Civic Tech in Nigeria: What works?

Oluwaseun Akinfolarin

18 Apr 2018, 4:30 p.m.
Auditorium 2

No doubt civic technology is changing the way Nigerian citizens engage with Government but despite many attempts to intensify this engagement using civic tech tools many still haven’t gotten impressive results.

This paper used Tracker a civic tech tool as a case study to explore the impact of civic tech tools in Nigeria in fostering public participation in governance. It sought to understand if civic tech tools have truly succeeded.

Companies like BudgIt and Connected Development have made the web and social media platforms to affect the agenda people react to. Some of these civic organisations have gone ahead to develop reporting and data sharing platforms in order to digitise transparency, accountability and public participation in governance. How effective have these civic tech tools been? Have they been more effective than grassroots advocacy.

Through in-depth interviews with tracker staff, a survey of a community that staff of Tracker have worked with and user data analysis of its mobile application, this study discovered that there is a low adoption rate for civic tech tools in Nigeria. However, the low adoption rate isn’t because of the usual technical challenges that are unique to areas with poor internet connectivity or low disposable incomes rather a poor approximation to natural use.

Tracker works principally in rural areas, where constituency projects have been commissioned. Broadband internet delivery is inaccessible to these communities. Consequently, its habitats are not able to report on project updates using the application.

The study was hinged on the following objectives: - To determine the adoption rate of civic tech tools in Nigeria by using tracker as a case study.

  • To determine if these tools make the government more accountable to their constituents.

  • To determine if advocacy alone can bring about transparency and participation in governance.

View the Q&A for this session here.

Video

Slides

Civic Tech in Nigeria: What works? (Oluwaseun Akinfolarin - Civic Media Lab) from mysociety