The network is comprised of 7 partner organisations in Kenya (2), Tanzania (1), and Uganda (4) and this is a summary of their activities in April 2013. More details available on the respective websites.
CHRAGG – Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance
The Commission prepared and printed 2,000 flyers to promote awareness of the “SMS for Human Rights” system to the general public. The flyers, in Swahili, give instructions on how to use the SMS system and will be distributed to the general public during the awareness campaigns, public hearings and gatherings. An additional 2,000 copies will be printed when funds are available, hopeful it will be before the end of June 2013.
Unlike previously, the Government decided to pass its financial budget in April rather than July. The Management Information System unit participated in the preparation process in which CHRAGG’s Wilfred Warioba, as a budget officer, also participated in the activity held in Dodoma Region. The participation was crucial as this is where CHRAGG requested additional funds for the awareness campaign.
CIPESA– ICT Policy Centre for Eastern and Southern Africa
CIPESA commenced a mentoring programme for journalists in the northern region,particularly the districts of Gulu, Amuru and Kitgum, to use crowdsourcing and social media to report on health services delivery. The journalists are also being mentored in theuse of social media for social accountability. A particular focus is on the Peace,Recovery and Development Programme (PRDP), the government’s post-conflict blueprint for the northern region.
Participated in the Symposium on ICTs, Governance and Peace-building in Eastern Africa in Nairobi. The meeting brought together scholars from Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia), Strathmore University (Kenya), Simad University (Somalia), CIPESA (Uganda), University of Pennsylvania (USA) and Oxford University (UK) to examine the reasons behind the radically different approaches Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia have developed towards ICTs, Governance and Peace-building and draw comparative lessons that can be extended to other countries in the continent.
We continue to receive positive indications from our partners about the constituencies they are serving, who they say are increasingly using ICT, including social media, in interacting with other citizens and in discussing issues of concern to their communities. Particularly, the Kasese e-resource center is now posting their stories on YouTube. This is attributed to the Web 2.0 and social media training conducted through partnership with ToroDev and WOUGNET. Some of the videos are available here; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmKU01yyK-Q&feature=youtu.beK, http://youtu.be/TGKvJRzu37U, http://youtu.be/D5Q9liRhQLg
iHub – Nairobi Innovation Hub
iHub Research hosted a Water Ideation workshop held together with the iHub User Experience Lab. During this workshop the research team was able to present the findings from the ongoing research and discussed with the participants different approaches to providing citizens with mobile applications that provide water related information. However, because the turn-out from stakeholders in the water sector was very low, they were only able to gather of very little information at the workshop. The research team plans to host another ideation workshop where it is hoped that they will collect more insights from the stakeholders.
As part of the requirements for submitting a book chapter in the book “Technology Development and Platform Enhancements for Successful Global E-Government Design” edited by Dr Bwalya, K.J.(University of Botswana), iHub Research was requested to peer review and edit a chapter from one of the other authors. The research team was able to review and send comments to the organizer of the book and now await the feedback from the chapter on m-governance that iHub Research submitted.
The main challenge faced was that the Kenya general elections period affected the m-governance research activities. This is because, until the announcement of the Supreme Court decision on who the winner of the 2013 elections, many stakeholders were hesitant to confirm participation. The ideation workshop which took place immediately after the inauguration ceremony was thus poorly attended because most people we invited responded that they could not leave their work to attend the workshop.
KHRC – Kenya Human Rights Commission
Following, the successful and peaceful elections and the Supreme Court ruling on the 2013 Presidential election, it is upon Kenyans to play their role in ensuring good governance. Monitoring of various activities such as the Kisumu reaction after the Supreme Court ruling, swearing in of county reps and election of CDF committee members and other activities relating to the new devolution system. The hurinets were able to capture photos of these events which were provided to the KHRC. In Mombasa, Hurinets also used voice recorders during the visits from the President and the former Prime Minister before and after the Supreme Court ruling to record what was said in case of any incitement to violence in a highly politically tense environment. The use of social media as an advocacy tool remains to be a key activity of the hurinets. Through the use of their facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/vifanet.kenya?fref=ts Vision Facilitators continue to engage the public on issues around civic education especially with regard to the constitution and the roles of the elected state officers.
KHRC also posted a new publication on the Functions of Elected State Officers both on Twitter and Facebook as part of civic education. The publication outlines the functions and responsibilities of elected state officers who include the President, the Deputy President, the Governors, Women Representatives, Senators, Members of Parliament and County representatives. This is against a backdrop of a new demand by the newly elected Parliament for salary increase as soon as they got sworn in even before doing any work. The publication came about as a result of ICT4Democracy in East Africa Monthly Project Update studies by KHRC that revealed the public is largely ignorant on the new system of a devolved government. It outlines the amount the elected state officers will earn from the taxpayers and urges the citizen participation in ensuring they are kept accountable.
