Government Responsiveness on ICT tools deployed: Preliminary Findings Nakuru

By Nasubo Ongoma|

We live in a digital age where most services are online, one tweet could change your life (examples). The government is not left behind and is actively using the internet to reach out to its citizens. iHub as part of the ICT4Democracy East Africanetwork, is undertaking a research project to assess government responsiveness on the ICT tools launched. Data collection is currently being carried out in Nairobi, Nakuru, Mombasa and Kisumu with key informants from the government (national and county), civic society and software developers, armed with this quest, we set out to Nakuru county. It is worth mentioning that it is campaign season, with the uncertainty of the return of the incumbent governor, we reached out to the staff of the ministry of ICT in the county, but they did not show. We are still trying to get an interview with them.
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Using SMS to Promote the Right to Health in Tanzania

By Ashnah Kalemera |

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

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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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.


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.

ICT4Democracy in East Africa: Promoting Democracy and Human Rights Through ICTs

Established in 2011, ICT4Democracy in East Africa is a network of organisations working to promote democracy and human rights through Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Across the three countries, partners are leveraging on mobile short message service (SMS), toll free call centre, FM radio, social media, crowd sourcing platforms and direct community engagement to implement projects that tackle issues such as corruption, service delivery, respect for human rights, freedom of expression and access to information.

The projects are driven by the shared vision of the immense potential that ICTs have in increasing citizens’ participation in decision-making processes and strengthening democratisation.

The partner organisations are: the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA), Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRAGG), iHub Research, Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), Toro Development Network, Transparency International Uganda and Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET).

The network is supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the Swedish Program for ICT in Developing Regions (Spider). CIPESA is the network regional coordinator.

Read more about the network in the profile publication here.


Kabarole Leaders Give Accountability Concerning The Health Sector

On 30th August 2014, leaders of Kabarole District appeared on HITS FM to give accountability concerning the Health Sector. “We have tried to deliver what the local citizens requested us when we were aspiring for our offices. We have built a maternity ward at Rwengaju Health Center III, and also planning to equip it with facilities like beds. We have also built a maternity ward at Nyabuswa Health Center in Mugusu Sub County, and planning to equip it with furniture”, said Hon Rwabuhinga Richard, the LCV Chairperson of Kabarole District, during 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.

A congested maternity ward

During the live radio discussion, Hon Rwabuhinga further indicated how a lot of lobbying has been done for different health centers, so as to create better services closer to the local citizens. “Different Health Center IIs have been promoted to Health Center IIIs such as Nyantabooma, Kakinga, and Nyabuswa. We have also built Health Center IIs in places like Nyamiseke, Kiboota, Nyakitokole, Kirere, Kasesenge, among others. However, these health centers still lack staff quarters, but we are still lobbying to see that they are also constructed”.
The live radio discussion was also attended by Dr. Obedi Moses, the District Health Officer of Kabarole who indicated the common diseases affecting Kabarole District. “There are top ten causes of sickness that have affected the people of Kabarole, malaria being the most common at 28.5%, pneumonia at 10%, diarrhea at 3.5%, skin diseases at 18% and others at 2.7%. We are encouraging the community to sleep under mosquito nets so as to reduce malaria cases”.
Local listeners also participated in the live radio discussion through call ins to raise their issues and concerns. “VHT(Voluntary Health Teams) are helping a lot yet they are not given any support”, said Asiimwe from Nyantabooma Parish in Kicwamba Sub County, “We have a problem of bilharzias in Nyabweya Parish that is being caused by the poor water”, said Ruta Kenneth from Kasenda Sub County, “Services in our health centers are so poor with a lot of medicine stock outs”, said Amanyire from Kyenjojo District, “We are told to buy medicine even when we visit Buhinga Referral Hospital”, said Samalie from Fort Portal Municipality.
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.

Kabarole District Chairperson Gives Accountability

On 23rd August 2014, the LC V Chairperson of Kabarole District Hon. Rwabuhinga Richard appeared on HITS FM to give accountability. “From the month of March 2014, we were visiting different sub counties of Kabarole District, giving accountability and also carrying out down ward planning. In April, we passed a budget that totaled to 28 billion which we divided among the different sectors like health, agriculture, education, management, among others. The chairman 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.

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Rural Monitors Launch Nkoma Advocacy Forum

Nkoma Advocacy Forum in Nkoma Sub County, Kamwenge District is one of the fourteen advocacy forums that are communities own initiatives formed by the 120 rural monitors who were trained by ToroDev in on line advocacy, monitoring service delivery using online social media/ ICT tools like Ushahidi plat form for on line documentation, visualization and mapping.
 On 20th August 2014, over forty members of Nkoma Advocacy Forum with support from ToroDev launched their forum, to get accreditation and recognition from their local leaders, and also to promote transparency and accountability among the local leaders in Kamwenge District.
During the launching, Miss Harriet Mujuni, the Chairperson of the forum indicated some of the activities of the forum. “As Nkoma Advocacy Forum, we advocate for better service delivery from our local leaders, do research concerning service delivery most especially government programs and projects,  lobby for better services from the government and also demand and promote public accountability in our district”
Miss Harriet further indicated the wide spread corruption in Kamwenge District that has hindered development. “Kamwenge District is lagging behind in development because of lack of accountability amongst the local leaders. Money that is meant for development activities has been diverted by the district workers, and no action has been taken against them due to lack of civil society to make engagements”.
The launching was also attended by Mr. Solomon Akugizibwe, the Media and Communications Officer at ToroDev, who encouraged the rural monitors to do advocacy and make their leaders accountable. “You should not stop on launching this forum but move on and advocate to making your leaders accountable. I also warn you against involving politics in your advocacy, because it may fail the forum and also divert your mission and goals”.
Meanwhile, the Kamwenge Resident District Commissioner appealed to the rural monitors to register their Forum at the District level, so as to encounter greater achievements in the district. “Forum members should register their Forum at the district and National level, so as to realize greater achievements in the district, and also have greater lobbying opportunities”.
The advocacy forums are supported by SIDA/CIPESA on a project aimed at using appropriate ICT tools to promote democratic engagement in the Rwenzori Region, Western Uganda.