Building Democracy in Egypt

July 30, 2011 By Aminda

A pair of journalists has started an insightful blog documenting the process of building a democracy in Egypt. With the first post-revolution parliamentary election to be held in September, there is much work to do. Political activists are using methods such as social media and crowdsourcing as efficient methods of engaging voters in discussion about the new constitution.

This pair’s story started last month when a group of Computer programmers, designers and peace activists participated in a series of San Francisco based hackathons to create a platform for public discussion of the new constitution.

Once the site launched, the real work began. One of the biggest questions is how to make the on-line platform a valuable tool without excluding the large segment of the population who lack internet access. The association that request the site creation is working on the ground to organize offline meetings where proposed reform can be discussed. It’s acknowledged that a combined effort of technical and traditional advocacy is needed to engage as many Egyptian citizens as possible.

Developers have also put a call for help to those with experience analyzing large numbers of crowdsource responses. The goal is to figure out a system that isn’t dependent on a few human “gatekeepers.” Currently, comments are being analyzed by campaign staff of the presidential candidate who requested the site creation. 

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