On a surprisingly warm New Year’s Eve, the NDItech team has a lot to reflect on and much to be proud of. We’re grateful for how much we’ve accomplished and shan’t be forgetting any auld acquaintances. Today, we’d like to share with you the fruits of our labor in 2015 and wish all of you a joyous New Year!
You’ve certainly heard about DemTools by now, but it was certainly Story Number One in 2015. Over the past several months, we developed and launched six open source, web-based applications designed to meet support democratic governments and their key functions. The three original DemTools were enhanced while we created another three and all were met with great interest in fanfare at our standing-room-only launch event. Here’s a video of the launch event. More about the toolkit for democracy can be found at www.dem.tools.
Travels and Travails
It’s been quite a mobile year for supporting democracy and governance programs around the world as NDItech has worked on election monitoring, training political parties on technology, or speaking at top-flight conferences. Jared worked on elections in Zambia and Tanzania and spoke at two conferences in Mexico City, one on open government (OGP) and another on women in parliament (WIP). Chris supported elections in Cote d’Ivoire, Uganda, and Nigeria and presented at an OGP conference in Georgia. Meron assisted with election observations in Tanzania and attended the OGP meeting in Ethiopia. Christine trained political parties in the Democratic Republic of Congo on using the Civi DemTool and worked on elections in Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire.
NDItech has a wonderful partnership with Amazon Web Services for hosting our resources in their cloud servers, which makes scaling our projects nigh effortless. Last October, our teamwork went one step further as NDI sponsored a challenge at AWS’s ReInvent Hackathon in Las Vegas. At the event, we made some new friends who won our contest and built a fantastic game we like to call StoryLand. We’re looking forward to advancing these partnerships and utilizing the games for good approach in improving civic education.
Not only has a lot of work been done, but the team has seen a lot of change. We brought on a new project manager named David, a couple project assistants, and said goodbye to some beloved colleagues as they went on to other jobs, other lands, or the wild world of academia. Our online home moved from demworks.org to nditech.org and then relaunched our website to be cooler and better than ever. Some of us saw the Pope, tied the knot, and saw the new Star Wars movie. It’s a great team and we are excited to continue debugging, arguing, presenting, strategizing, and scrumming together in the year ahead.
In the coming year, we’re going to be scaling DemTools to support democracy all around the world with great upgrades to better serve our partners. In the next year, we will be building out a new DemTool called Politifilter, which aggregates social media posts to make it easy to understand what people are saying publicly about hot political issues. Of course, the NDItech team will be supporting more election observations, political party development, civil society organizing, and constituent-citizen connections. Additionally, we’ll be working on projects to advance distance learning, smart cities, and civic innovation.
In short, 2015 has been thrilling and intense, so we expect no less from 2016. To all, we thank you for your support and wish you all the best in the New Year!