How does Uchaguzi Work?

How does Uchaguzi Work

If you’d like to know more about the Uchaguzi project, find it on the about page. In short, Uchaguzi is an Ushahidi deployment to monitor the Kenyan general election on March 4th 2013. Our aim is to help Kenya have a free, fair, peaceful, and credible general election. Uchaguzi‚Äôs strategy for this is to contribute to stability in Kenya by increasing transparency and accountability through active citizen participation in the electoral cycles.This strategy is implemented through building a broad network of civil society around Uchaguzi as the national citizen centred electoral observation platform that responds to citizen observations.

The Nuts and Bolts

There have been over 200 people in Kenya and globally who are managing the flow of information from the public, election monitors, media sources and social media to the Uchaguzi project. That doesn’t happen without a lot of preparation, training and an organization plan.

The public can send messages directly to us via SMS by sending a message to 3002, by email to reports.uchaguzi@gmail.com, on Twitter by using the #Uchaguzi hashtag, or through the web form. There is also a media monitoring team who scans Twitter, Facebook, blogs, mainstream media and other sources for any other information that can become a report in the system. You can see the anatomy of a report here.

The Teams

The core of the system is in the volunteer teams managing the information. Each of the teams coordinates and works simultaneously and has a co-lead in Kenya and globally, since we’re not bounded by borders for this type of work.

There are 8 digital teams.

  1. SMS
  2. Media monitoring
  3. Translation
  4. Geolocation
  5. Verification
  6. Reports
  7. Analysis and Research
  8. Tech

The Information Flow

As information comes in, it follows a specific path:

The flow of information is important, as it allows us to sift the signal from the noise, and there’s a lot of noise before and during the elections. It’s important that we get the important and urgent information seen, approved, and reported, then verified and acted upon as quickly as possible. To this end, our teams can only take information as far as verification, the acting upon that information happens through our channels of communication to the appropriate authorities.

Three key components

  1. Crowd: the main focus of Uchaguzi and the source of most of the reports. We want people to send us any information on the election/electoral process that they feel is significant and we’ve done a lot of messaging outbound to the public so that they’re aware of how, and what, to report to Uchaguzi.
  2. Verification: the process through which Uchaguzi evaluates information and determines how credible it is. This uses our partners with personnel who blanket the country.
  3. Response: Getting verified information to organizations and individuals who can intervene positively and monitoring that response to measure its effectiveness. Specifically, this means the IEBC and the Police.