Objective peace for the second round

Today I saw that some of the more IT-knowledgeable Ivorians on twitter #civ2010 have started an initiative called “OBJECTIF PAIX POUR LE DEUXIEME TOUR”.

It’s still in an early stage (started today), but the idea is to use modern information technology keep track of election results and incidents in a neutral way, promote the message of peace and counter messages and rumors of hate and ethnic division.

Ideas include:

  • to involve a large network of connected people, it’s open to anybody who shares the wish to have  peaceful second round elections and aftermath
  • to keep track of incidents and events related to the election on http://www.wonzomai.com/
  • publish results  as reported by the CEI in an accesible mannerwith as small delay as possible on http://www.alldeny.net/elections/
  • send sms-messages promoting peace in a funny way that can go viral, and/or get mobile operators to send mass messages
  • get celebrities to endorse a message of peace  on http://peace.53voices.com/
  • work closely with radio and tv

The cool thing about it is that it is a spontaneous initiative by Ivorians in the Ivory Coast and the diaspora, who mostly met on twitter talking about the first round of elections on #civ2010, and there is no big organisation behind.

One of the key initators is Diaby Mohamed, an Ivorian IT entrepreneur  who today set up a planning and brainstorming chat session called OPERATION TEMPETE DU DESERT POUR LA PAIX (Operation desert storm for peace) and the facebook group OBJECTIF PAIX POUR LE SECOND TOUR which within an hour after creation had more than 100 members.

This is essentially a dream project for a western donor organisation, but the election is only two weeks away, and western donor organisations are just too bureaucratic to act that quickly.

Well, I think it’ll work just fine without any big organisation involved. And god knows it’s needed, I remember how media and  Ivory Coast-related internet forums looked like in 2000-2005:  full of hate on all sides.

Another thing with this initiative is that it is such a great media story.  It’s got Africa, new technology, young idealistic talented people, and a country rising from war and ethnic divisions.   I have a feeling that western media may, if it catches on, have more coverage of this initiative than the actual presidential election itself.


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