What Must Change?” For More Gender Equality Online

Posted onMarch 19, 2017 
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Storify |

ICT Gender equality

This International Women’s Month, we reflect on what presently shapes women’s participation in the online arena. On International Women’s Day, 8 March, we hosted Akina Mama Wa Afrika, Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET), Connecting Voices of Citizens (CVC) and the Ask Your Government (Uganda) online portal in an online Twitter chat during which we asked “What must change?” to enable a more inclusive online community which recognises gender equity.

See some highlights from the chat here

Apply for the CIPESA-ICT4Democracy Fellowship Programme: Academia

Posted onMarch 10, 2017 
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Fellowship Opportunity |

About the ICT4Democracy in East Africa network

The network works in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda to achieve two top-line objectives: 1) Increased citizen participation in governance and the realisation of human rights through ICT; and 2) Improved transparency and accountability of governments through ICT. Partners in the network are the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA), the Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET), Transparency International Uganda, iHub Research (Kenya), the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), the Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRAGG, Tanzania) and Toro Development Network (ToroDev). Read more about the network here: www.ict4democracy.org.

 Aim of the Fellowship Programme

The CIPESA-ICT4Democracy Fellowship (Academia) aims to nurture university students’ and early career academics’ understanding of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for governance, human rights and development. By engaging members of the academic community, the programme benefits partners of the ICT4Democracy in East Africa network through placements of individuals with skills in fields such as ICT, mass communication, and informatics, within the partner organisations. Ultimately, the programme aims to grow links between the academic community and practitioners in the ICT field for mutual research, learning and knowledge exchange, so as to create the next generation of ICT for democracy and ICT for human rights champions and researchers.

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Apply for the CIPESA-ICT4Democracy Fellowship Programme: Media

Posted onMarch 10, 2017 
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Fellowship Opportunity | 

About the ICT4Democracy in East Africa network

The network works in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda to achieve two top-line objectives: 1) Increased citizen participation in governance and the realisation of human rights through ICT; and 2) Improved transparency and accountability of governments through ICT. Partners in the network are the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA), the Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET), Transparency International Uganda, iHub Research (Kenya), the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), the Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRAGG, Tanzania) and Toro Development Network (ToroDev). Read more about the network here: www.ict4democracy.org.

Aim of the Fellowship Programme

The CIPESA-ICT4Democracy Fellowship (Media) aims to raise media understanding of, and its effective and consistent reporting of ICT-for-Democracy issues in East Africa. It is expected that the fellowships will result into increased quality and regularity of reporting, as well as a greater diversity of voices, in coverage related to ICT, democracy and human rights. Read more

Gender Digital Divide Persists in Africa

Posted onMarch 8, 2017 
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By Juliet Nanfuka |

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Last month, the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) released its Affordability Report 2017 which indicated that while the world will this year mark a significant milestone of 50% global internet penetration, large numbers of women in developing countries remain offline because “they cannot afford to connect.”

The A4AI report’s findings echo earlier reports on the longstanding gender digital gap that is the result of prevailing social and economic barriers including illiteracy, gender roles and various forms of discrimination. In 2013, a report by the Broadband Commission estimated that 200 million more men than women accessed the internet. Similarly, according to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), in 2016 the difference between the Internet user penetration rates for males and females was largest in Africa (23%) and smallest in the Americas (2%).

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New Forums to Use ICT for Social Accountability in Eastern Uganda

Posted onDecember 9, 2016 
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By Ashnah Kalemera|

Under the ICT4Democracy in East Africa initiative, the Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) has initiated 12 forums in eastern Uganda, which will use various Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) tools, as well as offline methods, for social accountability.

The forums, each comprised of 12 members, were formed in the districts of Tororo and Busia in October 2016, expanding the network of WOUGNET’s Voluntary Social Accountability Committees, or VSACs, who monitor and report on service delivery failures and mobilise citizens to participate in governance processes.

Members of the forums include representatives from Local Councils, as well as members of pre-existing community water, health, agriculture and education management committees. They also include representatives of youth, women, Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) and persons living with HIV/AIDs groups.

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Amplifying Community Rights Through Social Media in Kenya

Posted onNovember 18, 2016 
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By Ashnah Kalemera |

khrcchat

Human rights violations incidents are on the rise in Kenya with extrajudicial killings and police brutalityamong the cases reported recently. Social media has enabled quick reporting of such cases while also creating increased awareness of the reported incidents. Through a mix of Twitter, radio and physical engagements, the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) is improving its effectiveness in promoting human rights and documenting violations in the lead up to the 2017 national elections.

The commission is seeing success in mobilising citizens for protests and marches, as well as getting stakeholders to participate in debates related to human rights. Through quarterly Twitter chats, the KHRC is popularising various human rights issues and bringing to the fore struggles faced by communities that have little online presence and who have limited avenues for participating in community affairs.

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Using SMS to Promote the Right to Health in Tanzania

Posted onNovember 18, 2016 
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By Ashnah Kalemera |

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In pursuit of strategic mechanisms to promote and protect human rights in Tanzania, the Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRAGG) has this year embraced the use of digital technologies to advance the right to health among vulnerable communities and human rights practitioners in five regions in Tanzania.

In August 2016, CHRAGG embarked on a campaign that leverages its SMS for Human Rights reporting system to improve rights awareness and protection for some hitherto marginalised groups. Under the drive, up to 100 commission staff at the head office in Dar es Salaam and three regional offices (Mwanza, Lindi and Zanzibar) have been trained to improve their understating of the right to health and to enable them to appropriately handle related violation reports received through the digital platform.

The CHRAGG training also benefited 190 individuals including sex workers, the elderly, women, health practitioners and local leaders who were trained on the principles of the right to health and how to monitor and report rights violations. Most of the training beneficiaries (61%) were female.

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A Year In Review 2015: ICT4Democracy In East Africa

Posted onAugust 18, 2016 
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The intersection of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and civic engagement continues to gain popularity as more citizens adopt the use of tools to engage with each other, and with civic organisations and the state. While empirical evidence suggests that the rate at which this is happening remains debatable, the ICT4Democracy in East Africa network is using various forms of ICT tools to promote civic participation in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda and working to overcome challenges such as gender and geographical disparity in use of ICT.

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Has Kenya’s ICT revolution triggered more citizen participation?

Posted onJune 22, 2016 
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By Making All Voices Count | Communication between the state and citizens is an essential element for an equal and just society. Growing social inequalities, lack of proper public services, and denial of basic human rights all act to widen existing communication gaps.

Key to bridging these gaps is ensuring not only that citizen voices are heard, but also that states have the capacity and incentive to listen and respond. As much of the literature on accountability focuses on citizen voices, a group of researchers from Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and Tanzania – in collaboration with the Institute of Development Studies – decided to look at state responsiveness. Read more

Online Civility Will Matter More Than Ever in 2017

Posted onApril 7, 2016 
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By John Walubengo | The 2017 electioneering period has really and truly kicked in. Is the country ready to deal with the discourse that is emerging in the blogosphere and spilling into the real world?  With a large number of Kenyans, most of them young people, actively online, a large part of next year’s general election is likely to be fought online.

Unfortunately, the online agenda is likely to mirror the offline agenda, which is characterised by retrogressive, tried-and-tested tribal contours. As a generation that has failed to live up to the Kenyan Project, as Dr Ndii so provocatively described it, the least we can do is to try and inspire future generations to succeed where we failed.

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