Futurelect app to address civic education gap

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Lindiwe Mazibuko, CEO and founder of Futurelect.

To promote civic education among SA’s young voters, former Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko has launched an app under her Futurelect company.

South Africans will go to the pollson 29 May to elect the political party to lead the country in the seventh administration, in what is expected to be the most contested election in the last 30 years.

The Futurelect Civic Education app is targeted at the youth demographic aged 18-30 years. It leverages the Independent Electoral Commission’s API integration to allowreal-time retrieval of voter information.

The app gives users access to their voter information and features self-paced courses designed by experts in politics, academia and government. The content is delivered through a gamified online experience.

It deploys smart tracking to allow users to see how much of the course they have completed, and then recommends the next lessons to take based on completed courses.

According to Futurelect, civic education is absent from the educational system at every level. “As soon as young adults reach voting age at 16, they are expected to participate in the democratic process without being equipped with the necessary understanding of political systems, democratic principles and the roles and responsibilities of those they elect into power. This leaves them ill-prepared to make informed decisions at the ballot box.”

“The Futurelect Civic Education app aims to provide information through an interactive, digitised and simplified way; the course material covers all aspects of the Constitution in a way that everyday people can understand.”

The Electoral Knowledge Network states that a person of 16 years or older may apply for registration but, if the application is successful, the applicant’s name may only be placed on the voters’ roll once the applicant reaches the age of 18.

Founded by Mazibuko eight years ago, Futurelect is a non-profit, non-partisan organisation promoting leadership development and active citizenship. It trains young and ethical leaders for public service across the African continent. It also aims to drive civic education to dispel misinformation and promote access to information.

There are plans to tailor the app’s content and extend its relevance to other democracies across the African continent.

“Interacting with the government should not be confined to election periods. To ensure the success of democracy, citizens must grasp the diverse avenues for active participation between elections,” it says.

“The content provided in the Futurelect Civic Education app remains continuously relevant, striving to cultivate awareness of civic responsibilities and foster ongoing engagement.”

The free-to-download app is available on iOS, Google Play Store and Huawei App Gallery.

Prior to her resignation as DA parliamentary leader, Mazibuko was the first black woman to be elected to the post of leader of the opposition in the National Assembly in SA. She was also one of the youngest MPs to be appointed parliamentary leader of the opposition at the age of 31.

In 2022, Mazibuko launched an initiative to educate regulators on emerging technologies.

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