Sub-Saharan Africa

What Does Radio Sound Like in Sudan?

A suggestion box at Liberty FM in Juba allows listeners without mobile phones to make their voices heard.

What does radio sound like in Sudan? A cacophony, in the best possible way. The many competing stations on the Juba FM dial are a sort of cacophony of democracy, where everyone has a voice and an opinion and wants to share it with the world.

It seems promising that my first trip with NDI would be to Sudan, one of the Institute’s larger country programs and one of the world’s more opaque nations. I went to Sudan to understand the opportunities for radio in Africa’s largest country, characterized by vast distances and miles of impassable terrain.

Conversation about Sudan generally starts with a direction – the South or the North? While the two parts of the country have their commonalities (a discussion best left to far more fluent commentators) they are often known through their differences, made manifest in the semi-autonomous region known simply as Southern Sudan.

Southern Sudan has its own capital, Juba, government (the Government of Southern Sudan, or GOSS) and militia-cum-military, the SPLM. Southern Sudan speaks English as an official language, in addition to the Arabic used by the North. A person can even travel in and out of Southern Sudan without a Sudanese visa on an invitation issued by the GOSS.  READ MORE »

Kenyan Citizens Monitor with Mobile aka “A4B2G1H1”*

ELOG Center

Detailed information about Election Day can be collected from thousands of observers in many ways given the need for accuracy, speed, minimized costs, and taking into account the particular communications infrastructure and organizational capacity.  (Chris Spence wrote previously on this methodology.)

For the Constitutional Referendum in Kenya, the Kenya Election Observation Group (ELOG) built a system which relied on observers using mobile phones and text messages to pass the data on their observation forms to a center multiple times throughout the day.   Ahead of Referendum Day, I was lucky enough to travel and assist ELOG in their use of technology, with a focus on supporting their efforts in collecting observer data.  READ MORE »

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