eDemocracy in Botswana – connecting citizens and leaders

Botswana, like many African countries, has a strong history of traditional tribal leadership and administration.  Kheira Belkacem from the eGovlab at the University of Stockholm is leading the Botswana Speaks project to enable citizens, traditional leaders and local kgotla assemblies in four constituencies of Botswana to use digital tools to share their views and policy concerns with their elected representatives.

The pilot project will be trialing how ICT – and particularly the use of mobile – can play a role to support the traditional, human-centric tribal processes and enable greater local participation in democratic processes.

The originality of this project is that we do not aim at implementing an ICT tool without looking at the traditional role of chiefs in the local politics.  Rather, we want to incorporate these [ICT] tools within the traditions and not look at only online tools but the offline world as well.

About Kheira Belkacem

Kheira Belkacem is Assistant Programme Director at eGovlab, and is currently completing her PhD in Political Communication at the University of Leeds UK. Her experience in the European Parliament, when working closely with the Director General of the Directorate-General for Innovation and Technological Support in 2008-2009, left her with a strong expertise of parliamentary systems and adoption of new technologies in democratic institutions. She also spent a summer internship at the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) on the e-Governance Programme in 2008.

In 2010, Kheira worked as a research assistant for the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford and in 2010-2012, she taught modules on communication theories and new media group project as a teaching assistant at the Institute of Communications Studies. She is currently the Assistant Programme Director of Botswana Speaks and is involved in other projects run by the eGovlab.

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