Monday, June 23, 2014

"Free, Fair and Facebook: Social Media Tracking of African Elections”


1st Annual African Elections Project Lectures          

"Free, Fair and Facebook: Social Media Tracking of African Elections”
Dr. Michael Best, professor at the Sam Nunn School International Affairs & School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology, USA

 June 30, 2014, at 5:30pm at New Media Hub, No 1 Otwe Close, Osu Ako Adjei, Accra 

 The use of social media and crowdsourcing platforms is exploding across the African continent, especially via mobile networks and featured handsets. Over the last five years we have been developing new software systems and organizational processes to monitor social media (from Facebook to Twitter, Google+, Ushahidi, Mixit, and more) to help ensure free and fair elections in Africa. Our Aggie social media aggregator and monitoring software has been deployed during the Nigerian, Liberian, Ghanaian, and Kenyan elections. These real-world election experiences have demonstrated a number of strengths to our approach including: (1) Meeting the electorate where they are.
 (2) Technological neutrality. 
(3) The need for working software that can handle high volumes of social media inputs.
 (4) And the value of embedding team members with core stakeholders, such as election commissions and security organizations. 

We have shown that social media is routinely out front of traditional media, police, formal observer missions, and electoral commission offices in the identification of events and problems.

In the recent Ekiti state election in Nigeria we integrated the Aggie platform with our mobile phone based field observation technology, called ELMO. This allowed - for the first time - unified monitoring between social media and formal observers, enabled through a single platform. In this pilot project we demonstrated that formal observers and social media compliment each other in interesting and powerful ways.

RSVP
info@penplusbytes.org
Tel : 0241995737
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Professor Michael L Best

Dr. Michael L. Best is associate professor at the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs and the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology where he is also research faculty with the GVU Center and directs the Technologies and International Development Lab. He is also a faculty associate of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. Professor Best is co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of the widely read journal, Information Technologies and International Development. He holds a Ph.D. from MIT and has served as director of Media Lab Asia in India and head of the eDevelopment group at the MIT Media Lab.

PenPlusBytes Organizes Data Journalism Training, Hackathon on Maternal Health

Each year thousands of women die from pregnancy and childbirth related complications, therefore there is an urgent need to throw more light on this challenge for corrective measures. In light of this situation International Institute of ICT Journalism (PenPlusBytes), is organizing a training workshop and hackathon on Data Journalism for Journalists at Ho in the Volta region from June 25th – June 27th, 2014, supported by STAR Ghana under the theme ‘Open Ghana: Data Journalism for Improved Maternal Healthcare Delivery’. It is aimed at building the capacity of Journalists with new, greater and more efficient ways of capturing and propagating issues bordering on maternal healthcare delivery and spending in the Volta region by exposing them to a more data-driven approach to their coverage. AMATSI, a data-driven story builder with online publishing features developed by PenPlusBytes will be launched during this event.

“With increased availability of data, journalists can now investigate and tell compelling data driven stories and this workshop and hackathon is coming at a time when Journalists are demanding skills and knowledge to enable them navigate data journalism space. It will expose them to available opportunities to play an essential role in helping to analyze and digest all maternal health related information through the practice of data-driven journalism, while presenting the media with an effective avenue to have a notable impact on human development by equipping them with the ability to make sense of data for citizens” says Kwami Ahiabenu, II, President of PenPlusBytes.

Data Journalism provides opportunities for journalists to tell exciting stories backed by evidence. Producing data driven stories has gained greater currency with growing availability of open data that is freely available online and analyzed with user friendly tools. In covering maternal health issues, data driven journalism can help journalists put this important societal issues on the center table. Data is indeed rapidly exploding in quantities far vaster than the capacity of civil society, commercial entities, and individual citizens to make sense of it. Data Journalism Training, Hackathon on Maternal Health is therefore, in response to the need to bridge existing gaps in Data-driven story telling skills and knowledge of maternal health issues. Excited by the opportunity to build his capacity, the GNA’s Kafui Kanyi describes the upcoming workshop as an opportune one. “I expect to acquire more skills and techniques on how to easily access data, process it and convey it in a manner that enhances my stories” he said.

