Our summer is promising to be a busy one, and here are some of the things on the horizon that we are excited about right now:
- Graduate students of Emory University are piloting ELMO in Nepal and Vietnam for work related to health and trafficking. In addition, our incoming Fellow for 2016 has been selected. More on this will be available at the Emory Institute for Developing Nations in the next weeks.
- Our team is continuing to partner with the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Cyber Technology and Information Security Lab (CTISL) to make ELMO into a more secure platform. ELMO 5.x incorporates a first round of measures and we are looking forward to another round later this year.
- ELMO 5.x? What is that? We’re happy to show off our new version of ELMO documentation and training slides for general (released for public use next week) use off the main menu.
With these materials, we hope people will be able to learn ELMO at their own pace. They are still being refined, so look for finalized English versions by the end of the month with a version in French to follow shortly thereafter. Questions are still always welcome at: info [at] getelmo [dot] org.
- We are also working on new ELMO features to assist our partners in the human rights observation community, including automatic SMS alerts to trusted recipients. We’ll explain more about what these features are as we roll them out in the Democratic Republic of Congo in connection with our Human Rights House project later this year.
- Finally, with the help of volunteers, we’re making steady progress in our multilingual ELMO Online Interface (forms and questions have always been available in 180+ languages): French, Spanish, Arabic, and Korean have progressed nicely, with Kirundi on the horizon for this year as well.
The Carter Center is excited to share news about our continuing work with the Episcopal Commission of Justice and Peace (CEJP) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). CEJP is the Carter Center’s first partner in sub-Saharan Africa to use ELMO for citizen-led election observation. In the fall of 2014, CEJP members Cyrille Ebotoko and Marie Danielle Luyoyo Pwenika also joined the Carter Center for their first international election observation mission to become more familiar with our Democratic Election Standards and ELMO in the field. More than 100 long-term observers from CEJP will continue to monitor developments in the lead up to local elections and report their findings via ELMO SMS. As part of this effort, we would also like to acknowledge and thank Twilio, a San Francisco-headquartered telecomm organization, for their support in powering this SMS-driven project. Twilio has kindly provided SMS credits and discounted services to help advance the work of The Carter Center and CEJP in the DRC.
Following observation of local elections, our partners will engage in long-term observation of DRC’s several elections scheduled for 2016, including the presidential and national assembly elections. Stay tuned in the coming months for more details.
In the ELMO open-source community that is starting to emerge, we’re continually trying to figure out ways that partnerships can leverage the tool to impact areas beyond election observation.
Our friends at International IDEA have put a lot of thought and energy into electoral risk, and one result is their Electoral Risk Management Tool, or ERMTool. Governments, NGOs, and other agencies use the tool to build their “capacity to understand electoral risk factors, collect and analyze risk data, design prevention and mitigation strategies, and record the results of actions.” You can read more about the ERMTool’s knowledge modules, risk maps and trend charts, and mitigation strategies on their site.
The ERMTool is now an ELMO partner — welcome! — and we have begun collaborating on an integration that will bring the ERMTool into the real-time dimension, so that users can utilize both tools to assess electoral and governance environments. We’re working on our first pilot project now and looking for other potential candidate countries; feel free to reach out if you’re interested in learning more.
We’re excited about our growing partnership with Emory through the Institute for Developing Nations (IDN), which works to strengthen scholarship on development and provide direct support to development efforts in some of the poorest countries in the world. Through the generosity of IDN and the Laney Graduate School, the academic year 2015-2016 will see its first graduate student “ELMO Fellow” who will help us deepen ties towards scholarly application of the tool.
More about our Emory ELMO Fellow and the program can be found on this page. And stay tuned for updates as things kick off in the fall!
See ELMO at work in Tunisia during the fall 2014 elections with this snazzy video:
At a signing ceremony on March 13, 2015, The Carter Center and the Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) agreed to actively collaborate on ELMO. The ceremony was followed by hands-on training for senior representatives of ANFREL.
The “Open ELMO” initiative aims to build a system optimized for elections and other human-rights related observation, but in a collaborative, open-source way. The Center welcomes this opportunity to partner with ANFREL, Asia’s first regional network of civil society organizations, which also focuses on election monitoring in its member states including Sri Lanka, Nepal, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and East Timor.
Update: Our partner ANFREL recently shared details about our visit in its quarterly newsletter, which can be found here.
Program Associate Elijiah Lewien and Intern Francisca Gilmore explain how ELMO can work for civil society members in Myanmar.
At the invitation of several civil society organizations in Myanmar, the ELMO Team held a one-day training on the Carter Center’s observation methodology, use of democratic election standards, and ELMO’s data collection and analysis application. Sixteen representatives from nine organizations, including Enlightened Myanmar Research, the New Myanmar Foundation, and the Pandita Development Institute, attended the ELMO team training held on March 9 in Yangon.
The training generated conversation about the challenges in adopting communications technology for use in election monitoring or voter education and provided hands-on training on the ELMO platform. Afterward, several groups after the training expressed interest in continuing building partnership through the Center’s Open ELMO community. We look forward to seeing how these civil society organizations incorporate technology to better bolster change in Myanmar in the coming year!
Open Data Kit, or ODK, invited us to talk about our use of its Android-based data collection application in our election monitoring. You can read it here: