Keeping an eye on parliament

As many of our readers will know, one of Indigo’s prime areas of work concerns the transparency, accountability and effectiveness of elected officials. All countries have their fair share of problems when it comes to keeping parliamentarians in line: whether we’re talking about abuse of expenses, misuse of constituency development funds or dodgy contracts for goods and services, not a week goes by without a new scandal in one parliament or another. That’s why Indigo supports a range of projects and organisations supporting and promoting greater transparency and accountability in parliaments. Here’s a run-down of our grants in this area in no particular order:

Magilatech: A Tanzanian start-up pioneering an innovative approach to parliamentary information. The idea is a voice service that citizens can call through any mobile phone to listen live to parliamentary debates. Citizens will also be able to voice their own opinions on the matters under discussion through voice messages. The service is designed to be free of charge to the end user, meaning that cost need not be a barrier to use.

mySociety: A UK-based organisation supporting parliamentary information projects – among other things – around the world. We have worked with them for a number of years, in recent times specifically to support their work with African organisations.

Livity Africa: Working in the South African parliament, Livity installed a team of youth reporters in and around parliament who, working closely with Parliamentary Monitoring Group (another Indigo grantee), were responsible for capturing and reporting key parliamentary highlights and turning them into youth-relevant/youth-friendly content. The content has been featured across all Livity’s platforms, including their YouTube channel.

Mzalendo: Kenya’s premier independent parliamentary information site, Mzalendo allows users to find their MPs, look at the allocations of constituency development funds and read Hansard transcripts of parliamentary debates and access the constitution.

Odekro: Ghanaian parliamentary monitoring site Odekro aims to ‘promote transparency, provide online access to public records and empower citizens to keep an eye on public officials, especially parliament.’

SimSim Participation Citoyenne: SimSim’s goal is to promote greater discussion between Morocco’s voters and their politicians through the Nouabook platform. It provides citizens with a simple and transparent way of reaching their representatives and asking the questions that matter to them.

Parliamentary Monitoring Group: Having worked on parliamentary transparency for a long time, People’s Assembly was PMG’s big foray into increased citizen-parliamentarian dialogue. With features such as a Rep Locator, a bill tracker and a complete list of all parliamentarians, the site is a one-stop shop for all parliamentary information in South Africa.