Internet access and powerful communication technologies are spreading around the world at a extraordinary rate, transforming the way citizens live and interact with each other. With the many benefits that citizens experience from these advanced technologies, there is also the expectation that leaders in government, civil society and politics will keep up.
Unfortunately, many political institutions and citizen groups in the developing world are falling further behind, locked away from the powerful web tools that are powering data-driven political organizing, mass communications for civic advocacy and e-government service delivery. Even when effective communication or organizing tools are available, staff in civic or governmental groups often lack the technical expertise necessary to manage such new systems, preventing them from doing their job as effectively as possible. Without the ability to respond in kind to technically-empowered citizens, frustrations with leaders and disenchantment with political institutions increases.
The free, open source software (FOSS) movement has created some powerful tools designed to help nonprofits bridge the gap between citizens and their leaders. These tools, however, aren’t typically designed with the needs of international civil society or developing world governments in mind.
With DemTools, NDI works together with successful FOSS projects and their user communities to adapt soft- ware to the needs of critical democratic institutions. Through support provided by DemTools for internationalization, translation, usability testing, security and accessibility, these open-source products become more culturally relevant, easy to use, and accessible. Organizations can better organize and communicate, connect citizens to political leaders, foster multimedia debates, provide compelling data visualizations and analysis, and manage sophisticated political process monitoring.
Meet the DemTools
For many of our partners, the in-house tech talent required to manage and secure sophisticated web applications simply isn’t affordable, and the activists involved in democratic organizing didn’t sign up as a way to learn computer skills. DemCloud, NDI’s software-as-a-service (SAAS) system, eliminates this “geek gap” by providing partners with a fully-hosted service for all DemTools, sparing groups the systems ad- ministration, setup, management or configuration of these services.
NDI is focused on keeping DemTools safe and ensuring that organizations’ private information remains that way. NDI works with digital security experts to assess our DemCloud software-as-a-service platform, and shielded it behind enterprise-grade DDOS mitigation.
Source: ICT Works.