Apply for the CIPESA-ICT4D Fellowship Programme: Academia

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 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 Academia Fellowship Programme Continue Reading →

Online Civility Will Matter More Than Ever in 2017

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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Workshop Announcement: ICT in Governance – Kenya

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Interested in ICT? Interested in how it can be used to promote good governance in Kenya? Do you have your sights set on championing the path that ICT Governance in Kenya takes? Are you a University Student in Kenya? If you answered yes to all, then this workshop is for YOU!

The Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East And Southern Africa (CIPESA) is co-hosting and supporting a one day workshop that will explore these topics!

It will be held on Wednesday 30th  March, 2016, at the  Multimedia University and will be based upon  a Kenyan Report on how ICTs are being used in service delivery, democratic participation, social accountability and in citizen engagement.

A total of 50 students will be selected to participate in the workshop.

The expected outcome of the workshop is to create the next generation of ICT Governance champions, while demonstrating how ICTs can be used positively for good governance.

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Thanks to ICT, government secrets get ever fewer

In Summary

  • Social media tools were deployed to mount vitriol against perceived enemies, along the usual tribal contours that define our politics while degrading our capacities as a united nation.
  • Many government agencies have deployed ICT platforms to share documents that were previously inaccessible in their “hard-copy” state.

By John Walubengo

Have ICTs enhanced political participation, social accountability, public service delivery and citizen engagement in East Africa in the recent past?

These were the research questions behind a study commissioned by CIPESA, a regional think tank focusing on ICTs in East and Central Africa.

In Kenya’s case, the answers are found in its recently published ICTs in Governance report. Some, which make for interesting reading, are highlighted below.
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Reflecting on ICT for Democratic Engagement in Uganda’s Rwenzori Region

By Ashnah Kalemera

In the Rwenzori sub-region of western Uganda, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools have been key tools in promoting public accountability and improved service delivery. Through an ICT “convergence approach” that combines SMS, radio and online polling, Toro Development Network (ToroDev) has for the past five years promoted information and knowledge sharing for citizens’ engagement with their leaders on priority service delivery needs and concerns in the region.

ToroDev’s project, which is part of the ICT4Democracy in East Africa Network, has empowered local citizens in offline and online advocacy and engagement with duty bearers, trained radio journalists in reporting and promoting debate on accountability issues, facilitated quarterly accountability meetings between citizens and leaders, and supported the initiation of 15 civic groups in the region. The civic groups, also known as rural advocacy forums, consist of 80 members each, and are involved in citizen journalism and community mobilisation for the radio debates and accountability meetings.

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Promoting Access to Information and Digital Safety Awareness among Tanzanian Journalists For Upcoming Elections

By Gasirigwa G.S |

As the 25 October general election draws closer in Tanzania, journalists have been urged to be impartial in their reporting. Many have also taken steps to ensure that their digital communication is not compromised particularly when seeking information during the electioneering period.

In August, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Tanzania Chapter, in partnership with the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) organized two training workshops on access to information with special focus on digital safety for Media practitioners in Tanzania. A total of 40 journalists (13 women and 27 men) from Geita, Mara, Mwanza and Dar es Salaam received practical digital safety skills against a backdrop of discussion on the Access to Information and Media Services bills as well as the recently passed Cybercrime Act 2015 and Statistics Act, also of 2015..

The objective of the workshops was to enhance knowledge and skills of selected media personnel in various outlets in order to enable them to access relevant information, cover and report  factually and responsibly during the 2015 general election.

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Upskilling partners on the Human Rights Based Approach

By ToroDev Staff Writer |

A four day capacity building workshop organised by the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) and the Spider Centre was held in Kampala, Uganda between on 12 -16 October 2015.

ToroDev Executive Director, Jonhstone Baguma and the Communication and Documentation officer Kugonza David attended the workshop in which the Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA) in organisational programming and documentation was the focus of discussion.

Project documentation, empowerment and gender equality were some of the topics discussed at the workshop. Kugonza said, “The knowledge gained from the training will help ToroDev staff to improve in reporting, documentation, data base management, it will help in fundraising, proposal writing and it will also be shared with, other staff of ToroDev, the advocacy forums and other local NGOs ToroDev partners with”

ToroDev works with 15 rural advocacy forums and the Rwenzori Journalists Forum to promote citizen activism, transparency and accountability monitoring in Western Uganda. Local FM radio stations are used as hubs for information and knowledge sharing sourced through the internet (social media) and mobile phones (SMS) during which there is active engagement with local leaders and advocacy forum members on critical community issues.

 

Advancing Open Data Implementation in Africa

By Ashnah Kalemera

The push for open data that contributes to government transparency and accountability in service delivery and promotes citizens’ right to information and innovation in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector continues to gain prominence globally. Indeed, open data has been recognised as a key pillar of sustainable development. However, implementation of open data by African governments, civil society and the private sector is mostly in its infant stages, with some countries recording more success than others.

The demand and supply of open data in Africa is faced with numerous challenges including lack of complete data, authoritarian regimes, multiple fragmented actors, limited technical skills and capacity, inadequate infrastructure and low literacy rates.

On September 4-5, 2015, the government of Tanzania and the World Bank hosted the first Open Data Conference in Africa, that brought together the emerging open data community in Africa to showcase innovations and discuss opportunities and challenges to open data implementation.

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Promoting e-participation in Western Uganda

By ToroDev Staff |

Radio has proved to be a key tool in promoting public accountability and improved service delivery in the Rwenzori region of western Uganda. Toro Development Network (ToroDev), a non-governmental organisation that trains marginalised communities on service delivery monitoring and participation in governance processes, has reached wide audiences by supplementing their radio activities with additional Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) tools and traditional offline engagements. Continue Reading →

Promoting inclusive use of ICT in monitoring service delivery in Uganda

By Lillian Nalwoga |

For true democracy to flourish there is need for government transparency, greater access to public information, and inclusion of citizens’ voices in decision-making processes. The use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) can aid in increasing awareness and empowering citizens to meaningfully participate in governance processes such as monitoring public services delivery.  Continue Reading →