By Varyanne Sika
There might be unanimity in the excitement about ICTs in Africa but there remains little empirical evidence on the ways of actual use of ICT and in particular, for our study, in governance. Governance, as we approach it in this study, has a political and social component, and is responsive to the present and future needs of society. Information and Communication Technologies are anticipated to improve governance. One of the key things we want to investigate is HOW they can, and are doing so, for where they have been adopted in East Africa.
iHub Research, as part of the ICT4Democracy East Africa network, seeks to study the innovative initiatives leveraging ICT for and in governance in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The ICT and Governance study in East Africa seeks to identify, describe and analyse conditions under which ICT tools can or have successfully facilitated or hindered two way interaction between government and citizens.
An introduction to this study can be found here.
To understand ICT use for governance in East Africa, the study is focussing particularly on the following four areas of governance;
- Access to information
- Service Delivery by Government
- Tracking Corruption
- Civic Participation (transparency and accountability).
This study will be conducted in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The specific cities and towns in the three countries were selected based on the presence of ICT4Democracy EA partners in the towns and other reasons explained below;
1. In Kenya, the study will be carried out in Nairobi and in Nakuru. These selections were based on prominence of ICT initiatives in these areas. Nairobi, as the ICT hub in the East African region was a natural fit for the project. Nakuru, on the other hand, is thefirst town in Kenya to get free Wi-Fi therefore enabling citizens to have access to unrestricted internet connectivity. This move was aimed at “enhancing ICT in ensuring better service delivery and simplifying public participation in governance through social media.”
2. In Uganda, the study is being conducted in Kampala, the capital city, and in Apac, a peri-urban town which is also a post conflict area. Kampala being the capital city, has prominence of ICT use and infrastructure while Apac is one of the towns in which there exists heavy use of ICT tools for governance as we discovered in our exploratory study.
3. In Tanzania, the study is being conducted in Dar-es-Salaam and in Mwanza. Both cities have a high presence of organizations and projects whose central theme is ICT for Development, within and outside of the ICT4Democracy EA Network.
Are you based in any of these cities/towns and know of any ICT-based initiatives addressing governance issues that we should check out? Please share with us by filling out this form. Your input will help us in mapping initiatives all across the East African region for future ease of reference, so we thank you in advance for your participation.
Based in other areas in East Africa? You are welcome to share with us (in the comments section below, or via the form above), on any innovative ICT tools used to improve governance in your area.