Guest blog post: Fareed Zein is the Project Leader for the Sudan VoteMonitor project and Research Associate with the US-based Sudanese Institute for Research and Policy (SIRP). Email: email@example.com.
Sudan VoteMonitor is the latest successful Ushahidi implementation in Africa. It is a pilot project led by the Sudan Institute for Research and Policy (SIRP) and Asmaa Society for Development, in collaboration with other Sudanese civil society organizations (CSO’s), and supported by eMoksha (technical partners).
The purpose of this initiative was to utilize the Ushahidi platform to support the independent monitoring and reporting of Sudan’s first multi-party election in 26 years. This technology is particularly useful in Sudan, Africa’s largest country, where long distances and inadequate infrastructure posed a significant challenge to CSO’s. The spread of mobile communications throughout the country in recent years offered a unique and feasible opportunity to utilize SMS to overcome this challenge.
The site went live Aril 10, 2010 with web and SMS reporting in Sudan (in English and Arabic) to coincide with the start of the elections held April 11-16, 2010. Response was quite strong both inside and outside the country. It attracted wide interest from a variety of international organizations active in Sudan, as well as the local National Telecommunication Commission. The site was blocked inside Sudan for two days before it was permitted again, during which time the Ushahidi community worldwide was extremely supportive.
Election results are still being finalized, and the site continues to receive and publish reports. The team will be looking to leverage the experience gained to help support Sudan’s Civil Society Organizations in their future work. Feedback and ideas of the Ushahidi community are greatly appreciated.