Transparency, accountability and citizen engagement are essential for an open society where democratic institutions support and empower citizens to shape society and take control over their lives. When governments are transparent, civil society can help ensure leaders are serving their people and not themselves. Hivos has invested for years in a broad portfolio of initiatives that use smart technologies, data and other innovative ways to exert local and global influence that leads to stronger citizen engagement and greater governmental and corporate accountability. As a result, we have gained many insights and learned lessons on how using different forms of technology and data can contribute to raising citizens’ voices. This dossier contains a range of in-depth publications and short articles on the successes and limitations of using technology and data to trigger social change.
Making All Voices Count
A great number of publications and articles in this dossier were produced during the Making All Voices Count programme, from 2014 until November 2017. Making All Voices Count is a partnership between Hivos, Ushahidi and IDS that supports effective and accountable governance in 11 countries in Africa and Asia. Together with our partners, we aim to create more meaningful interactions between government and citizens by using technology and data to make government more effective and accountable and improve public participation. The initiatives vary from using radio shows to educate rural South Africans about their legal system and rights to combining open data and social media tools to track public budgets in Nigeria. We do not consider technology and data as a silver bullet for social change, but it offers great opportunities to inform and mobilise citizens, if used in smart ways. This requires making strategic use of technology and data for evidence-based advocacy and public scrutiny, and to help citizens to make informed decisions and engage in the social and political affairs that most concern them.