The network is composed of 7 partner organisations in Kenya (2), Tanzania (1) and Uganda (4) and this is a brief of their activities over the 10 month period.
CHRAGG – Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance
CHRAGG deployed an SMS system for human rights and good governance monitoring. The main challenge faced in setting up the system for affordable public use, was with regard to obtaining a toll-free SMS code number from the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority.
Nonetheless, while that negotiation was going on, they went ahead to train the staff of CHRAGG on using ICT in improving service delivery, by easing the means of submitting citizen complaints.
This campaign and training was then extended to secondary schools and civil society organisations. Fund permitting, the training will also include primary schools and expand to cover 10 regions in Tanzania, 7 on the mainland and 3 in Zanzibar.
Some of the other challenges faced include the ban on the use of mobile phones in schools, which limits students participation and the over load of advertisements supported by the mobile service provider.
CIPESA– ICT Policy Centre for Eastern and Southern Africa
The iParticipate project conducted an ICT needs assessment research in Central Uganda, Kasese and Gulu districts, citizen journalism training workshops in Kasese and Mayuge and a stakeholder workshop in partnership with WOUGNET. One of the key highlights of the iParticipate activities has been the difference between civic and political participation, with civic participation identified as more likely to have direct and tangible impact on the livelihoods of the communities.
CIPESA has also been active in the internet governance arena, organising and/or attending forums to address issues of interest at a national (UgIGF), regional (EAIGF and AfIGF) and international level (IGF). Additionally, they participated in the open data and open governance discussions internationally and nationally through the Uganda Civil Society Open Data Platform Reference Group.
They also served as joint facilitators for the ICT4DemEA network, in partnership with iHub, until Jan 2013, including showcasing the network and national and international events.
iHUB– Nairobi Innovation Hub
iHub has been looking at the potential of technology in the governance of water resources, particularly, mobile technology. The focus has been water governance in Kenya and they have done research, published white papers and held national workshops on the issue.
They conducted a field research to identify the kind of water information the citizens want, the challenges in accessing water and evaluate how mobile technology can be used to address these challenges.
The findings have been shared widely among the various stakeholders in Kenya and at international forums, such as the 2012 Africa-EU Cooperative Forum on ICT in Portugal.
In partnership with CIPESA, they co-facilitated the ICT4DemEA network until Jan 2013, with a focus on the network’s ICT platforms, namely the website and social media.
KHRC– Kenya Human Rights Commission
Focused on the use of ICTs in human rights and democracy, particularly in the use of new media for research and advocacy. They have been working to build the capacity of grass-roots human rights networks in the use of ICT to increase citizen participation in governance processes and to demand for government accountability.
KHRC was also active in training monitors for the 2013 Kenya General Elections and set up of a website and deployment of a bulk SMS service for monitoring the election process and any related human rights violations.
KHRC has also been active in the internet governance space, including co-organising an international internet governance conference and playing a leading role in the area of internet freedom advocacy in Africa.
TI-Uganda– Transparency International Uganda
TI is looking at ICT in the health services delivery arena. A toll free line was set up for members of the community to call in and report any challenges they face in accessing health services at their local health centers. Feedback is then provided to the relevant district authorities to take appropriate action. This facility has attracted so much interest, that it is being used by communities outside the project’s geographical area, which is the Lango region of Northern Uganda.
The project also employs radio, as well as social media platforms, such as facebook, as means to raise awareness and a forum for discussion of the issues affecting the health sector in the region. The project also initiated a development/service pact, with the aim of assigning specific roles to key stakeholders responsible for/or served by the respective health centres.
ToroDev– Toro Development Network
ToroDev joined the network in July 2012 with the aim of converging the different ICT tools available to the community to promote social service delivery in the Rwenzori region of Western Uganda, covering 7 districts.
They have held a series of trainings for members of the community at various levels to raise awareness about the need for citizen participation in monitoring service delivery.
They have also trained individuals, called rural monitors, in the use of ICT tools to be used in the service delivery monitoring and documentation, targeting a total of 210 monitors by the end of the project.
In addition to ICT skills training, ToroDev has held live radio talkshows on public accountability, and have involved 11 radio stations in the project, to expand its reach and effectiveness. The have also held public accountability workshops, bringing together the local leadership, including members of parliament, and the citizens. Some of the trained rural monitors, have gone on to create discussion forums within their communities to create a platform to address the issues they face.
Some of the challenges have been access to reliable internet connectivity and electricity, and ensuring the motivation of the rural monitors to continue using the technology skills acquired.
WOUGNET– Women of Uganda Network
WOUGNET has also been using ICT to improve social service delivery, by fostering community participation in monitoring social service delivery in 5 districts of Northern Uganda. This was done through what are called, Voluntary Social Accountability Committees (VSACs), which have a 70% women composition to ensure that their gender specific concerns are also addressed.
The primary technology tools for incident reporting and documentation are the Ushahidi crowdsourcing platform, mobile phones and community radio. The Ushahidi platform is being used in partnership with ToroDev.
Citizen engagement has been at the district level, however there has also been a national level conference on promoting good governance and accountability through ICT in Uganda, where findings are the district level were shared.
There has also been an effort to develop partnerships with other organisations outside the ICT4DemEA network, working to promote good governance, such as FOWODE.
WOUGNET assumed the role of Network facilitator from CIPESA and iHub in Jan 2013.