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Young Innovators Collaborate to Design Social-Change Technology

In 2016-17, the Civic Tech Leadership Program worked to connect and cultivate young civic-tech innovators in the Middle East/ North Africa region and the United States. Over 3,000 registrants signed up for a bilingual Tech for Accountability Lab course offered by Stanford Online. Two hundred alumni then participated in an intensive bilingual mentorship program to collaborate on developing ideas for thoughtful civic-technology projects. Sixteen outstanding participants, representing eight teams, were selected to participate in a study mission to meet with entrepreneurs, innovators and public servants in Washington, DC and Silicon Valley.

The program was made possible through the Stevens Initiative, with support from the U.S. Department of State and the Bezos Family Foundation. It was implemented by the National Democratic Institute in partnership with Stanford University’s Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law and the Institute for Representative Government.

The video submissions from six exceptional project teams, and eight honorable mentions, are:

Ahmed Galal Elmorshedy (Egypt), Stephen Douglas Wright (United States), and Younes Serrar (Algeria) for their project idea BetterVote, an online platform that would seek to combat misinformation efforts during electoral campaigns in the Middle East and North Africa by collecting and displaying independently-verified information about candidates, including their policy proposals and campaign finances.
Clara Tsao (United States) Flora Wang (United States), and Wala Ben Ali (Tunisia) for their project idea Saeduni, an Arabic-language mobile app that would seek to support immigrant victims of domestic violence in the United States by enabling non-native English speakers to safely report domestic abuse and connect with support groups.
Eric Jackson (United States) and Sanad Baja (Libya) for their project idea Masahati, a blockchain-based system that would seek to protect the property rights of citizens and businesses in Libya by digitizing land records through a transparent, secure, and multi-stakeholder blockchain land register.
Adam Zibak (Syria) and Awatef Riahi (Tunisia) for their project idea Eye on Corruption, an open-source platform that would enable citizens to submit and map anonymous reports of bribery demands, using SMS, smartphones or the web.
Ashley Amin (United States), Philip Crehan (United States), Rachel Gabriel (United States), and George Philoubos (Egypt) for their project idea, a data collection and visualization tool that would seek to assess the education levels of Syrian refugee children in Jordan, identify access gaps and recommend ‘best fit’ educational programs to aid workers.
Azzen Abidi (Tunisia) and Senda Reguei (Tunisia) for their project idea: an online platform that would seek to empower people with disabilities in Tunisia by connecting them with providers of essential services such as education and healthcare through a simple, easy-to-use platform.

The selection committee received 29 video pitches in all. While the program is designed as a leadership program rather than as a civic tech incubator, the video pitches were evaluated on a range of criteria including the proposed project’s potential for real-world social impact and the inclusion of marginalized populations in the project design.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

CivicGov Protect Yourself from Cholera Skip Madinaty
Team 14 Team 18 Team 21 Team 12
E-Parliament AutoFine CityBoard Aseafni
Team 17 Team 20 Team 27 Team 20