Our sixth TICTeC Labs surgery has enabled the creation of a new open source tool for Nigeria and beyond: the Election Violence Tracker (EVT).
The TICTeC subgrant allowed PolicyLab Africa to launch this project, an open-source reporting tool that enables citizens to document and report violent incidents during Nigeria’s elections. The idea is to empower people to independently create, confirm, and track violent incidents in real time during the election season — and more importantly, provide a lasting data resource for journalists, election observers, activists and civil society.
As discovered during the initial TICTeC surgery, the global civic tech community often faces challenges from working in hostile environments. These range from government resistance to operating in conflict and post-conflict societies. After that initial discussion focused on ways in which organisations can thrive in challenging contexts, the subsequent Action Lab agreed to commission a piece of work which repurposed existing software to benefit civic tech organisations working in hostile environments.
EVT uses the Independent Electoral Commission’s polling unit location data to track and map locations of electoral violence in Nigeria; and OpenStreetMap to geolocate each polling unit address and enable user identification to verify report locations. Reports, which can include photos or videos, are visualised on a map and the data collected is openly available for download and export.
The tool has already seen use. During the Nigerian elections on 25 February, 59 cases of violence were reported via the EVT. The tool will be deployed again for the State and Governorship elections in March. PolicyLab Africa plan to continue to make improvements and hope to expand deployment to other countries to make more data available on electoral violence across Africa.
All code and documentation is open and available on the PolicyLab Africa GitHub repository for other organisations to use and adapt.