Project Description

Open Up #SAElections2019

OPENUP is in NPO that builds tools, opens up data and provides training that supports active citizenry and helps communities and government to work together.

Social Surveys Institute #SAElections2019

SOCIAL SURVEYS INSTITUTE is an NPO that provides communities with easily accessible data through processes that act as a catalyst for their own mobilization and advocacy initiatives.

Elections Polling


Social Surveys Africa and OpenUp are piloting an innovative and interactive model of generating online polling data and feeding the results back into media to stimulate greater youth engagement and public participation in the electoral process. This project aims to encourage voters to think about what is important to them and for them to engage with different parties on their policy positions.

The underlying questions for the polling process are to determine the barriers to youth engagement in the electoral process and how these can be addressed, and to measure what determines how undecided people are likely to decide – what are their main policy concerns and/ or are they influenced by policy positions at all or by other matters


  • The Khetha! App ( this is an innovative online application for fast and low-cost large-scale polling on social and political issues. Khetha means ‘choose’ in isiZulu. Participant engagement incentives: Khetha! is designed as a game which incentivises users to participate in polling through the possibility of winning airtime or larger prizes for remaining engaged and responding to new polls over time. A single user therefore builds up a profile over time by completing short polls and tasks, which can be analysed in relation to each other.
  • The content of the app includes weekly short polls, quizzes and interactive activities which require participants to engage with external information (such as conversations with friends or local party representatives, reading manifestos, etc.) and giving feedback on what they have learned from these engagements. The polls are designed to track changes in respondent attitudes toward voting over time (whether to vote and on what basis to choose a party), based on their exposure to reflection (by answering questions), information (by doing activities) and media discussions (outside the app but informed by data generated by the app).
  • The application is online rather than downloaded onto a device, which means it requires little data and can be easily and continually updated with new content material. The app nonetheless allows for users to be notified on their devices when new ‘game’ modules are available, driving retention.
  • Ita media partnership with the Big Debate will see the current  season of the Big Debate, which runs for 8 weeks from 10 March – 28 April 2018, integrating live polling into the show for the first time as a means to increase audience participation. The Khetha! team is the official online polling partner of the Big Debate, along with another OSF-partner, Grassroot, which is running a USSD polling line. The Khetha team provided the technical inputs to compile the polling information from the different channels including Khetha, USSD, Twitter and Facebook.
  • The initial poll on land policy was completed by almost 30,000 respondents in the space of three days (Saturday, Sunday, Monday). 13,324 were counted as recognised votes by the end of the Big Debate show on Sunday evening.
  • The poll was picked up by at least one political party, which mobilised supporters to vote, almost doubling the number of total voters after the live TV show. While these votes were not included in the publicly reported poll results, as it skewed the results significantly, it confirms that polls are considered important points of mobilisation and influence by political parties.
  • Media influence through regular press releases: The Khetha team releases at least weekly press releases to share the results of polls related to the Big Debate’s weekly shop theme. The first press release was distributed widely through Khetha partner existing media networks as well as through the OSF network of media partners. As the evidence base on the Khetha app grows, regular press releases and ‘news flash’ format materials will be produced and distributed to print and radio outlets, including community radio stations, through various OSF partners.


The Khetha! App
The Khetha! App through the Big Debate platform
Press Release 1