END NOTES
Established in 2001, PenPlusBytes is a leading organization in Africa working in 3 areas: governance and accountability, new media and innovations as well as oil, gas and mining. STAR-Ghana is a multi- donor pooled funding mechanism (Funded by DFID, DANIDA, EU and USAID) to increase the influence of civil society and Parliament in the governance of public goods and service delivery, with the ultimate goal of improving the accountability and responsiveness of Ghana’s government, traditional authorities and the private sector.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Lecture "Managing Windfall Wealth: How Oil Resources Can Generate Development Rather Than Decay". Prof. Larry Diamond


INVITATION TO A PUBLIC LECTURE ON THE TOPIC "MANAGING WINDFALL WEALTH: HOW  OIL RESOURCES CAN GENERATE DEVELOPMENT RATHER THAN DECAY" FEATURING PROFESSOR LARRY DIAMOND OF STANFORD UNIVERSITY



The Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), in collaboration with the Africa Center for Energy Policy (ACEP), is pleased to invite you to
a public lecture on the topic "Managing Windfall Wealth: How Oil Resources Can Generate Development Rather Than Decay". The lecture will feature
Professor Larry Diamond of Hoover Institution, Stanford University (USA) and Dr. Mohammed Amin of ACEP as discussant. The event, which is scheduled for
Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 10:00am, will take place at the Coconut Grove Hotel, Accra.



Professor Diamond's lecture will analyze the opportunities and challenges oil, gas and other "windfall" wealth present to late developing nations,
and review strategies for ensuring that such resources are managed accountably and "developmentally. (Please see below a short synopsis on
the topic and a bio of the speaker)



Participants invited for the public lecture include government representatives, industry players, researchers, academics, policymakers,
business leaders, civil society activists, and political party representatives. CDD-Ghana and ACEP will be very grateful if you can join us
for this discussion. 


CDD-Ghana/ACEP Public Lecture on the Theme:
"Managing Windfall Wealth: How Oil Resources Can Generate Development Rather Than Decay".
Guest Lecturer: Prof. Larry Diamond
Date: Wednesday June 25, 2014
Abstract
A massive wave of new oil and gas discoveries has the potential to generate substantial growth and development in Africa over the next decade. However, if the "resource curse" plays out as it usually does, this new oil boom will only serve to distort development, entrench authoritarian rule and inhibit democracy. Professor Diamond's lecture will analyze the opportunities and challenges presented to developing nations by oil, gas and other "windfall" wealth, and explore strategic options for securing accountable and "developmental" governance of such resources.
Bio of Speaker
Professor Larry Diamond is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, where he also directs the Center for Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law. He is the founding co-editor of the Journal of Democracy and also serves as Senior Consultant at the International Forum for Democratic Studies of the National Endowment for Democracy. During 2002–3, he served as a consultant to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and was a contributing author of its report Foreign Aid in the National Interest. He has also advised and lectured to the World Bank, the United Nations, the US State Department, and other governmental and nongovernmental agencies dealing with governance and development.
At Stanford University, Prof. Larry Diamond is also professor by courtesy of political science and sociology. He teaches courses on comparative democratic development and democracy promotion, and advises many Stanford students. In May 2007, he was named "Teacher of the Year" by the Associated Students of Stanford University for teaching that "transcends political and ideological barriers." At the June 2007 Commencement ceremony, Prof. Diamond was honored by Stanford University with the Dinkelspiel Award for Distinctive Contributions to Undergraduate Education. He was cited, inter alia, for fostering dialogue between Jewish and Muslim students; for "his inspired teaching and commitment to undergraduate education; for the example he sets as a scholar and public intellectual, sharing his passion for democratization, peaceful transitions, and the idea that each of us can contribute to making the world a better place; and for helping make Stanford an ideal place for undergraduates."
Professor Diamond has published widely on the problems and conditions of democratic development around the world. Among his books are The Spirit of Democracy: the Struggle to Build Free Societies throughout the World (2008), Developing Democracy: Toward Consolidation (1999), Promoting Democracy in the 1990s (1995), and Class, Ethnicity, and Democracy in Nigeria (1989). He edited the 1989-90 series Democracy in Developing Countries, with Juan Linz and Seymour Martin Lipset. He has also edited or co-edited some 40 other books on democracy, including the recent titles Democratization and Authoritarianism in the Arab World; Clientelism, Social Policy, and the Quality of Democracy; Liberation Technology: Social Media and the Struggle for Democracy; and Democratization in Africa.
Prof. Diamond is a longstanding associate of the Ghana Center for Democratic (CDD-Ghana). He delivered CDD-Ghana's maiden Kronti ne Akwamu (Democracy and Governance) Lecture in 2005 on the topic: "Democracy and Development: The Inseparable Links".