Additionally, this facebook page has proved effective on creating a dialogue on human-wildlife conflict which is a major issue in Laikipia. Uploading of photos on facebook and YouTube was also instrumental for the same.
The challenges faced included; difficulty in uploading videos on YouTube, especially where it proved to be very costly for a number of the Hurinets with slow internet connection s. The need for the use of a mixed-media approach especially where social media is mostly accessible to the youth and a such the older generation are left out.
TIU – Transparency International Uganda
Community health users from different parts of Lango region (northern Uganda) have called the toll free line (currently 5-10 calls a day) to report health care challenges at their health centers. Calls have continued to be received beyond project geographical area. The project staffs are updating the respective district officers regarding challenges being reported from various health centers for actions/solutions to be provided, however our first approach always is solving the problems at the health center level.
The social media page has become a key part documentation and sharing of information with global internet users. TIU has received more request for additional information from the page visitors. Most project images and their captions are always uploaded on www.facebook.com/StopAbsenteeism.
TIU jointly implementing an ICT project “Action for Transparency” that aims to fight corruption and mismanagement of government funds by putting the power to monitor the funds in the hands of citizens. Using a mobile phone with Internet access, anyone will be able to check the amount of government money pledged to each public primary school and public health clinic – and the amount actually spent. The project is being implemented in Kampala, Mukono and Wakiso areas in Uganda and in Lusaka, Zambia. The partners are, Transparency International in Uganda and Zambia, UMDF (Uganda Media Development Foundation), ZAMCOM (The Zambia Institute for Mass Communication) and Fojo Media Institute, Sweden.
ToroDev – Toro Development Network
ToroDev held an accountability workshop with Bufunjo People’s Forum in Bufunjo Sub County to facilitate engagement between the local leaders and the local citizens for discussions on service delivery and accountability. The workshop was mobilized using FM radio, MobileSMS, facebook and bulk e-mailing. The use of social media tools was primarily to attract the young people to the meeting.
They also facilitated a meeting between representatives of the local community of Mugusu Sub County, Kabarole District and the District Chairperson, to address the community’s priority service delivery needs. These included; a water gravity flow scheme for access to clean water, road and bridge repairs in the sub-county and the lack of toilets and safe water at Magunga Primary School.
ToroDev continued to hold the live weekly radio talkshows on public accountability for improved service delivery. The talk shows are held on HITS FM every Saturday evening.
They also held a monitoring and evaluation exercise assessing the performance of the advocacy forums in using appropriate ICT tools to monitor service delivery and demanding accountability from local leaders in the Rwenzori Region district of Kabarole. Five advocacy forums in Kabarole district were monitored. Local citizens’ Advocacy forums have increased from Seven (7) since November 2012 to eleven (11) in April 2013. The forums are initiated and led by rural monitors trained by ToroDev in partnership with WOUGNET in online advocacy for democratic engagement for improved service delivery.
The primary challenges faced are that physical participation of people from remote areas on radio programs is still a challenge, however ToroDev has encouraged them to use appropriate ICT tools like SMS and call-ins to participate on the live talkshows which they have embraced. Secondly, some leaders are still inaccessible to the local community; many of the local leaders are not willing to give accountability to the local people and tend to threaten local citizens who demand accountability.
WOUGNET – Women of Uganda Network
WOUGNET continues to work with the Voluntary Social Accountability Committees (VSACs), to report incidents of both poor and good service delivery on the Ushahidi platform. Examples include; in Angu Parish, Oyam District, the VSAC noticed that at a construction site where a sub county structure was being built, concrete wasn’t mixed well, the VSACs then advise the builders and constructor to demolish the building and start afresh, the builders refused later the VSAC reported to the sub county authorities, who ordered for the work to be re-done.
Another incident was at Angic primary school in Bala sub county where the Headmaster of the school was sending his teachers (Government school) to teach in a private school living children from his school untaught when the VSAC heard about it, they visited the headmasters office and warned him of the practice, they then stopped immediately and he apologised to the VSAC saying it won’t happen again.
Among other information uploaded include:-
Aporwegi Primary School to benefit from teachers’ houses under NUSAF II.
Challenges facing Aporwegi Primary School in Toro parish, Amuru Sub-County.
Increased water shortage in Pagak Parish, Amuru Sub-county is as a result of community negligence.
Amoikoma VSAC mobilized water users to raised funds to restore the broken bore-hole.
More Details of these stories are available on http://www.wougnet.org/ushahidi/reports.
The key challenges faced include; the high illiteracy level that is hindering beneficiaries to effectively use ICTs. Transport challenge as the VSAC say that at times there are issues that they need to follow up on but due to long distance they do not go. Power blackout especially with the return of the rainy season. Poor mobile phone network in some communities that frustrates the training when visits are made. And some local officials disregard and refuse to offer information to the VSACs when they are visited.