A Year In Review 2015: ICT4Democracy In East Africa

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?

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

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! Read more

Thanks to ICT, government secrets get ever fewer

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 | 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. Read more

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.

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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.  Read more

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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ICT and Governance in East Africa: Dar es Salaam Dissemination

By Varyanne Sika |
In July, iHub Research went to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania to discuss findings from out ICT and Governance in East Africa study. This was the second of our dissemination forums outside Kenya. Before Tanzania, we went to Kampala in Uganda to share findings from the same study (read a brief recap blog on the Kampala dissemination here). The purpose of these events in the cities where the study was conducted, is to take back the findings from the data we got, to the people and organizations who gave it to us.

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