What Went Wrong?
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What Went Wrong?

Thanks to our partners at VOTO Mobile, the What Went Wrong? reporting system is up and running in Ghana! To provide information on an aid or development project in Ghana that has failed or has never been finished, please call +233 307084585 (from within Ghana, 0307084585). You can call and hang up — our automated system will dial you back for the survey. The mobile survey is currently available in two languages: English and Dagbani.

Users of the mobile survey are asked a short series of questions on their location, the type and sector of project they are reporting, any organizations known to be involved, and the current status of the project (for example: unwanted, unfinished, unusable/inaccessible, inefficient). They are also given an opportunity to leave a longer voice message, describing the situation in more detail.

For those outside of Ghana, Tweet @failedaid to report on projects across Africa.

School building, Gbale, Northern Region, Ghana. Photographed in 2014, the unfinished mud structure has since washed away during the region’s rainy season.

All reports submitted through the survey and twitter account will be verified by our team and then made public through social and traditional media. Vetted reports will be placed on our upcoming interactive map to begin to illustrate sentiment around foreign aid at the ground level. Our goal is to broaden the public discourse on foreign aid, cultivate a more nuanced understanding of the human ramifications of failed projects, and increase accountability of aid organizations moving forward. We also encourage use of our platform for updates on ongoing projects, so that Ghanaian communities can publicly keep watch on the development work happening on their doorsteps. By using the power of social media to aggregate disparate voices across Ghana — and eventually all of Africa — we hope to bring the voice of the beneficiaries to the forefront of the conversation around foreign aid.

Many thanks to VOTO Mobile and our supporters, The Brown Institute for Media Innovation and The Magnum Foundation.

VOTO is a Ghana-based tech startup and social enterprise. We make it easy for businesses, governments, and NGOs to share information and gather feedback through interactive SMS or voice calls in local languages — using mobile to instantly reach across distance, language, and literacy barriers.

The What Went Wrong? Foundation seeks to bring the voices of aid recipients to the forefront of the global discussion on foreign aid. Through phone and social media submissions, local Africans will be able to report on aid work in their own communities. The information they provide will appear on a map-based interface and will be redirected in social media posts toward any NGOs involved. Our reporting will broaden the public discourse on foreign aid, cultivate a more nuanced understanding of the human ramifications of failed projects, and increase accountability.



What Went Wrong? is a participatory journalism project, reporting on foreign aid from the ground level. Follow us @failedaid on Twitter and Facebook.

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Peter DiCampo

Peter DiCampo

Photographer. Cofounder @everydayafrica @evdayprojects. 2018–2019 @JSKstanford fellow. 2018 @pulitzercenter grantee + @THSEA artist.