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Penplusbytes’ SMTC featured on DW Akademie Digital Innovation Library


Penplusbytes’ Social Media Tracking Centre (SMTC) has been featured on the Deustche Welle Akademie Digital Innovations Library as part of 15 other projects in Africa. The library is an online platform that showcases projects from across Africa, Asia, Middle East and Latin America which are using digital technologies to advance freedom of expression and access to information.

Penplusbytes’ Social Media Tracking Centre (SMTC) was established in the lead up to the 2016 general elections in Ghana. The centre which run for 72-hours non-stop (6th-8th December 2016) significantly contributed to closing the feedback loop between Ghanaian voters and the election management bodies.

Through the SMTC, Penplusbytes was able to provide factual information and ensure that there was transparency in the information shared between the electorate and the electoral commission in Ghana. In the process of collecting data, SMTC equally managed to flag incidents of misconduct, violence, fraud during the voting and thus build in more confidence in the voting.

Local and international election observers commended the center and its technology as an innovative tool for policing social media.

Innovation is usually meant to be a new idea, process or product that, when implemented, leads to positive change. Digital innovation is therefore about using digital technologies as tools for positive change.

However, Digital innovation, according the DW Akademie digital library, does not necessarily have to be a sophisticated invention but an innovation that simply adds valuable elements which are new to a respective media environment. Thus, a project could be a copy of an existing project that simply highlights an innovative element of another. In the media development context, DW Akademie sees digital innovation as something that adds value to freedom of expression and access to information within a specific context.

The Digital Innovation Library identifies six topics that are relevant to the project’s goal and are broad enough to incorporate the main objectives of many development projects, namely: accountability, community empowerment, environment, healthcare, violence and transparency.

Projects featured on the library are projects that use digital technologies in a new way to improve access to information but are not necessarily a media project and also highlights one of the six topics.

Visit the library here.