The e-Participation and Policy Modelling Platform for South Africa (ePPMOSA) project aims to pilot e-participation and policy modelling technologies and methods in selected municipalities between 2022 and 2025, with the goal of supporting and enhancing existing local government public participation initiatives.
ePPMOSA is a project under the Viability and Validations of Innovations for Service Delivery Programme (VVISDP) established by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), in partnership with the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) and the Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), with funding from the European Union Sector Budget Support Programme and the National Treasury. VVISDP is designed to help municipalities to pilot technology and innovations that could assist in improving the delivery of basic services and the functioning of municipalities through innovation.
The HSRC is leading implementation of the project in collaboration with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). By working closely with municipalities and local stakeholders, the implementation team aims to build on their existing experiences using technology to support public participation. At the same time, new methodologies and technologies are being investigated by exploring e-participation projects on the African continent and globally. This includes developing a working database of technologies, projects and organisations noted below.
The project team would like to connect with similar initiatives in South Africa, in other parts of Africa and globally. One of the key objectives of the project is to establish a community of practice for public officials, other practitioners and researchers exploring the use of technology in public participation and policy formulation. If you would like to be part of this community of practice or are considering implementing an e-participation initiative, please feel free to contact us at the email below.
Over 300 e-participation technologies and project use cases have been identified through a global landscape analysis, focusing on Africa and South Africa in particular. Projects have been mapped according to the e-participation spectrum outlined on page 116 of the 2020 UN DESA e-Government Survey. A living version of the database and mapping can be accessed here. New projects are added on a regular basis. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to request corrections or additions.
The links to reports and academic publications will be added here as they become available. The first publication outlines the approach used to develop the technology and projects database, and includes an analysis of capabilities in existing projects that could be applied or adapted in the South African context: download pre-print version here. A second publication in the pipeline summarises an extensive literature review and policy analysis report which explored current policy approaches to e-participation.
In October 2022, the ePPMOSA project team hosted a full-day municipality workshop at the Civic Tech Innovation Forum (CTIF). Workshop participants explored emerging e-participation methods, and identified possibly areas in which technology and data-supported approaches could be of use. Public officials were also able to engage with civil society and technology innovators during CTIF sessions on the other days.
As part of the ePPMOSA project, UKZN is offering scholarships for prospective PhD and Postdoc researchers. Potential research topics include, amongst others, monitoring, evaluation and impact assessment of e-participation and policy modelling pilot projects and; framing, defining and conceptualising new approaches to public participation in the context of digitally-mediated interactions. The deadline for applications is 2 December 2022. More information and application forms are available on the UKZN website.