“We provide technological solutions to increase the quality of democracy and development”
Tuwindi, a Malian organization that promotes social and economic development using information and communication technologies. it is active in the areas of governance, democracy, citizenship and human rights. It has provided an essential support the holding of transparent elections in Senegal. Tidjani Togola, the Executive Director and Founder of Tuwindi, agreed to answer our questions. Interview.
Mr. Tidjani Togola, could you introduce your organization?
The Tuwindi Foundation is an organization specialized in civic technology. We use technologies to increase citizens’ participation in everything related to their political and public rights. We provide technological solutions to increase the quality of democracy and development. The idea is to ensure that the citizen is at the heart of the decision-making process and take part in the building of the economic and social life.
What justifies your current presence in Senegal?
We support civil society organizations in the electoral monitoring through the provision of a technological platform
We are here in Senegal as part of the elections. We support civil society organizations in the electoral monitoring through the provision of a technological platform that will allow to collect observation information by SMS. This information will then be inserted into the database for a real-time processing. We have trained 2,000 observers and 27 platform managers. Observers are deployed across Senegal, which would allow us to have statistically representative data.
You are Malian and you support an initiative of Senegalese civil society organizations for the presidential election. What motivates you?
My motivation is the quest for transparency, respect for the rights of citizens. There is no difference between a citizen of Mali or Senegal since we can build together our future. We have the same future! if democracy is not strong in Senegal, it will not be in Mali. Maybe it’s an exaggeration to say it, but I’m wherever we need to defend the values of democracy and respect for human rights; wherever good governance practices need to be promoted. That’s my battle!
I am a computer engineer and I use my knowledge to serve citizen participation in good governance. Engaging with civil society organizations in Senegal is both an honor and a duty. That’s why we’re here to work on the USAID-funded program, Sunu Election. We bring our technical contribution to a work that I consider noble and necessary. My motivation is to defend democracy wherever we can and with all my energy.
Tell us a bit about Tuwindi’s activities in the region
The Tuwindi Foundation is very active in the region. We regularly organize training workshops for civil society organizations from different African countries. We equip them and prepare them to set up an electoral watch room in their respective countries. In general, they receive advanced training on state-of-the-art technology tools for the implementation of the monitoring room, including the OpenESR election information system software that we use.
Through these initiatives, we are trying to innovate election observation and enhance the transparency, integrity and credibility of elections in Africa.
What are your relations with governments? are they always open for such initiatives?
We have good relations with the governments of the countries where we operate. This is necessary because our aim is to ensure that the authorities, in charge of the organization of the elections, correct the irregularities that we find on the ground and which do not respect the regulation in force on the elections. So, we do not hesitate to invite them to understand our work which is also done in all legality and legitimacy. In general, they cooperate.
What are your prospects for the future? Do you plan to do this work for a long time?
We will continue to support electoral actors in African countries. We will continue to increase the capabilities of our technologies to support the entire electoral cycle. We will also pursue the development of other methodological approaches and software solutions best suited to the needs of actors in their mission of supporting democracy, freedom of expression and other fundamental rights. We also plan to work on the issue of infox (fake news) and strengthen our collaboration with different stakeholders to introduce Information and Communication Technologies in their activities in general.