mardi 4 novembre 2014

How social media at DGTrends catalyzed fastest AU response, Burkina Faso

How social media at DGTrends catalyzed fastest AU response, Burkinafaso

The high level dialogue trends held in Dakar, from 30 – 31, 2014 will be remembered for its extensive use of social media to facilitate citizen participation during its sessions. During the Session featuring H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, Ms. Thuli Mandosela of the Ombudsman in South Africa, Cyrille Guel a participant at the DGTrends youth pre-forum dialogue begun tweeting the events from Burkina Faso and tagging the hashtag #DGTrends.

Thuli Madonsela @ThuliMadonsela3
When news broke on situation in I was on panel with Obasanjo on Silencing the Guns in Africa through good governance.


Cyrille Guel’s tweet below on the #DGTrends timeline that was being beamed on the screens begun causing murmurs in the room.

Cyrille GUEL @CyrilleGUELL
The National Assembly of Burkina is on fire. The protesters are taking on national television that they now ransack

This was the tweet that turned captured the attention of the room, gathering over 25 Ambassadors representing their countries at the African Union, former heads of state, Ministers, Civil Society and all representatives of African Union Organs.

Cyrille GUEL @CyrilleGUELL
insurrectional climate here in Ouagadougou, protesters began to gather in front of the Presidency

Following these tweets, the social media team started pulling webpages of leading news agencies to verify the tweets. A hour later, BBC published live pictures of the event, causing a stir in the room. The Commissioner for Political Affairs, Dr. Aisha Abdulahi on seeing the images immediately moved the African Union into action. A press conference was held within twenty minutes with Ambassador Chambers, H. E. Olusegun Obasanjo and Commissioner Abdullahi. Arrangements were immediately made for the departure of the delegation. Their plane left Dakar at 6 a.m. on 31 October, 2014. Four hours later, the President of Burkina Faso Resigned. See Press Statement: “The African Union Commission is highly concerned about the situation in the Republic of Burkina Faso. The Commission has received news of the protests earlier today. It is monitoring the situation and wishes to urge the People of Burkina Faso to remain calm. The Commission also urges the Government of Burkina Faso to respect the wishes of the people as well as the prevailing Constitution of the Republic of Burkina Faso. The Commission reiterates its commitment to zero tolerance on unconstitutional change of Government and respect for the rights of citizens to peaceful protest. The Commission calls for urgent and coordinated international action to ensure that the situation does not escalate any further. The Commission will continue to work with the Government and other stakeholders in Burkina Faso to ensure the restoration of lasting peace and order.”

During the Press Conference, Ambassador Chambers confirms delegation of UN, ECOWAS and AU will depart immediately for Burkina Faso.
Perhaps the tweet below captures the sense of what moved the African Union to Act. The high level dialogue thanked the team running citizen engagement and social media for catalyzing the fasted ever response of the African Union to an Unfolding Crises.

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