NDI is launching a new and improved version of DemTools, a technology toolkit for civil society and government, on December 9 in Washington, D.C. We’ve put a lot of sweat, tears, and code (no blood so far) into this adventure and are ready to share it with the world. DemTools 2.0 upgrades and expands our existing set of tools, which was deployed by 82 organizations around the world in the last year.
On December 9, NDI will unveil DemTools 2.0, which upgrades and expands NDI’s existing suite of tools that promote democratic practices through the Internet, along with three innovative new applications for managing government petitions, crowdsourcing community problems, and open data, mapping and visualization.
Developers at AWS hackathon burn the midnight oil to create prototype games to teach democratic lessons.
Over 18 grueling hours, more than 200 developers at the ReInvent Conference in Las Vegas hosted by Amazon Web Services (AWS) worked to solve tech challenges submitted by four non-profit organizations: UNICEF, NPR’s Marketplace, Donors Choose and NDI. NDI’s challenge to “design a framework for building story-driven text-based games that convey lessons in an engaging ‘choose your own adventure’ format,” drew more participants than any other project.
Throughout the hackathon -- an event in which a large number of people meet to engage in collaborative computer programming -- five teams worked to deliver functional prototypes of a game system. When it was all over, “Team 29” was declared the winner. The winning team and several other participants committed to bring the demo version to a fully-functional product in the coming months, which NDI will be able to use to enhance its programs.
Staffer at POECI headquarters on election day received updates from observers in the field.
A largely peaceful presidential election held on October 25 was the first since more than 3,000 people were killed and hundreds of thousands internally displaced in the aftermath of Côte d’Ivoire’s disputed 2010 election. Successful citizen election observation efforts helped civil society organizations in Côte d’Ivoire establish their credibility, which was damaged after conflicting reports in 2010 helped fuel post-election turmoil.
Voters at a polling station in Tanzania on October 25, 2015. Credit: Monika Emch
Democratic elections are a fundamental way to peacefully resolve political competition. However, they are also high-stakes games where power is won and lost that can result in conflict and descend into violence. Although such violence affects all citizens, it has a particularly sinister impact on women. Since January alone, the world has seen politically active women stripped publically by police on their way to political and election events, decapitated and stabbed. Their vehicles have been damaged and their campaign materials destroyed. They are denigrated as “eye candy” and accused of having made sex tapes. Election officials and observers have faced violence in their work, and women voters are dismissed by the very parties seeking their votes with sexist language and jokes, or are banned from voting at all.
This year, at its annual Democracy Award Dinner to be held on Tuesday, November 10, in Washington, D.C., NDI will honor Tunisia’s democratic transition through the lense of four Tunisians who represent its government, parliament and civil society. The Democracy Award, NDI’s highest honor, is presented annually to individuals or organizations that have demonstrated a commitment to democracy and human rights.
Tunisians Yassine Brahim, Rafik Halouani, Wafa Makhlouf and Sayida Ounissi have been, among others, at the forefront of efforts to advance the democratic transition in their country, reflecting a new generation of democratic leaders. It is leaders from civil society, political parties and government, like those honored with this year’s Democracy Award, who are turning the promise of the Tunisian revolution into real improvement in the daily lives of citizens and make democracy succeed.
Plenary session of the LGBTI Political Leaders Conference.
“After Tegucigalpa, we will be a social movement,” declared Wilson Castañeda, the director LGBTI rights organization Caribe Afirmativo at the opening of the second annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) Political Leaders Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean. The gathering, held in the Honduran capital on October 2 and 3, brought together more than 300 LGBTI political leaders, activists and allies from across the region. Over two days of panels and workshops, participants discussed progress, challenges and best practices for increasing LGBTI communities’ political participation.
Every two years, the country chair of the Open Government Partnership hosts the OGP Global Summit, the largest gathering of open government practitioners from all over the world.
NDI will be joining leaders from NGOs, the private sector, academia, government, civil society, technologists, and other advocates at the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Summit. The three-day conference, which will be held this week in Mexico City, will convene sessions on a variety of topics, including creating and implementing action plans, engagement with the legislative branch, civil society and parliamentary partnerships, standards and frameworks for parliamentary transparency, Latin America regional updates and efforts on openness, and open election data principles.
Acción Ciudadana prepares observer kits and other materials for the second round quick count on October 25 in Guatemala. Credit: Acción Ciudadana
Today, 10 countries will hold elections around the world. From local contests to national races, runoff elections to constitutional referendums, no other day this year will have more elections. Civil society, primarily through nonpartisan citizen observers, has been actively monitoring these elections, helping to mitigate violence, deter fraud, impartially assess the processes and, when warranted, enhance public confidence. NDI is helping to build the capacity of citizen election observers in five of the 10 countries with elections on October 25:
Website design blueprint for redesigned NDItech blog.
On the NDItech team, one of our goals is to share what we learn and highlight the accomplishments of our partners. Our blog -- NDItech.org -- is our primary platform to accomplish that, but it is also a testing ground for improving the accessibility of online platforms across the Institute.