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ICTs and Democratization: What Works & Why?

  • Koebel Price


In this seminar Mr. Price discusses findings from his recent report “Citizen Participation and Technology: An NDI Study”. The study was is based on the recognition that digital technology offers the possibility of strengthening citizens’ voice in politics, carving out new political space for activism and promoting more government accountability – but very little is known of how citizens are using such technologies internationally to promote accountability. With this in mind, the Citizen Participation team at NDI reviewed over 50 cases of technology use by civic organizations internationally and did an in-depth study of 12. The talk situations the technology intervention in the larger democratic context and highlights the importance of taking into account organizational strength, nature of political space and other factors that shape accountability. He argues that successful interventions had digital and non-digital aspects that covered multiple aspects, while interventions that were narrowly focused and motivated by the availability of digital tools failed.

In addition to providing details of various cases, he argues that current tendencies for funders to support technology interventions while withdrawing support for other aspects such as organisation building is likely to undermine the effectiveness of technology in the first place, and makes a case for a broad-based conceptualisation of technology interventions. The report can be downloaded from:

Speaker Bio

Koebel Price is NDI’s Senior Advisor for Citizen Participation. He has 20 years’ experience in leading programs that promote transparency and accountability in government, citizen participation and civil society development, political party strengthening and free and fair elections. Mr. Price has worked in over 30 countries, served as chief of party for U.S. government-funded programs in the Balkans, the Middle East, and North Africa and managed the democracy and governance portfolios of international development organizations. Domestically, he has served as a Political and Legislative Director with the Minnesota AFL-CIO, part of America’s largest trade union confederation. Prior to that, he was trained in community organizing at the Midwest Academy and led grassroots advocacy campaigns for issue – based civil society organizations. In his current role, he supports NDI’s civil society strengthening efforts globally, providing strategies, tools, techniques and training to NDI’s staff members and partner organizations to support and strengthen citizen organizing and political activism in new and emerging democracies. Mr. Price authored the recent publication Citizen Participation and Technology: An NDI Study, which examines the role technologies are playing in democratization programs.