Stimulating the Civic Tech Arena in Uganda

By Daniel Mwesigwa

For many citizens across Africa, technology has not only bridged the communication gap between citizens and businesses, but also between governments and citizens. The potential of technology in enabling citizens to participate in governance processes, access public services, and engage with duty bearers has largely gained prominence due to the high internet penetration rates, increasing use of social media and a rise in civic consciousness.
At a recent civic tech showcase in Uganda, it emerged that, as in the rest of Africa, there was growing potential and enthusiasm in the country, with a wide variety of tools deployed by government, civil society and technologists to facilitate social accountability and citizen journalism. The challenge however, remains of creating awareness among citizens for wider adoption of the tools and collaboration among actors to ensure synergies and avoid duplication of efforts.
Continue Reading →

Young Social Media Enthusiasts in Kenya Trained on Internet Law and Digital Security

By Shitemi Khamadi |

In 2015, Allan Wadi, became the first Kenyan to be convicted of hate speech online. At a May 2017 training on internet and the law, he expressed gratitude for the opportunity to acquire skills and knowledge to avoid future arrest and prosecution. While he is currently facing an incitement to violence charge over a comment he made on Facebook in February 2016, he said he is now more aware of the extent of his rights and limitations with respect to the rights of others.
Continue Reading →

Youth in the Civic and Social Tech Arena in Tanzania

By Ashnah Kalemera |

Sandra Kitenge, a student of Mbezi High School, is determined to bridge the gender gap in technology in Tanzania. Having benefited from the Apps and Girls programme that empowers girls with computer literacy and coding-for-change skills, she sought avenues through which she could contribute to amplifying grassroots voices as part of electoral processes in Tanzania. The solution: an idea for a mobile app known as Tujibu (Swahili for “answer us”) through which grassroots communities can interact with leaders on their manifestos so they can make informed election decisions.
Continue Reading →

Showcasing Civic and Social Tech in East Africa

By Ashnah Kalemera |

As access to information and communication technologies (ICT) has continued to grow across Africa, so have technology-based initiatives that enable social accountability and the participation of citizens in promoting transparency and accountability in government operations.
In Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, there is a growing number of government portals for public sector information (PSI) provision, responding to complaints about quality of public services or for corruption whistle-blowing, and generally making PSI more readily available, such as open data portals and budget information websites.
Continue Reading →

Round 2 Now Open: CIPESA-ICT4Democracy Media Fellowship Programme

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.
Continue Reading →

Round 2 Now Open: CIPESA-ICT4Democracy Academia Fellowship Programme

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.
Continue Reading →

New Forums to Use ICT for Social Accountability in Eastern Uganda

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.
Continue Reading →

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.
Continue Reading →

My Work As A Leader Is To Improve Service Delivery, Alex Ruhunda

On 6th September 2014, the Member of Parliament of Fort Portal Municipality Hon Alex Ruhunda indicated his role as a leader. “My work as a leader is to deliver better services to my citizens. I did not come into office just to enjoy the opportunities, but to lobby for better services for the people of Fort Portal Municipality. People of Fort Portal need to work hard to see that our vision of having a city is realized”. Hon Alex was discussing on ToroDev’s live radio discussion called ‘Orukurato Program’, a 2hr weekly radio program that discusses issues of accountability every Saturday (08:00 – 10:00) pm.

During the program, Hon Alex gave accountability concerning the energy and water sectors. “Before I came into office, only 40% of Fort Portal Municipality had electricity, but now, it has risen to 92%. We are still extending electricity to other areas like Mugoma, Kyakaijo, Kidukuru, among others and all those that are near the municipality to see that they can all access electricity. We have also done a great work to see that all people in the municipality can access good and stable water. We have reworked on water pipes in places like Bukwali, and also planning to put a water pump at Kasusu market”.
Meanwhile, Hon Alex also indicated how all the roads have been tarmacked so as to boost development. “We have a chance that Fort Portal is at the center of many districts like Kasese, Kyenjojo, Bundibugyo, Ntoroko, among others. All the roads leading to these districts have been tarmacked apart from the one of Kamwenge that is under construction. We should therefore look at this as a big opportunity and exploit the available chances for development”.
Local listeners also participated through call-ns and using the SMS plat form to raise their issues and concerns. “I thank Hon Alex for keeping our town clean”, said Kamaiko from Kibiito Sub County, “All leaders should borrow a leaf and give accountability”, said Muhumuza Deus from Kamwenge District, “Hon Alex should either demolish or renovate the old buildings around Fort Portal Town”, said Rose from Fort Portal Municipality, “We are also requesting our leaders to give us accountability”, said Patrick from Burahya County, “Our MPs do not give us accountability”, said Byamukama from Kyenjojo District”.
The live radio discussion was moderated by Mr. Kasigazi Willy Donanto and issupported by SIDA/CIPESA and SPIDER/Stockholm University on a project aimed at using appropriate ICT tools to promote democratic engagement in the Rwenzori Region, Western Uganda.

 

ToroDev Trains Rural Monitors in Online Advocacy for Improved Service Delivery

ToroDev trained rural monitors from seven advocacy forums in the Rwenzori Region in using online tools to monitor service delivery. The maiden residential 2 days training involving seven leaders of advocacy forums, the coordinator of Rwenzori Journalist Forum and ToroDev staffs was held on 2nd – 3rd September 2012 at ToroDev resource center in Fort Portal Town. The training which is supported by ToroDev in partnership with CIDA was facilitated by Moses Owiny from WOUGNET. The training was intended to improve the skills of on line documentation and using online plat forms like Ushahidi, twitter, face book, u tube, blogging, and Skype.

Participants during the training

During the training, participants were advised on the use of the training. “The online training will help us to improve our skills of reporting not only bad things but also good things. This means that there will be a lot of improvement on our reporting capacity. Many of you had also forgotten your pass words of the Ushahidi Plat form, this training will help you to get new pass words, so that you can be able to post your service delivery issues on the plat form”, said ToroDev’s Johnstone Baguma.

Participants were also advised on what is expected out of them after the training. “By the end of the training, we would like to see a lot of online engagements, with a lot of service delivery issues concerning your sub counties. There should also be a lot of engagements with our leaders concerning the issues, for easy advocacy”, said ToroDev’s Solomon Akugizibwe.
Meanwhile, rural monitors indicated how the training had improved their skills of online documentation. “The training has improved my skills of documenting on line. I had forgotten how to use some of the tools like Skype and Ushahidi, but the training has helped me to retain them. This is therefore going to help me to disseminate all the service delivery information concerning my sub county on line”, said Mukwano Ssenyonjo, the Chairperson of People’s Rights and Forum for Development in Mugusu Sub County, Kabarole District.
ToroDev’s Shilla Amanya also appealed to the rural monitors to make use of the acquired skills. “I appeal to all the participants to make use of the acquired skills and not leave them to die out. Since ToroDev gave you lap tops and internet modems, we expect to always get several stories concerning service delivery issues and success stories from your sub counties on your face book pages and blogs on a monthly basis. We also expect you to use these plat forms to engage your leaders to give you accountability and also improve service delivery”.
The online/Web 2.0  training was supported by SIDA/CIPESA on a project aimed at using appropriate ICT tools to promote democratic engagement and accountability for improved service delivery in the Rwenzori Region, Western Uganda.