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 May 2013. More details available on the respective websites.
CHRAGG – Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance
The Commission has continued to create awareness of human rights and the SMS for human rights system, the campaign involved three regions (3) of which fourteen districts (14) were visited. The aim of this campaign was to educate ward leaders and districts officials. It also involved the training of three hundreds (300) students of Pendamoyo secondary school in Temeke, Dar es Salaam.
The CHRAGG attended the Stockholm Internet Forum Conference (SIF2013) in Sweden and took the opportunity to develop new contacts with people from different countries that were interested in the SMS for human right system.
In June, CHRAGG will officially launch the SMS for human right system. They will also meet the Tanzania Communication regulatory Authority to request a free five digit SMS number, as well as request a free service or toll number to be used by the project from the four service providers in the country, Vodacom, Airtel, Tigo and Zantel.
Twaweza CSO has shown interest in providing in-kind support through the production of publicity material (flyers, jingles etc) and airing of TV and radio jingles about the SMS for Human right system. This is a timely offer, since CHRAGG is facing budget cuts following the passing of the budget by parliament.CHRAGG is also preparing a proposal for submission to SPIDER to upscale the project.
CIPESA– ICT Policy Centre for Eastern and Southern Africa.
CIPESA is mapping health service delivery reports received from TIU via their toll free call centres on our crowd sourcing platform. CIPESA’s grassroots partner eSociety Kasese has also widely documented the plight of displaced persons resulting from the recent floods that affected the western region of Uganda. We welcomed a Spider Junior ICT expert on the team. Alberto is working on integrating social media (Twitter and Facebook) into the above-mentioned crowdsourcing platform so as to increase its reach. Besides this, he is also assisting on web and social media platforms on our other ongoing projects.
CIPESA participated in the SIF2013, and while in Sweden also made a presentation to the Spider board. Insights from the forum are shared here.
CIPESA was invited to speak in the balancing data protection and openness session at the eGovernment Conference in Helsinki, Finland in May 2013. The objective of the conference is to discuss eGovernment challenges. CIPESA also made contributions to newsletters of the Association for Progressive Communications, responded to inquiries from the Community Development Resource Network for knowledge and experience sharing, and was invited to attend the Open Government Partnership Africa regional meeting in Mombasa, Kenya.
Furthermore, CIPESA held a meeting with representatives of the Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa (OSIEA) on how to advance open governance and the right to information in the region, and another meeting with the Human Rights Network for Journalists in Uganda.
Over the coming weeks, CIPESA shall be launching its Open Net in Africa project comprising of advocacy and awareness raising campaigns in promoting and monitoring internet freedoms in the region.
iHub – Nairobi Innovation Hub
During the month of May, the research team spent time editing the stakeholder report including new information about new structures in the county governments that affect how the water governance cycle works . The team also organised and hosted the second water ideation hackathon. This event was well attended with various stakeholders from the water companies, private sectors and NGOs who contributed to the discussions. The participants came up with three water solution prototypes that can further be developed into water applications; the team will then return to the field to test how the citizen uses the applications.
The research team also attended a workshop organized by UNDP/Motorola at Strathmore University and contributed to the discussion on how mobile technology can be used as a tool to enhance transparency using examples from the mgovernance research in the water sector.
From the ideation workshop, the Nairobi water company invited the research team to witness how the users are trained in the Majivoice water application when the company conducts the next training session. Three other stakeholders that were unable to attend the ideation (KEWASNET, TISDA, HumanNeedsProject) scheduled a meeting in June share their insights.
A major concern for the research team is that despite applying for funding opportunities, they have not yet managed to secure additional funding to scale the project. This is worrying as there are several activities that the team would like to engage in, especially where it comes to the possibility of scaling the research scope to the education sector.
KHRC – Kenya Human Rights Commission
A number of activities revolved around use of ICTs to promote principles of good governance, rule of law and democratic values both at the organizational level and the community level continues to be effected with the help of the Hurinets. The use of social media as an advocacy tool remains to be a key activity of the Hurinets.
For example, Vision Facilitators Network in Laikipia, in the Rift Valley region, use Facebook to engage the public on various issues on human rights in addition to their offline work and the Kwale Human Rights Network use it to promote citizen participation in the devolved government system in order to ensure accountability within the new devolved system of government.
With the recent attempts of Kenyan Members of Parliament (MPs) to defraud Kenyans barely a month after elections, the KHRC convened a number of CSOs to plan a mass action against this move, both online and offline.
The rallying call was “Bunge sio biashara, bunge ni utumishi,” (Parliament is not a business but a service) and culminated in a demonstration dubbed ‘Occupy Parliament’, which involved a peaceful match to parliament until it was violently broken up by the police.
Additionally, the KHRC Facebook page contributed significantly in sharing and creating awareness of recent publications that are on the KHRC website such as ‘The Functions of Elected State Officers’, aimed at educating the public on the expected roles of their leaders especially in this new devolution system. KHRC has also applied to the service provider to switch to short code from 12 digit in order to make the SMS service more effective. The service has not worked properly since installation due to challenges of hosting the server at KHRC (as a security measure for human rights defenders using the system).
Overall, through the use of ICT, the Hurinets are able to effectively carry out their role as grassroots human rights networks as well to have an appreciation for ICT4D to articulate their work. However, the Hurinets raised concern over frequent power outages which slowed down their activities with regard to the use of ICT.
