Guinea Election: High-Tech Citizen Election Monitoring Promoted by Alliance Guinea
Written by Alliance Guinea on 14 June 2010
Guinea Vote 2010 Witness system using Ushahidi technology to go live Tuesday, June 15
New York, NY, June 13, 2010 – With less than two weeks to go before the first open, multi-party presidential elections in Guinea since independence, preparations for the June 27 vote are proceeding with unprecedented collaboration between state, civil society and international actors. Starting Tuesday, June 15, Guinea will have yet another tool to help these historic elections be as free and fair as possible. Civil and government groups will join cell phone companies and even Miss Guinea to launch Guinea Vote 2010 Witness (or GV10 Témoin in French).
“This system will surely contribute to making these elections more credible. Furthermore, it will turn every citizen into an active observer of the process,” says Thierno Seydou Bayo, Head of Communications for Guinea’s National Independent Election Commission (CENI).
“The use of GV10 Witness will allow people in Guinea and around the world to report on and follow election developments in real time, going a long way to helping this landmark vote be as transparent, peaceful and free as possible,” said Alliance Guinea co-founder Jennifer Swift-Morgan. “After decades of hoping for truly democratic rule in Guinea, the desire for a fair election runs deep. And this is evident in the range of groups working around the world to launch this cutting-edge election monitoring system.”
Alliance Guinea, a non-profit non-partisan coalition of Guineans and friends of Guinea, is working in partnership with the African Elections Project, the CENI and several other partners in Guinea with support from the US Embassy in Conakry and the country’s major telecommunications operators to deploy GV10 Witness using Ushahidi SMS- and internet-based technology. Ushahidi, which means “testimony” in Swahili, is an open source crowdsourcing platform first developed in Kenya during post-election violence in 2008. It has since been deployed in several countries around the world.
The GV10 Witness partners will announce the initiative at a press conference on Monday, June 14, 2010 at 11:00 in Guinea’s capital of Conakry at the CENI Communications Centre in the Coléah-Lanséboungni neighborhood. Miss Guinea will act as a spokesperson and promoter for the initiative.
The GV10 Witness system will serve as a tool to track election-related incidents such as violence, threats of violence, and election fraud. It will also elicit commentary and information related to campaign events, voter education, etc. Citizens and observers can use their cell phones or computers to send messages via SMS, email, and Twitter into the GV10 Witness platform. The messages will then be posted to the website http://www.GV10Temoin.org on a map of Guinea, organized by incident location and type of incident or report. People monitoring the elections – whether election administrators and observers, international media, civil society organizations or the general public – will then be able to follow developments on the site or through email updates.
Alliance Guinea will filter, code, and map reports online using a corps of volunteers who have signed up from around the world to support the initiative. Additional volunteers are encouraged to sign on through the organization’s website at http://www.AllianceGuinea.org.
Information reported to the GV10 Witness system will be used to spur investigative reporting, inform and catalyze dialogue around the elections both in country and across the world, and increase and inform international media coverage of this historic and critical transition. In addition, the system will serve as an important tool for election administrators and election security workers in Guinea to share information and respond quickly to any reports of malfeasance and violence.
To send a report to GV10 Witness, email firstname.lastname@example.org; tweet using the hashtags #guinee, #guineavotereport, or #guineaelections; or file a report using the form at www.GV10Temoin.org. Starting Tuesday June 15, people in Guinea will also be able to text in messages to 8008.