P4P Medium Grant
“Bridging Research and Innovation for Democratic Governance and Enhanced Participation (BRIDGE 4 Participation)”
Mercy Fekadu Mulugeta (PI), Yodahe Abebe (Co-I), Fitsumbirhan Araya (Co-I), Wongel Abebe (Co-I)
Citizens in Ethiopia are increasingly using social media and other online platforms to voice their political opinions and to protest; and an estimated 60% of Standing Committee chairpersons in the House of People’s Representatives (HPR) use social media to try and salvage political support. This project offers a dedicated web-based application, which it will develop and pilot, to bring individual parliamentarians and their constituents together as part of an inclusive, interactive online political community. The App will be accessible on tablets and smartphones, and its functionality will include creating and making visible parliamentarian profiles, and allowing parliamentarians and those they represent to post questions, comments and replies to one another. In a landscape in which there are several barriers to political participation, and in which violent expression of political opinion is on the rise despite economic growth, rise in employment and the proliferation of government-led social mobilisation schemes, the project will assess how an online interactive community of Parliamentarians and people might affect (1) the culture of political participation, representation and perception, and (2) decision-making by parliamentarians in Ethiopia.