KHRC has already started the procurement process to support them with back-up generators for their power supply.
Going forward, KHRC is developing an integrated and institutionalized social media advocacy approach, planning on upscaling the project to offer further support to the Hurinets, and in partnership with the Global Partners & Associates, carry out environmental mapping of the internet freedom investigating laws and policies primarily in Kenya and possibly Southern and Eastern Africa. KHRC also hopes to collaborate with CIPESA on this research.
TIU – Transparency International Uganda
Collaborating organizations in Northern Uganda are interested in using the toll free line for community reporting in monitoring the Peace, Recovery and Development Plan for Northern Uganda (PRDP) funds. Partnership will include paying for the call charges which will help to financially sustain the technology.
Most healthcare challenges reported through the toll free line have been locally addressed. However, the phone calls from the community have reduced, TIU will find out whether the reduction is due positive impact towards solving health care challenges or the community health users are reluctant to report. Nonetheless, the project is continuing to document its project activities using Facebook.
TIU was also present at the SIF2013, where limited access to internet in developing countries was the key problem identified by participants from Uganda; in order to improve attainment of internet freedom, its important to first improve accessibility.
TIU has gained recognition by CSOs and Media in Northern Uganda and was was invited to take lead in conducting community debates that were organized and funded by the Justice and Peace commission on empowering communities towards fighting corruption.
Financial sustainability of the project still remains a challenge but efforts are being done to realize funding, including exploring funding opportunities from NED and Open Society Foundations.
ToroDev – Toro Development Network
In May, ToroDev conducted four live radio radio talk shows on public accountability for improved service delivery. The talk shows were held on HITS FM every Saturday (08:00 to 10:00 PM). Additionally, six laptops were given to five rural advocacy forums in the districts of Kabarole, Kyenjojo and Kyegegwa and to the Rwenzori journalist’s forum (RJF) operating in the seven districts of the Rwenzori region.
ToroDev also hosted Elly Gamukama, a PhD student from Stockholm University, who is developing tools to conduct his research on ToroDev’s intervention in using appropriate ICT tools for promoting public accountability for improved service delivery and democratic engagement in the Rwenzori Region.
Two leaders of Bufunjo People’s Forum (one of ToroDev’s initiated citizens’ advocacy forums) were appointed members of the board of the Health Centre III and the government aided universal primary education (UPE) school in their sub-county. They were identified by the Resident District Commissioner – Kyenjojo district because of their continued commitment to provide oversight support for improved service delivery in Bufunjo Sub-county.
Over the next few weeks, ToroDev will hold three (3) consultative meetings in communities with their local leaders discussing issues of service delivery in Kabarole, Kyenjojo and Ntoroko districts and carry out monitoring and evaluation meetings with rural monitors and members of the advocacy forums to assess the use of appropriate ICT tools for accountability and service delivery monitoring. However, limited electricity connectivity and poor internet signals in most rural areas remains a challenge for the rural monitors to effectively share and access information using the laptops for improved advocacy.
WOUGNET – Women of Uganda Network
WOUGNET continues to uploading content on the Ushahidi platform . Additionally, some committee members have used their mobile phones to call WOUGNET staff to report bad governance issues, while others have visited the project centre (KIC) and borrowed camera’s to document poor service delivery issues.
Some of the incidents include Five Health Workers of Otwee Health Centre III in Amuru Town Council arrested over negligence of duty; No water source at Bala health centre III (Kole district) and Kidilani Health centre II (Apac district); and Water scarcity in Tarogali parish Ibuje sub-count-Apac district such that people had resorted to drinking contaminated lake water since they had no other option. The stories are shared on multiple platforms including Ushahidi, KIC website, KIC facebook and ICT4D Youth Facebook pages as well as Indigo Trust.
The impact of citizen participantion is clearer to see everyday following changes that have been made as a result of citizen complaints, including Teboke health centre is currently opened early, that is by 8:30 a.m. The road from Teboke to Kole district headquarters has been graded and it is in a better state now. A new In-Charge has been posted to Bala Health centre III and this has improved access to services at the health facility. A twin staff house is being constructed at Aloni health centre II (Aloni parish, Iceme sub-county-Oyam district).
VSACs have made a follow-up on some furniture which was intended to be purchased for Aloni primary school during the financial year 2011/12 and the money had been diverted. However, the school bought 70 desks, 12 tables, 14 office chairs and 7 cupboards. The office chairs procured were of very poor quality and the VSACs rejected them so better ones have been made. A broken borehole at Acan Pi cell, Kidilani parish has been repaired and is now functioning very well. VSACs of Tarogali parish pressurized their councilors to repair a broken borehole as communities were now drinking water from the river Nile.
However, constraints remain. For example, limited access to ICTs hindering beneficiaries to effectively use them. There is still some fear to report officials. Some VSAC members have lost interest in the project and are no longer monitoring service delivery. As the rains come back, some VSACs are occupied in their fields. And there has been mismanagement of cameras by a few VSACs (one memory card lost while another crashed).
Nonetheless, there is still commitment by some VSACs in monitoring service delivery. Support from INDIGO Trust has provided capacity building of VSACs with ICT skills. And the project enjoys support by some local leaders.