Innovative Mela app enhances democracy in Thailand

Mela has proven its worth and effectiveness in a fascinating new domain of fieldwork: political campaign management and electoral canvassing. And in a particular difficult environment for that matter.

Using the powerful yet simple features of Mela on the field, a very young political team in Thailand was able to uncover the pressing issues of its constituency, identify the geographic distribution of its potential voters and manage its canvassing units, ultimately going from zero to hero as one of the preferred choices of the electorate.

Thailand, which has been ruled by a military regime since 2014, announced in early February that it would hold its first long-awaited general elections on March 24th - with only 40 days to go. Parties had very little time to organize themselves and prepare to campaign with a limited budget under strict rules that could see them easily disqualified for the tiniest mistake.

Racing against the clock, one young parliamentary candidate for Bangkok, Supraipon Chuaychoo, and his campaign manager Nanthida Rakwong decided to approach the challenge the data-driven way. 

Recognising the potential offered by Mela, Supraipon first started using the app’s geolocation features to plot the exact position of his electorate and to capture the sentiments of different voters with regards to parties and policies.

The data was gathered on the field, bringing Mela door to door to measure the hearts and minds of Thai people.

This wasn’t an easy task and the team faced several roadblocks, for example the fact that Thailand’s open maps (including Google Maps) are relatively inaccurate. However, their initial efforts later helped them navigate the newly charted waters, from every “soi” (Thai type of long side-street) to every housing estate block.

When it was time to start openly campaigning, the above groundwork served both as the northern star for the young candidate’s communication strategy as well as an effective dashboard to manage, track and monitor the promotional operations on the ground. The location-specific data helped tailor the message to people based on their past voting preferences.

It also helped establishing security processes for the field team, such as marking unsafe no-go zones where more aggressive opponents of Supraipon lived.

With only few days to go until election day, our courageous and innovative Mela user appears to have climbed the ranks according to the opinion polls, surpassing multiple traditional parties, and is tipped by some to be one of the preferred contenders. Regardless of the final outcome, he has certainly won at one race: collecting the most valuable amount of data in the shortest possible time thanks to Mela.

“Mela” means “gathering” in Sanskrit, and we hope that more people, including young and aspiring politicians like Supraipon who don’t have a massive campaign budget, will be able to use our platform to gather insights and people’s hearts to build a better world.