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The 2010 Burundian elections are being held between the 
21 May and the 7th September.

The Burundi Early Warning Election Project plans to leverage the mobile platform to develop an information system that will collect, analyze and report on real-time events during the 2010 Burundian elections.

Four hundred citizen reporters, located in strategic locations in nine communities in four provinces, will be trained and equipped with a cellphone to provide first hand accounts of the election process and verify reported problems using electronic text messaging, photographic images and videos. 

Donate phones -- we want to collect 400 phones

Message from Adrien Niyongabo, Domitien Sabongerwa and David Zarembka:

Dear Friends, 


The Healing and Rebuilding Our Community (HROC) program in Burundi is in the midst of an Election Violence Prevention Program for the five elections in Burundi between May 21 and September 7. As part of a grant from the United States Institute of Peace, HROC has formed Democracy and Peace groups in nine volatile communities in four provinces of Burundi. Each group has 80 participants who have received the basic HROC workshop and follow-up to unite disparate people into cohesive groups that will work together to prevent violence during the elections in their community. We have finished this process and the participants are enthusiastic about working together, even perhaps at risk to themselves.  

As an add-on to this project, we have decided to implement an Early Warning System with 100 to 400 of these participants who will be called “citizen reporters.” Each will have a cell phone with unlimited calling and text messaging with every one else in the System for the five months from May through September. When an incident develops in a community, the citizen reporters will be able to contact the Call-In Center in Bujumbura to report events as they occur. Then if advisable, the citizen reporters and others from the Democracy and Peace group can come to observe the incident. Observation frequently is what keeps people from perpetrating violent acts. Moreover conflicts frequently occur as rumors spread and the citizen reporters will be trained on how to give verifiable reports. These reports will be analyzed at the Call-In Center and forwarded to Quaker policy organizations throughout the world. 

We have found that the cell phone system in Burundi is unable to carry pictures or emails so the system will have to depend upon voice mail and text messaging. Nonetheless we would like to have some of the citizen reporters to have advanced cell phones that can take pictures as we intend to visit the communities regularly and can download the pictures on to a computer. Consequently we are asking people to donate to us advanced cell phones that can take pictures. These will need to be able to use SIM cards and be unlocked. In the United States only T-Mobile and AT&T use SIM cards. Please notify David Zarembka at dave@aglifpt.org if you are able to collect some of these cell phones. 

The number of citizen reporters will mostly depend upon how many cell phones and calling cards we can have. We would like to buy Nokia 2330 phones costing $40 plus an extra battery costing $10. The unlimited airtime per month is $9 per month—for five months this will be $45. We would appreciate any donations towards the purchase of the cell phones, extra battery, and calling cards. Again please contact David Zarembka atdave@aglifpt.org for details on making a contribution. 


Thank you for your consideration. 


Adrien Niyongabo, Healing and Rebuilding Our Communities- Burundi

Domitien Sabongerwa, Quaker Peace Network-Burundi

David Zarembka, African Great Lakes Initiative of the Friends Peace Teams

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Replies to This Discussion

Dear Mr Mor,

This is practically a very good idea. I volunteer to support your project as best as I can. I have posted your request for handsets here: http://ow.ly/1poWL on my facebook page. I have friends from all over Afrika and the world reading my posts. I believe that they will respond positively to your call.

Meanwhile, do let me know how I can be of assistance to help your work as I am interested in elections and political processes and have observed elections in quite a number of African countries.

Hoping to hear/read from you.

Best wishes
thanks for your support!
I will get in touch, would like to hear about your experience and pick your brain.
Will be ready to open my skull...be sure to come with enough oxygen and glucose to keep the brain function once the skull is let open.

Cheers

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