YALI TechCamp explores innovative technology in civic engagement

May 22 – 24, 2016 - Sixty members of the Young African Leadership Institute (YALI) network from across Africa attended YALI Techcamp held at Ashesi University College. Themed Digital strategies for Civic Engagement, the aim of the two-day gathering was to provide training to participants on effective communication at the grassroots level for civic and political engagement, using innovative tools and technologies.

Launched by United States President, Barak Obama, in 2010, YALI seeks to support young African leaders as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa. Working through TechCamp, a US State department initiative that works to empower civil society organizations, journalists, entrepreneurs and government representatives, by training them on the use of low-cost, easy-to-implement technological tools and concepts, YALI aims to position young leaders effectively in the work they do. 

“We want to work with participants to create something tangible,” said Jamie Findlater of the TechCamp team at the US State Department. “Not only technology solutions, but also innovative strategies they can take back to their organizations to impact their communities to improve the election process and civic engagement.”

The two-day event also created a platform for connecting community leaders from the YALI Network with local and international technology experts and trainers who led sessions to help participants explore ways to dig deeper into challenges and problems within their communities at the grassroots level.

Ghanaian investigative journalist Anas Amereyaw Anas, who spoke at the event, encouraged participants to protect their societies. “My kind of journalism is a product of my society,” he said. “Mine is to create impact on the society and put bad guys behind bars. It’s about working together and pushing the frontiers of our various democracies, and also learning that if there will be any change in the society we live in, no one can do it but us.”