UCHAGUZI | Inside The Situation Room

This article was originally posted here.

Uchaguzi mobilises citizens to be directly involved in protecting their vote and electoral process. The aim of Uchaguzi Kenya 2013 is to help Kenya have a free, fair, peaceful, and credible general election in 2013. You can find out more about Uchaguzi here.
The Uchaguzi Situation Room is based at the iHub.

For several months, Uchaguzi held community meet ups that helped form the platform and the strategy. Since then digital humanitarians have stepped up to help running the platform and help processing messages throughout the election season.

The Situation Room has been a buzz of activity. There has been a steady flow of citizen reports sent to the platform via SMS short code 3002. Other citizen reports have been picked up from social media.

The SMS and Media Monitoring teams have picked up these messages.The Translation Team is working closely with the SMS and Media Monitoring teams to ensure that all reports are translated into English.

The Geolocation Team is reviewing all reports and pegged on information in these reports, searching for locations and mapping the reports.

The Reports Team is in charge of approval and editing. They determine which reports are fit to appear on the map. They determine this by confirming that a report has been geolocated and translated. They categorise reports, for example, is it a polling station issue or a security issue?

The Verification Team made largely of CRECO officials, is in charge of information triangulation and verification of reports. They are working to ensure that feedback and response occurs for critical and urgent items. They are also working to confirm and corroborate reports using other reports and mainstream media.

The Research and Analysis team is in charge of analysing information received in the platform, and providing situation room reports. They are working very closely with project coordinators and communications officers. You can view their reports here.

Verified information is being escalated to organisations and individuals who can intervene positively, in particlular, the IEBC and the Kenya Police.

Here is the information flow.
Uchaguzi Kenya workflow

The situation room has four television screens each tuned to a different news station. We are able to compare what we are getting from the ground with what is being reported in the mainstream media.

The team of incredible digital humanitarians have organized themselves in shifts to ensure that the reporting process continues at all levels regardless of the time of day or night.

There are over 200 digital humanitarians. While majority of them are based in Kenya, we also have help from digital humanitarians from as far as USA, New Zealand and Mexico. This global reach has ensured that reports are indeed processed round the clock.

The Situation Room is proud to host friends of Ushahidi from Nigeria and Cameroon here to offer advice on running an election deployment as well as learn from the Kenyan election.

Jean Brice Tetka joined us at the Uchaguzi Situation Room from Cameroon where he works for Anti Corruption Cameroon, an organization which specialises in the fight against corruption. Jean has been involved in Ushahidi deployments to monitor elections in Cameroon and in Gabon and is currently using Ushahidi as one of the tools to fight corruption in the Health Sector. Jean is part of the Anaylsis Team for the Uchaguzi Kenya 2013 deployment.

Yemi Adamolekun joined us from Nigeria where she serves as Executive Director at Enough is Enough Nigeria an organisation working for good governance and public accountability in Nigeria. Yemi was part of the team that deployed the very successful Reclaim Naija a broad based national platform for popular, grassroots engagement in promoting electoral transparency and democratic government. Yemi is part of the Media Monitoring and Reports team for the Uchaguzi Kenya 2013 deployment.

Egghead Odewale joined us from Nigeria and is a fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society. Egghead is well known for his work on human rights, governance and political processes, regional integration and human security (security sector governance and architecture). Egghead was also part of the Reclaim Naija Team. He too is part of the Media Monitoring and Reports team for the Uchaguzi Kenya 2013 deployment.

The Situation Room has been opened all day and all night and this will continue until all election results are in and probably for a couple of days after that. You can keep up to speed on what is happening in the Situation Room here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *