In an effort to drive more meaningful voter engagement in Nigeria’s 2023 general elections, Yiaga Africa, a leading non-partisan, non-profit organisation, partnered with Infobip, a global cloud communication company to implement an innovative WhatsApp conversational chatbot solution to better connect with, and educate voters across the country.
A first-of-its-kind project for Infobip in Africa, the voter education chatbot named #MyElectionBuddy was developed to provide critical election-related information to the citizens of Nigeria, in line with Yiaga Africa’s drive to increase voters’ education and citizen engagements.
Isaac Akanni, Customer Growth Manager for Africa at Infobip Nigeria, who led the project implementation, noted that this election is crucial for the country, and concerned organisations like Yiaga Africa have worked hard to ensure that eligible voters have all the right information they need to cast their vote at the polls.
Lack of information
“Even though large numbers of people usually register to vote, a relatively lower number turn out in the polls. This is because people often struggle to obtain information about how to cast their votes, where to vote, how to get or renew a voter’s card, or which polling unit they fall under,” he said.
“Voter education was therefore the biggest challenge Yiaga Africa was looking to solve, and they wanted to address it through a comprehensive WhatsApp-driven chatbot that would reach many people.”
The developed chatbot can answer an array of users’ questions and links to the official electoral websites where voters can find external information, like election results.
Global Presence, Local Reach
Akanni explains that after being appointed to the project, Infobip completed implementation by 1 February 2023, amidst very tight timelines.
“With time, we will continue to improve the chatbot and its functionality. However, the user feedback has been positive since the launch, clocking thousands of active users.
Akanni says Yiaga appointed Infobip based on the strength of its solutions and local presence. Infobip gave them a good understanding of the technical requirements to deploy a project of this scale and local insights into the kind of user experience and content that would resonate with Nigerians. One initiative that resonates with the public is the inclusion of a pledge for peace. This feature allows users to win a peace badge for pledging to keep things peaceful and non-violent during the election process.
“We are very honoured to be associated with a prestigious organisation like Yiaga Africa, which has promoted participatory democracy, human rights, and civic participation in Nigeria through its numerous initiatives. With the fantastic relationship we have built with this project, we are confident that we will continue to work together to explore other use cases to help them achieve all their objectives in Africa.”
According to Mark Amaza, Senior Communications Officer at Yiaga Africa, the chatbot increased voters’ confidence in participating in the elections.
“The WhatsApp chatbot enabled us to reach thousands of voters with accurate and timely information in the 2023 Nigerian elections. This information ranged from understanding the electoral process, locating their polling locations, and knowing how to track election results.”
Amaza says they especially appreciate how the Infobip team supported them with the development and launch of the project.
“Infobip ensured that we understood how the chatbot would work and built our capacity to maintain it as an important communication channel for our organisation. Importantly, they were always prompt to respond to inquiries and troubleshoot problems, providing us with 24/7 support.”