I was speaking with David Kobia from Ushahidi today and remembered that my post on election monitoring in Sri Lanka (Election monitoring using new media: Notes from my experience in Sri Lanka) had forgotten to mention the SMS template that I had developed for election monitoring in Sri Lanka.
The template can be seen here.
It only works if the election monitoring agency (I work with the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence) has a robust and well defined set of categories the monitoring is anchored to, and trained election monitors who are well versed in this framework. In other words, this is not a template designed for, or will work in a context that untrained citizens report in election violations via SMS.
The template can easily be adapted to a range of contexts, and is Twitter friendly as well. One can also envisage other uses for such a template, such as monitoring human rights violations or the delivery of aid to IDP camps.
I developed this two years ago, in 2008, when Sri Lanka was still at war. Vast swathes of the country’s north and east were very badly connected, and so mobiles didn’t really work for election monitoring at the time. This is changing rapidly post-war, and I’m looking forward to working with CMEV in the future to develop this template further and design more robust backend, SMS / mobile based frameworks for election monitoring.