August 2019 – September 2022
Assisting with the emergence of digital citizen-action projects
As civil society in Africa is increasingly active in the pursuit of effective and transparent public action, it requires sufficient knowledge and the right ecosystem to sustainably realise and share its initiatives.
August 2019 – September 2022
Thanks to funding provided by the French Development Agency (AFD), Citizen Connections 2 was launched in 2020. This project harnesses information and communication technology (ICT) to help reduce the digital divide between men and women, encourage young people to engage in civic matters, and give citizens greater control of public initiatives. This three-year project, which is aimed at the whole of French-speaking Africa, supports the emergence of a community sharing digital and citizen-focused solutions on the continent.
The first part of 2020 was spent finalising a remote training tool – the Citizen Connections MOOC* – and preparing a mass communication campaign which was launched in late September 2020. The two-month campaign was covered by more than 35 national and international media organisations, including France 24, RFI and TV5 Monde, with additional promotion on social media. The campaign led to around 5,000 young people from 22 countries across Northwest and sub-Saharan Africa registering for the MOOC, more than 800 of which gained certification. Thirty freely accessible online video clips presented by fifteen European and African experts raised awareness of the issues and opportunities arising from CivicTech** among this wide audience. While students accounted for a third of those registered, the MOOC was also popular among members of civil society, the media and public authorities, who represented almost half of the registered participants.
« “A great learning experience that gave me the tools to be useful in my community and develop democracy through digital technology. »
Carine Désirée Yao, an Ivorian participant in the MOOC
With modules that were more practical and focused on the funding or human resources of a CivicTech project, the MOOC also allowed participants to gain the basic skills to develop their social or civic engagement thanks to digital tools. A discussion forum and quizzes rounded off the course to encourage learning in a fun and interactive way. The MOOC is also highly committed to addressing gender equality, as 40% of its contributors are women and several modules focus on women in CivicTech. A communication campaign exclusively for women was also launched on social media. This played a part in ensuring that women accounted for a third of the course’s final intake.
Lastly, the MOOC was a tool to recruit project leaders en masse, who will then go on to receive support in the future. 500 young citizens from French-speaking Africa responded to the call for applications launched in November 2020 to select 25 innovative and engaging projects that will benefit from an incubation programme to develop their initiatives in 2021.
*MOOC: Massive Open Online Courses.
** CivicTech: all procedures, tools and technologies that can improve the political system.