Over the last few months, the Engine Room team has been busy reading applications to the Matchbox partnership. We had the privilege of evaluating an extremely diverse and strong group of proposals from nearly 100 civil society organisations from Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa.
Since launching our flagship support program in 2014, we have supported ten organisations in designing and developing their data and tech projects. From Peru where Japiqay created Memoria y Ciudadania, a digital archive of corruption cases, to Namibia where Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) mapped the trends in the allocation of Petroleum Exploration Licences (PELS). Matchbox projects have helped organisations increase transparency and accountability and monitor corruption and human rights abuses in their countries and sectors. Throughout the years, we’ve learned a lot from our partners about their ever-changing and complex contexts – how to create a strategic and useful project, and how to effectively support and strengthen an organisation. Most importantly, we’ve built a unique community.
Today, we are thrilled to announce six new additions to join the Matchbox family in 2019!
Latin American Matchbox partners
The Argentine human rights organisation, CELS (Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales), is regionally and internationally respected for its work documenting human rights violations. Since 1979, the organisation has worked to create a more just, fair, and accountable country, using strategic litigation, research and advocacy.
Over the past 20 years, CELS has been manually documenting cases of “institutional violence” (violence perpetrated by police and armed forces) in greater Buenos Aires and has created a database of almost 5,000 cases. Today, it’s the only database of its kind in Argentina. During their Matchbox partnership, CELS will focus on conceptually updating, systematising, collecting, analysing and securely sharing information from this database to the public. All of this data and tech support will ultimately allow them to further their advocacy and create a conversation about police violence in Argentina.
This young and innovative Paraguayan organisation is holding their government to account in the education sector, monitoring the national education investment fund, FONACIDE, to ensure that the fund benefits students. Historically, this public education fund has been considered to be highly corrupt; it’s likely set to increase significantly over the next year.
The reAccion team, along with dozens of student volunteers, are working to increase the visibility of the fund and are monitoring the actual execution of these funds. In order to expand their reach without losing rigour, they will work with The Engine Room to improve their data collection and visualisation methods and to create training tools for citizen monitors.
This Argentina civil society organization, Asociacion Civil por la Igualdad y Justicia (ACIJ), has worked in access to information, transparency and accountability of government. Asociación Civil por la Igualdad y Justicia (ACIJ) has worked in access to information and government transparency and accountability. As with many organisations working in issues of fiscal transparency, they have manually collected, tracked, and analyzed budget data for years.
Now, with the Matchbox partnership, ACIJ wants to improve the way they’re collecting this data – from the budget’s original allocation to its frequent reallocations – in order to analyse the actual spending of the government. Together we will improve the Budget Monitor platform that will flag when there are budget re-allocations, for transparency’s sake and for evaluating the purpose of this reallocation. These alerts will be available to anyone interested in any and all topics, including other civil society organizations, activists, and journalists in Argentina.
Sub-Saharan African Matchbox partners
The South African organisation, Legal Advisory Information Center (LAIC), aims to make land tenure and rights more inclusive, just and equitable through their legal empowerment work. They conduct policy research, carry out legal education work and advocate for changes in property rights. LAIC works hard to fight against the weak policies, misappropriation government resources, relics of apartheid and politicisation of land that so often cause issues land and property rights issues.
LAIC is exploring ways in which data and technology can give access to justice to unserved communities in South African. Together – and building upon our recent work in this area – we will explore ways in which we can make their work more efficient, more safe, and more organized, developing an internal data policy and investigating technology-driven solutions for case management and legal empowerment.
KCSPOG advocates for transparency and accountability in Kenya’s oil and gas sector. They conduct research, build coalitions and lead campaigns. Their work is especially important since Kenya’s oil and gas sector is in its formative years but has so far suffered from opaque transactions and possible corruption.
Now, KCSPOG want to increase access to oil and gas contracts data for their coalition and other stakeholders. As a Matchbox partner, KCSPOG will develop a system that aggregates otherwise siloed datasets on oil and gas contracts and makes them more accessible – in a responsible manner – to its coalition members.
For over ten years, PPDC have developed and deployed open contracting tools in Nigeria to improve procurement governance. They are forerunners in the work towards more accountable and transparent fiscal governance in Nigeria. Now, they are keen to do even more to increase citizen involvement and state-level compliance, since both have slowed the growth of access to information in Nigeria.
With The Engine Room, PPDC will grow the usefulness and uptake of their open data portals, starting by collecting and analysing information on how users are interacting with existing portals.
Throughout the course of these partnerships, we’ll share insights from each partner and write about trends and learnings we find at the intersection of civil society and data and tech.
If you’re a fellow support organisation or local advocate or activist, keep an eye out on our blog and @EngnRoom for more!