Civic tech innovation network (2018)
- Jesse Harber
How can new technologies improve governance and accountability? How can we bridge digital divides and support service delivery? How can new technologies be used to monitor or provide feedback to government? How can they make cities work better? These are all questions about ‘civic tech’.
There are many initiatives in South Africa that are working on these questions, and working towards solutions. The National Treasury recently launched municipalmoney.gov.za that publishes information on local government budgets and spending. One of the oldest social justice organisations in South Africa, Black Sash, has developed new approaches to local community monitoring of government services. Some cities have started open data portals. Codebridge in Cape Town, the new Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct in Johannesburg, and other tech hubs are supporting this work.
There are many innovations and many innovators — in the public sector, in civil society organisations, in tech hubs, and elsewhere. This project was motivated by the belief that there’s an opportunity to extend and improve how we share experience and ideas, distribute research, and strengthen the links between innovators, researchers and others, in order to make innovations work better and spread further.
The Civic Tech Innovation Network works to bring together a community of practitioners — from public and private sector — to promote quicker, smarter innovation that enables accountability, governance, and citizen participation.
The Network was initiated by the Network Society programme at the University of the Witwatersrand and GCRO, with Making All Voices Count. As of 2018, GCRO has stepped back from the initiative because Jesse Harber, one of the key movers behind the project, left to take up a PhD opportunity in the UK. However, the network lives on. See the website here. You can continue to participate in the network, or follow its activities, through subscribing to the newsletter, reading our Medium.com publication, contributing on our Facebook page and following us on Twitter (@CivicTechAfrica).
Last updated 17 August 2019