Citizen Feedback through Technology – How to get it right

The results of projects utilising digital citizen feedback platforms can at times be disappointing. It can be difficult to receive reports from citizens and to ensure that duty bearers (individuals or organisations responsible for service delivery-often government officials or departments) are responsive to them. The Indigo Trust had a conversation with a selection of its grantees in order to ascertain factors which may contribute towards their success.

Understanding context was found to be critical in developing a strong project. There is a need to use appropriate technology and to understand and address the barriers which result in low report numbers. There is also a need to ensure that duty bearers are willing and able to resolve reports. For this to happen, it is critical that strong relationships are established between community members and duty bearers, sometimes through intermediaries. Adequate training and promotion must be built into projects and it is critical that the use of tech platforms are integrated into well devised offline programmes.

Funders can help implementing organisations by allowing flexibility (ideally through core funding), thinking beyond ICTs towards community engagement, understanding the challenges of replication and scaling in different contexts, allowing for innovation, being patient and realistic when considering impact, giving smaller organisations a chance and helping organisations establish relevant partnerships.

Loren’s recent Huffington Post article can be found here, while the full report is available for download or viewing over on SlideShare.