Our vision is a nation self-organizing from the ground-up.
Together, we seek to rekindle the ability to act together that defeated Apartheid and with it transform and strengthen our democracy.
To do so, we aim to create solutions that enable communities and individuals to act together with more endurance, skill and independence from above than is feasible today.
In doing so, we seek to bring to life the Freedom Charter's first and principle demand, that the people shall govern, and to create a beacon for our continent as it enters its century.
We're deploying simple, purpose-built tools for mobile phones, to solve real problems for ordinary men and women with the fire to create change in South Africa's marginalized communities.
In our cities, those areas account for over half of our population, only a fifth of income, and an even lower share of governance. In them, the tasks required to organize—to summon people together, to decide on priorities, to keep track of results and action—are time-consuming and expensive or provided only by political parties. This can cripple attempts to tackle those issues where neighbours trump parties, such as basic services and physical safety.
The voiceless find their voice and the teeth to compel a response when acting together. In South Africa, the density of organizing in our communities was instrumental in defeating Apartheid. After the transition to democracy that organizing capacity was co-opted or closed down, which severely weakened downward accountability in our country. Technology cannot overcome that problem on its own. But it can help.
A PLATFORM FOR COMMUNITY ACTION
Grassroot was registered in March2015. We spent our first few months in extensive research to identify what tools would be most useful on the ground. From speaking to activists and organizers across South Africa and both developed and developing countries.
The tools—and the platform that combines them—connect to, leverage and complement what already exists. That includes plans to integrate with WhatsApp, Facebook and others, as well as campaigning, reporting and open data platforms. We do not intend to reinvent the wheel.
Grassroot differs from but complements those efforts, building tools that enable community leaders and members to take action themselves—a platform for community action. It works on any phone, be simple to use, optimized for our context, and open to all.