Building a people-powered tech movement

Technology does not create movements – people do, so it is important to have clear values, says executive director Koketso Moeti.

“So while it's important to use all the tools at one’s disposal, you cannot replace people with tools,” she said.

Moeti spoke at the frayintermedia and fraycollege of Communications “Claiming our stories, Raising our Voices” global virtual summit, presenting a case study on building a just and people-powered movement.

A question Moeti said she is often asked is: How and why would you turn a cellphone into a democracy building tool and how does that contribute towards movement building?

Moeti gave the example of the #EndSARS movement and how it attracted worldwide attention powered by social media.

“On the night of the 20th October 2020, Nigerian armed forces shot at protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos. CCTV cameras had been removed from the toll gate. Officials denied that anyone was killed.

“And this could have been the official narrative had it not been for the #EndSARS protesters who documented the massacre in real-time,” Moeti said.

As a result, Moeti said technology equips people to spur effective campaigns that move beyond being “short-term viral sensations in the digital space to have sustained impact in the public sphere”.

However, while a technology tool can empower an individual, Moeti noted that changing the world is a collective effort, Moeti said.

“Likewise, technology is not only about developers and engineers. It's about dreamers, anthropologists, social scientists, and most importantly the public good,” Moeti said.

Watch Moeti’s case study here.

The summit was made possible with the help of our funding partners Oxfam and Act Ubumbano and our supporters including Red Dot Foundation, Quote this Woman +, International Women's Media Foundation, Namibia Media Trust, Media Development Investment Fund, South Africa Media Innovation Programme and Accountability Lab.

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