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International Institute for ICT Journalism
www.penplusbytes.org

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

New Media Hub to Drive Innovation in Ghana's Non Profit Sector

A stakeholders’ consultation on sharing ideas and insights on how organisations especially non-profits can maximise the use, innovation and impact of new digital technologies for greater impact took place on 17th June, 2014 at  New Media Hub located at No. 1 Ostwe close, Ako Adjei Osu, near Osu Ako Adjei.



The New Media Hub is an Accra-based innovation hub run by Penplusbytes supports non-profits and CSOs to achieve greater innovation and creative impact in their work using new digital technologies. The Hub aims at stimulating non-profits, CSO, media and journalist to apply innovative technology tools such as mobile apps, social media tools, software and online tools among others to transform their work. Providing a more effective and efficient avenue for content creation, publishing, digital distribution and consumption via internet-enabled digital devices, ICT has enhanced media and journalism work with increased audience and citizen participation by making available an easy way for users to collaborate, share documents and data with others.

This has indeed helped in speeding up the rate at which ideas are generated, processed and utilized with consequential value of a far richer and more engaging arena for social action and development. ICT has made exchange of ideas between communicators and receivers easy hence making the communication process people centered.

NGOs are turning to the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to ensure more effective ways of planning and executing their programmes, engaging people, in establishing networks and in disseminating information about their activities. Advanced ICT has increased NGO’s ability to mobilize information strategically to help to create new issues, to persuade, apply pressure and gain leverage. The tremendous prospect for driving more advanced usage of technology among NGOs would impact on their abilities to meet their strategic objectives

During this stakeholders’ consultation, participants drawn from civil society organization, NGOs (local and international), ICT, media, government Agencies, donor groups and the general public (beneficiaries) will share their experiences, challenges and opportunities in the use of ICT and new media and discuss the current technology and innovation needs of their organization and their sector as whole.  The new media hub is a state of the art multi-functional new digital technological space, networking people, stimulating innovations and accelerating technology solutions to make dividends of democracy more tangible.
   
END NOTES
Established in 2001, Penplusbytes is a leading organization in Africa working in 3 areas: governance and accountability, new media and innovations as well as oil, gas and mining. It consists of a network of media organizations and journalists interested in using ICTs to effectively advance high quality journalism. The organisation has trained hundreds of journalists and civil society actors from various parts of Africa and across the globe in cutting edge new media technologies, governance and accountability and extractives sector.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Understanding Data: Can News Media Rise to the Challenge?

CIMA is pleased to release Understanding Data: Can News media Rise to the Challenge? by Tara Susman-PeƱa, senior research officer for the Internews Center for Innovation and Learning.

Worldwide, data in digital form is being produced at a dizzying pace, not only by governments, academic institutions, and private enterprises gathering it for their own uses but also as a by-product of millions of routine interactions on computers, cellphones, GPS devices, and other digital tools. Data is rapidly exploding in quantities far vaster than the capacity of civil society, commercial entities, and individual citizens to make sense of it.

This presents an opportunity for news media to play an important role in helping to analyze and digest all this information through the practice of data journalism, also referred to as "computer-assisted reporting," "data-driven journalism," or "precision journalism." It also presents an opportunity for the media development sector to have a notable impact on human development by equipping journalists and media institutions with the ability to make sense of data for citizens. The report examines the implications of the rise of data journalism for the media development field.

Download a listing of data journalism resources compiled by IJNET and GIJN.

