By Wallace Mawire
Magamba Network, Citizens Manifesto in Zimbabwe and Orange Door Research, an international research organisation have partnered to launch a a pilot project to create a citizens voice index ahead of the 2018 elections in Zimbabwe, also as a new way to track public sentiments in the country in real time.
It is reported that persistent tracking index tacks changing public opinion in real time, using daily mobile phone surveys.The results are then shared with key civil society partners led by the Magamba network, via a secure online dashboard.
According to the network, this is a critical time in Zimbabwe as the country prepares for upcoming elections in July 2018.
It is also added that these are the first elections since former President Robert Mugabe’s resignation last November which marks a fundamental change in the country’s political landscape.
It is reported that civil society organisations working on issues related to governance and human rights will have to navigate a rapidly evolving environment.
According to Magamba network, in order for civil society organisations to do so, it is necessary to understand how the political developments shape public opinion, especially with regards to citizen engagement in th democratic process.
The index was started early February 2018 with key findings covering the period february through April 2018.
Orange Door Research collects 1 200 completed surveys per month using automated SMS mobile phone surveys, at a rate of roughly 40 surveys per day.
The SMS surveys are sent using random digit dialing.
According to the network, it allows the creating of a sampling frame without access to a pre-identified target population.
Some of the key findings include respondents being on whether the situation in the country had improved or deteriorated over the last five years.
In response, the survey revealed that overall 48% of the respondents said that it had gotten worse, 30% saying it had remained the same and 22% saying that it had improved.