percent of those in local councils are women. That is a just a 5 percent and 1 percent improvement respectively compared to parliamentary and local council elections in 2008 and 2010 respectively. Out of 12 directly elected mayors of self-governing cities, not one is a women and all 63 directly elected governors are men. Women make up only 17 percent of the Cabinet of Ministers.
NDI’s domestic observation partner in Nigeria, TMG, reported that 1 in 4 election officials for the 2015 presidential and legislative elections were women.
There’s something new in the Gender, Women and Democracy (GWD) program at NDI. In evaluating existing programming within the democracy and governance community, the GWD team found a gap. As we examined the social, political, and economic barriers preventing women from participating fully in democratic governance, we found that one such barrier -- violence against women in elections (VAW-E) -- was absent from the conversation, largely because it had not been distinguished from wider studies of electoral violence. So, in partnership with NDI’s election team, and with funding from the National Endowment for Democracy, GWD is putting VAW-E on the map.
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright greets Afghanistan's First Lady Rula Ghani at the National Democratic Institute's 2015 Madeleine K. Albright Luncheon. Credit: Chan Chao
Each year, NDI awards its Madeleine K. Albright Grant to an organization outside of the United States that defies the odds to give women the tools to participate and lead as equal and active partners in their communities.
At the Madeleine K. Albright luncheon this week in Washington, D.C., the former Secretary of State and NDI’s chairman presented this year’s award to the Worker Women Social Organization (WWSO) of Kandahar, Afghanistan.
Between January 2015 and December 2016, African countries will organize more than 35 presidential and legislative elections, and the outcomes have the potential to spark a sea change for the continent. The first of these polls took place in January with the Zambian presidential election after the unexpected death of President Michael Sata.
Rula Ghani, first lady of Afghanistan speaks at a Symposium on Women’s Rights and Empowerment. Credit: Norway MFA/ Kilian Munch
In the last 30 years, Afghanistan has emerged from Soviet occupation, fallen into a crippling civil war, and faced brutal and oppressive rule by the Taliban. During this violent period, women were barred from public life. They were prohibited from working, banned from running for political office, and even shot for attending school. But since the fall of the Taliban, Afghanistan’s women have made significant strides for equality.
Nigeria’s Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) put digital communication, specifically Twitter, at the core of its communication about its 2015 presidential election findings. Well-identified audiences, the use of charts and maps, and a connected population allowed TMG to get its findings in front of a significant number of interested citizens in real time.
In March, TMG observers across Nigeria tested systems that were used on election day to independently verify election results. Using coded text messages, the observers sent massive amounts of data to a national information center for analysis. Credit: TMG-Nigeria
Nigerians went to the polls last month to choose their next president. The outcome was a largely peaceful transition of power between the ruling and opposition parties, and technology played a key role.
Road fractured after Nepal earthquake. Credit: Krish Dulal
All NDI Nepal staff and their immediate families are safe and accounted for. Currently, we have 20 national staff members, two resident international staff and their dependents, and two visiting international consultants in-country. At the time of the quake, many of our staff members were in Dhulikel – about an hour away from Kathmandu – conducting a training program with parliamentarians and political leaders.