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Promote Digital Democracy

The digital world offers a significant opportunity to link more people to their governments, help politicians be responsive to citizens and make it easier for people to engage in the political process —equating to more transparent and resilient democracies around the world.

IRI’s digital democracy programming is focused on ensuring that the digital revolution supports democracy and democratic principles around the world. We help democratic governments, politicians, civil society organizations, and journalists use technology to empower citizens and increase democratic accountability; and we also help train and equip citizens and democratic institutions with the tools to defend against digital threats, misinformation, and digitally enabled authoritarianism.

Beacon Project: Media Monitoring in the Age of Disinformation

As the mouthpiece of democracy, promoting and protecting quality journalism and information sharing must be one of the key responses to the threats posed by hostile actors actively seeking to undermine, disrupt, or otherwise destabilize democratic societies. In support of this cause, IRI’s Beacon Project created >versus<, a proprietary ICT media monitoring tool, for its network of partners to use. Previously, many organizations relied on manual observation to collect data and lacked the resources to adequately monitor the vast information space. We developed >versus< with the aim of improving the efficiency and methodology of media monitors. Initially launched with a focus on Central Europe, the sources and language capabilities are continuing to expand as the Beacon Project’s network of practitioners increases.

Smart Governance in Central America

For the past six years, IRI has implemented Smart Governance programs throughout Central America. Our Smart Governance work promotes responsive, efficient, transparent, and inclusive governance within municipal governments facilitated using technology. In Antiguo Cuscatlán, El Salvador, IRI introduced open data solutions and crowdsourcing to create sustainable and reliable community networks for addressing public safety. The platform was locally owned and promoted a sense of co-responsibility regarding community safety among citizens and their government.

Collaborating with Guatemala’s San Carlos University, IRI trained journalists on how to track public spending using a national procurement portal to monitor reports and citizen complaints made to the Comptroller and Attorney General’s Office. The journalists then went on to publish their findings on Ojo Con Mi Pisto, Be Careful with My Money, a digital watchdog platform.

Cybersecurity Campaign Playbook

In an effort to share best practices with European partners ahead of the 2019 EU elections, IRI is partnering with Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center’s Defending Digital Democracy project (D3P) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) to adapt D3P’s Cybsercurity Campaign Playbook for a European audience. “The Cybersecurity Campaign Playbook: European Edition provides accessible guidance to confront the threats posed by cyberattacks to the integrity of democratic systems and values. 

Bridging the Gap Between the Digital and Physical Space in Morocco

Teaming up with Hit Radio, Morocco’s number one top 40 radio station, IRI conducted the “Hear My Voice,” civic education campaign which included a mobile video studio. Across six stops in six regions the caravan offered youth the opportunity to record video testimonials where they described their perspectives on elections and the issues that affect their communities as well as record questions for local political leaders. Hit Radio uploaded the videos to their social media channels such as YouTube, Instagram and their web portal for the campaign allowing candidates, political party members, and government officials to hear the priorities and perspectives of average citizens.

Connecting Elected Officials and Citizens Through SMS in Kenya

In 2015, IRI launched an SMS platform that allowed newly-formed county assemblies to connect with citizens and get their views and input on issues impacting communities across Kenya. Using the platform, County Assemblies Forum was able to send messages to its members, conduct surveys on issues of importance, and attain critical feedback to inform decisions impacting local communities such as service delivery and infrastructure improvements.

The generous support of individuals and corporations enable IRI staff and volunteers to carry out its mission around the world. With your help, IRI will continue its mission of hope for decades to come.

IRI is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Contributions are tax deductible

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