Hours after the official announcement of Mohamed Morsi’s presidency, two young tech-savvy Egyptians created an oddly named website, the MorsiMeter.com, to monitor the new president’s progress.
With thousands of hits flocking the website as it went live, developers Amr Sobhy and Abbas Adel knew their project was bound to be a success.
The Morsi-Meter is a “a tool to update people and to hold the president accountable to his 64 promises for the first 100 days of his presidency,” explains Sobhy.
In his bid for presidency, Morsi has pledged in his campaign that his first 100 days of office will solve 64 pressing issues for the country, namely bread shortages, traffic, security, fuel shortages, and sanitary conditions.
So away from all the opinionated blogs, editorialized news and argumentative content, Sobhy and Adel broke away from the opinion clutter and decided to rather share information with people so they can form their own judgments.
“My role is to put the numbers,” says Sobhy. “We focus on data, we are just presenting the resources to people so they can have an opinion.”
Although Sobhy graduated the faculty of pharmacy, he had been working in internet and communication technologies. So together with his software engineer friend Adel, the idea came to them naturally. Inspired by the “ObaMeter” that was created in the US to monitor president Barack Obama’s promises, Sobhy and Adel decided to spring into action.
“We wanted to be positive and move forward, we thought that we could be objective and help people feel that they can have an opinion, that they have a say in the presidency of Morsi,” says Sobhy.
The team was hoping to change people’s ideas that the president is an idolized leader but instead, think of him as an employee of the state that can be held accountable.
With a team of young activists on board, the Morsi-Meter’s main source of information is the media and what is publicized about the president’s actions and decrees.
Sobhy says that while monitoring the media is a great source, they need to have an official channel of information, which could very well be achieved in the coming weeks, he says, as officials from the president’s office have been cooperative with the team.
Further down the line, the team hopes to add another feature on the website which would be able to measure the level of people’s satisfaction from the president’s actions.
Courtesy amr sobhy
The Morsi Meter is not the founders’ first web-based project. A year ago, Sobhy and Adel created an online initiative, Zabatak.com, focusing on sharing the information from people on the street and mapping violations across the country, such as bribery, theft and corruption.
Sobhy explains that word of mouth is a major source of information for people. “This could be a tool […] to share information so that people,” says Sobhy. The website was aimed at being an informative platform to mark, for instance, theft areas so people can be more aware.
The project was intended to establish contact with government officials but no one has responded to the group’s requests. Instead, Sobhy says that with a group of people they were able to carry on a campaign for the theft of cars enabling a number of stolen cars to be retrieved.
So why would two young Egyptians go into the trouble of creating non-profit projects like the Morsi-Meter and Zabatak.com?
“We are doing this project for the sake of wanting to do it,” he responds most naturally. “We have skills with the internet and online so we wanted to contribute [with those skills and knowledge] towards the [development of] country.” et