Download the full report here. 



http://cima.ned.org/publications/understanding-data-can-news-media-rise-challenge#sthash.6jx2KWxM.dpuf 

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International Institute for ICT Journalism
www.penplusbytes.org

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

5th Training Programme For Reporting On Oil, Gas, And Mining Opens In Uganda

The 5th training program for 30 journalists working in oil, gas and mining sectors drawn from Ghana, Uganda and Tanzania opens in Uganda with the key goal of introducing journalists who cover the extractive industry to the critical issues surrounding the exploitation, management, and utilization of oil, gas, and mineral resources in their countries, enriched with a global perspective.
Under the theme “Strengthening Media Oversight of the Extractive Sectors: REPORTING ON OIL, GAS, AND MINING”,  the 10 day training program will run from the 4th to 13th June 2014 at Africa Centre for  Media Excellence (ACME), Kampala, Uganda organised by Revenue Watch Institute, in conjunction with Penplusbytes, GHANA, ACME, Uganda and Journalists Environmental Association (JET) of Tanzania .
The training course will introduce the participants to the fundamental issues concerning the exploitation, utilization, benefits, and challenges of oil, gas, and mineral resources. It is designed to help journalists develop the knowledge and skills to stimulate and feed public debate on how best to ensure that the proceeds from natural resources are used to serve the interests of a country and its citizens.
This training programme begun in 2011 by RWI, Penplusbytes and other partners with the aim of increasing the quantity and quality of oil and gas stories and has so far built the capacity of about 70 journalists to enable them play the critical role of helping inform and engage citizens, CSOs and parliament to effectively hold government and companies in the sector accountable.
Kwami Ahiabenu II, President of Penplusbytes, prior to his departure for Uganda from Accra said, “the extractive sector revenues are important for wealth creation and poverty reduction in Africa. However, this promise can only be realized if all stakeholders especially the media are given the capacity to play an oversight role and we are delighted that this week in Kampala, we are going to support the knowledge and skills set of 30 journalists to enable them play this crucial role effectively”
Journalists from Ghana participating in this training programme are Sheila Aklamanu Williams, Senior Reporter, Business Day; Adams Kodjo, Reporter, Ghana News Agency; Adu Koranteng, Business Reporter, The New Crusading Guide; Dominic Hlordzi, Senior Editor/Assistant Manager (Radio), Ghana Broadcasting Corporation; Isaac Robert Aidoo, Reporter/Deputy Editor, The Finder Newspaper; Kofi Adu Domfeh, Reporter, Luv FM;
The other participants are Malise Oblitey Otoo, Reporter, Spy News Agency; Mark Kwabena Boye; Senior Reporter, The Enquirer Newspaper; Marlvin James Dadzie, Reporter, The New Crusading Guide and Richard Annerquaye Abbey, Reporter, Business & Financial Times

“This training programme has been an eye opener especially for journalists coming from the northern sector of Ghana and has broadened our horizon particularly on activities at the downstream of the oil and gas industry and how we as journalists can engage stakeholders play the advocacy role in ensuring revenues from the sector can benefit all citizens as well as providing linkages for indigenous enterprises to provide local content for the industry.” Kofi Adu Domfeh, Reporter, Luv FM, Kumasi.
Revenues generated from oil gas and mining could improve health care and education for the poor, and serve as a catalyst for economic growth if journalists are able to play an effective advocacy and oversight role over the sector and this training seeks to achieve this goal.

END NOTES
Established in 2001, Penplusbytes is a leading organization in Africa working in 3 areas: governance and accountability, new media and innovations as well as oil, gas and mining. It consists of a network of media organizations and journalists interested in using ICTs to effectively advance high quality journalism. The organisation has trained hundreds of journalists and civil society actors from various parts of Africa and across the globe in cutting edge new media technologies, governance and accountability and extractives sector.

The Revenue Watch Institute is a non-profit policy institute and grantmaking organization that promotes the effective, transparent and accountable management of oil, gas and mineral resources for the public good. Through capacity building, technical assistance, research and advocacy, RWI help countries realize the development benefits of their natural resource wealth.