With 1.5 billion users in 180 countries, WhatsApp is a hard platform to ignore, especially for a global organization. We’ve long used multiple digital channels to communicate with our audiences during the various stages of our programs, with Whatsapp becoming a particularly powerful tool this year. Our mission at AL is to make governance work for people and this work involves supporting active citizens far and wide, especially in remote parts of the countries where we operate where access to reliable information and technology can be difficult. 

WhatsApp is proving to be an essential tool for how we can reach the most marginalized communities and provide them with the information they need to hold leaders and institutions accountable. Users need only visit this link and save the number as “Accountability Lab” to start interacting with the channel. We’re using the platform to support our network labs in the work of two of our flagship campaigns – our Coronavirus CivActs bulletins and Integrity Icon. 

The Lab has moved quickly amid the Covid-19 pandemic to lean on our experience in feedback models and launch the Coronavirus CivActs Campaign (CCC). The campaign gathers rumours, concerns and questions from communities across the country to eliminate information gaps between the government, media, NGOs and citizens.

Weekly bulletins are produced addressing context-specific concerns in local languages through our network labs in Nepal, Pakistan, South Africa, Mali, Nigeria and Liberia. All these bulletins are made available through our WhatsApp channel in the easily downloadable jpeg format. 

Integrity Icon is a global campaign powered by citizens in search of honest government officials which we established in Nepal in 2014 and have since initiated in a dozen countries across four continents. Users are able to nominate an exemplary public servant for the campaign by simply following the prompts and providing us with the relevant information. The specific country team then follows up with both the nominator and nominee to confirm the details and include the name in their database.

We’re busy experimenting with polling and also looking forward to rolling out our voting process for Integrity Icon. We look forward to your feedback about the channel. Save our number and say ‘hi’ to chat about our Coronavirus CivActs Campaign or message the word “Icon” to nominate an amazing public servant! Any ideas for us? Please contact us at [email protected]g.