Cairo, Egypt: The website, U-Shahid.org, which means “you are a witness,” will plot reports of Egyptian election irregularities on an interactive map of Egypt. Citizens can submit reports via text message, Twitter, or e-mail, along with photo or video verification. Organisers hope it will push regular citizens towards political participation.
“We think it’s a new tool for election monitoring that will attract more people to participate,” said Esraa Abdel Fattah, a project organiser and activist who was arrested after she used a social-networking site to help organise a national strike in 2008.
The project – which is reported to be indirectly funded by the United States – is rallying young Egyptians to the cause and hopes to create a new generation of democracy activists.
The group has recruited 125 volunteers from around the country. The volunteers in turn have used their own networks to recruit and train more people. Most of the people involved are regular citizens, not seasoned activists, said Kamal Nabil, director of the Development and Institutionalization Support Center, the Egyptian NGO administering the project.