Civil society in French‑speaking Africa – journalists, activists and association leaders – is increasingly committed to taking advantage of the new opportunities offered by the development of digital tools and the trend of open data supported by a number of States in order to achieve clearer and more effective public action.
This growing commitment led CFI to launch the original Citizen Connections project in 2016 to help fifteen young people from French‑speaking Africa develop their digital citizens' projects. The training not only developed each beneficiary's skills – it also led to the creation of a community involved in disseminating the civic tech culture.
Digital tools are now available to help young active citizens take action. However, they still lack sufficient knowledge and an ecosystem to sustainably realise and share their initiatives, which is why Citizen Connections II is proposing to contribute to youth participation and citizen control of public action by promoting civic tech knowledge while enhancing the ability of stakeholders to implement and promote their initiatives. It is also an inclusive project with a strong ambition to promote gender equality.
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- Young people providing digital citizens' solutions
- The potential civic tech user and producer base that is online in the target countries
- Public authorities, the media and civil society organisations (CSOs)
- People in the target countries receiving the civic tech
Launch and delivery of a massive open online course (MOOC) dedicated to digital citizen-action projects in French speaking Africa (civic tech)
- The course will be free and open to everyone. For six weeks, daily access to a new subject module with videos, resources and a quiz with the option to interact with other participants.
- The first session for this MOOC will be launched in October 2020 with the second following in autumn 2021.
Citizen Connections: more than 500 applications receivedJanuary 8, 2021
Project support and development for 50 project leaders
At the end of each of the two MOOC sessions, anybody leading a civic tech project in French‑speaking Africa aged 18 to 35 will be invited to apply to participate in the Citizen Connections incubation programme.
Particular attention will be given to projects that are led by women or tackle gender-related issues. The 8-month programme will include three week‑long collective incubation sessions in Paris and French‑speaking Africa and a local incubator and a mentor will also provide two days of support per month to help participants to develop their projects as they see fit.
A panel will convene at the end of the programme to award start-up funding to the projects it deems worthy. A first wave of 25 project leaders will be selected in spring 2021, followed by a second wave in spring 2022.
Organisation of two conferences and development of an online civic tech community
- Activities will also be organised in many countries.
- The goal is to help create an environment in French speaking Africa in which existing ideas and experiences are valued in order to stimulate cooperation among civic tech stakeholders in those countries (project leaders, experts, public authority representatives, donors, investors, CSOs and media outlets).