Programmes & Projects | Mapping for Peace and Accountability: Crowdsourcing and Data Visualization for Nepal Elections 2013

Mapping for Peace and Accountability: Crowdsourcing and Data Visualization for Nepal Elections 2013

Executive Summary

  • Timing: September 1 to December 31, 2013
  • Website: www.nepalelection2013.org
  • Project Management tools: https://basecamp.com (online project management software)
  • Implementing agency: Local Interventions Group (Kathmandu) and technical support and design sub-contracted to Citivox (now D4), a world-leading civic engagement technology provider.

Problems Addressed

  • Mistrust amongst parties is widespread, the administration of elections is somewhat politicized, citizens have low knowledge level about election administration, and electoral malpractices and allegations thereof are common.
  • Individual voters, the greatest source of eye-witness reports both inside and outside of polling stations, have no way to report what is happening on the ground and contribute to the electoral process.
  • Reports from accredited observers are not made public in a timely fashion and with sufficient detail.

Proposed Solution

  • An online reporting platform that collects detailed information from observers, journalists, and individual voters.
  • A citizen report engine (crowdsourcing platform) that involves citizens directly in auditing electoral processes by anonymously reporting eye-witness election-related incidents to a centralized web-based platform (Ushahidi-like setup).
  • A Positive Events category in a separate layer on the online map documenting all the good practices of parties/candidates, ECN, citizen initiatives etc.

Project Objective

  • Facilitate citizen participation through public platforms based on User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) expertise.
  • Anchoring civil society engagement in the electoral process by allowing observers to use the platform for reporting incidents.
  • Understand the comprehensive status of the election progress throughout the country with a real-time dashboard.
  • Understand patterns and make decisions based on the findings of early-warning data relating to violations of code of conduct and other pre-election incidents.
  • Reduce the conversational gap between the ECN and citizens through the integration of web, email, SMS, free-phone, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube media channels.

Intended beneficiaries

  • Individual voters and citizens as it increases the participatory nature of the elections – core tenet of democratic practice;
  • Election observation organizations to get real time updates from the field;
  • Politicians &candidates to monitor their constituencies in real time by opening an avenue of direct “People to Politicians” communication channel;
  • Nepal Police for early warning system & predictive smart policing based on incident patterns;
  • Election Commission for enhanced management;
  • International Communities of Practice by using early data to demand accountability from political parties;

Coordination with stakeholders

Domestic election observer group Democracy and Elections Watch (DEW) will mobilize all of their 6000 observers to send in reports and verify citizen reports whenever possible.

Domestic election observer group National Election Observation Committee (NEOC) will mobilize all of their 10,000 observers to send in reports and verify citizen reports whenever possible.

Domestic election observer group General Election Observation Committee (GEOC) will mobilize all of their 2300 observers to send in reports and verify citizen reports whenever possible.

Domestic election observer groupConstituent Assembly Election Observation Joint Forum (CAEOF)will mobilize all of their observers to send in reports and verify citizen reports whenever possible.

Domestic election observer group Election Observation Committee Nepal (EOC-NEPAL) will mobilize all of their observers to send in reports and verify citizen reports whenever possible.

Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) will contribute to the crowdsourcing platform by sending in incident reports through SMS and verify citizen reports whenever possible.

Political Parties, already informed about the crowdsourcing project and in follow-up to the Salon 1.0 event held on February 1, 2013 in Kathmandu, will be informed about the crowdsourcing platform during Salon 2.0 event and warn them that people will be watching them and reporting too.

Election Commission of Nepal has already agreed to assist the crowdsourcing platform and we will encourage them to use the information generated by it. The CS platform will also put pressure on the ECN to perform better.

Security apparatus, Nepal Police and Armed Police have already been informed about the CS platform and we will be sharing the data with both entities to facilitate them for an early warning system and response.

Discussion ongoing with Nepal Bar Association and Nepal Law Society to provide them with information about the methodology and the usefulness of the CS platform for expeditiously processing election-related claims.

NDI will engage comprehensively. Progressive discussions with Int’l IDEA, European Union, IFES, and Carter Center HQ Atlanta to incentivize sponsored NGOs to actively engage with the CS platform.

Qatar Computing Research Institute to develop machine-learningmodules that would automatically classify election-related reports into malpractice categories.This is part of an ongoing initiative by Dr. Patrick Meier and Dr. Sjoberg titled ‘Artificial Intelligence for Monitoring Elections (AIME)’.

Progressive discussions with INTERNEWS on major collaboration. INTERNEWS executed Crowdsourcing platform together with D4 (formerly Citivox) in Ukraine’s October 2012 elections. Dr. Sjoberg is currently working with an INTERNEWS funded crowdsourcing project in Azerbaijan.

TECHNICAL DETAILS

  • Front-End Engine / Website
    • Needs assessment
    • Public report site with map, statistics, reports, report list, stats and CMS website to publish news and press releases around the election
    • Facebook report input app
    • Public Mobile App for Android and iOS
    • Post-Election results website: Total reports, most frequent categories and participation level across the country
  • Back-End Engine
    • Integration of web, email, SMS, Facebook, Twitter, media input channels
    • Integration of mobile input channels - android and iOs apps
    • Dashboard Module/ General view of the project with real time infographics
    • Reports Module/ create, delete and update reports
    • Conversation Module/ open communication with the citizens through email
    • Twitter Discovery Module/ Monitoring of tweets from a hashtag to facilitate the creation citizen reports
    • SMS Module/ Integration of Local SMS Gateway for receiving, and managing sms communications
    • Security/ Https Navigation, Real-Time Backups, Reputation-based threat protection, Comment spam protection,
    • Content scraping protection, Block visitors by IP range or country
  • Training and Operations Protocol
    • Citizen reporting mapping introduction - (4hrs)
    • Project operations protocols and process definition - with project leads (24hrs)
    • Response & communications protocols, strategy and message building - with project leads (24hrs)
    • Monitoring and evaluation metrics definition and deployment, 2 X (2hrs), 1 post-deploy (2hrs)
    • Security and emergency protocol definitions and deployment, 2 on-site (2hrs), 1 deployment (2hrs)
    • General introduction training for operational staff (team leaders, report analysts, report receivers, supervisors and key report follow--up counterparts) 1 x (4hrs) and 1 deployment session (4hrs)
    • Role-specific training of operational staff (team leaders, report analysts, report receivers, supervisors and key report follow-up counterparts) 1 x (4hrs) and 1 deployment session (4hrs)
    • Deployment readiness assessment and training – with team leaders - 1 x Deployment Session (1 Day)
  • DATA MANAGEMENT (OPEN DATA)

    Under the organization’s open data policy, LIG will make all crowd-sourced data available to election communities of practice at no cost. LIG will however request organizations requiring customized data to incur the costs associated.

    Sustainability

    www.openpoliticsnepal.org
    To make politics more open and participatory, this domain is a follow-up project to CS where information relating to all elected candidates will be made available after the elections results are out. A page for each of the proposed 491 elected candidates will detail information on their election pledges; policies they work for and lobby for during their time at the parliament; their affiliations to parliamentary committees; any public notices they issue; blogs and articles by them and about them; and direct public comments from their constituency members and voters, etc.