Mina's List / Voatz Mobile Platform
Our solution's stage of development:Early
Mina's List and Voatz are developing a mobile platform, utilizing the blockchain and security technology, to help women candidates safely manage their campaigns and receive campaign donations, via a built-in money transfer system and overcome barriers to political leadership. The platform will launch in advance of Nigeria's 2018 primary elections.
Women all over the world are disadvantaged when it comes to having access to capital for starting a business, crowdfunding, political campaigning, and more. Our solution addresses the fact that lack of financial resources is one of the greatest barriers to women’s entry into politics.Women candidates are limited by a number of factors at different times in their political careers, including disadvantaged economic status, discrimination and restrictive gender norms, and lack of access to traditional fundraising networks and financial credit. Recognizing the profound gender gap in political finance, women need alternative resources and tools to help level the playing field.
Why our solution will solve the problem:
Research shows when more women are elected to political office, a greater number of laws are passed to promote women’s rights; countries experience higher standards of living, including positive developments in education, infrastructure and health; and tangible gains are made for democratic governance, including decreased corruption, greater cooperation across party and ethnic lines, and more sustainable peace.
Online and mobile fundraising as an alternative to in-person solicitation significantly reduces female candidates security and safety concerns. Providing early access to capital when the overwhelming majority of women candidates are eliminated during the pre-electoral period allows more women to run for office.
Our target outcomes:
The purpose of our solution is to increase women’s equal and substantive representation in Nigeria’s national government by helping aspiring women candidates, who commit to advancing women’s rights (economically and socially), overcome the economic and social barriers that prevent their access to political decision-making through training, mentoring and technology.
How we will measure our progress:
The populations we will benefit initially:
The regions we will benefit initially:
The technologies we employ:
Why our solution is unique:
Voatz is a mobile focused election voting and citizen engagement platform, secured and anonymized by advanced cryptography, offering advanced analytics and built on a highly optimized Blockchain-based backend providing complete real time transparency and irrefutability. Depending on the security requirements of the specific jurisdiction, Voatz uses multiple data sources to verify identity/eligibility wherever required. All kinds of voting events are supported, and groups can also campaign "direct-to-app" to voters who have opted in and engage with their constituents in an easy and highly targeted manner. Digital fundraising is supported subject to local and international laws.
Why our solution is human-centered:
Globally only 1 out of 5 legislators is female, and in 37 countries, women account for <10% of parliamentarians. Our solution for this underserved community combines Listening Sessions and Empowerment Workshops with a political fundraising technology platform. We will receive feedback from aspiring women political leaders in Nigeria directly influencing the design process. Women candidates utilizing mobile communication and fundraising platforms are not bound by geography, thus they can safely raise money from friends, family, and other supporters outside of their immediate constituency. We will scale, build a community around the platform, and personalize outreach to expand the community.
How people will access our solution:
Our solution will be deployed via mobile phones and conveniently located mobile tablets. We support the major smartphone platforms (Apple iPhone 5s or newer) and Android phones running Android OS version 5+. For the initial pilot phases, we are also seeking community/corporate grants to provide compatible smartphones to women candidates that do not own their own phones and for the initial messaging and transaction fees to be waived.
Technology-Readiness Level:6-8 (Demonstration)
How we will sustain our team financially:
The non-profit organization Peace is Loud is supported by individual donors, foundations and a speakers bureau for women peacebuilders that provides an additional revenue stream for the organization. We have received preliminary funding for the pilot from individual donors and are seeking additional funding from individuals, foundations, corporations and government agencies, including United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Previous funders for Mina's List pilot in Afghanistan include UN Women. Within three years, the pilot technology will be licensed for additional revenue.
The factors limiting our success:
In addition to economic disparities, other obstacles to women’s political representation include gender-based discrimination, hostile media environments, unequal access to political networks and institutions, intimidation and violence. Mina’s List trainings, mentorship program, and the provision of necessary resources like personal security services or partnerships with media outlets help to address these additional barriers. Potential external factors include political instability, corruption, lack of adequate banking or regulatory systems, mobile carrier coverage, or adequate smartphone penetration could further present challenges to achieving the goals of the pilot.
How long we have been working on our solution:1 year
How long it will take to develop a pilot:6-12 months
How long it will take to scale beyond our pilot:12-18 months
Our expected annual budget:
How much of our budget we've secured to date:
We're looking for partners in these fields:
Why we're applying to Solve:
We're looking for access to the MIT Solve Network + Mentors & Resources that will enable us to scale this solution beyond the initial pilot. We would also appreciate any introductions to other countries and/or political systems that may be open to piloting our blockchain based solution.
Our current partners:
Peace is Loud (Mina's List), Voatz, Access Now, Salesforce, Melissa Powel (Google), Women's International League of Peace and Freedom (WILPF) Nigeria, Dr. Iyabo Obasanjo, Afghan Women's Network, Jennifer McCarthy (Parliamentarians for Global Action)