FIFAFRICA19: The Sessions, The Lessons, and Takeaways

By Hilda Nyakwaka |

The Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa event this year was hosted in Addis Ababa between 23rd and 26th September. This event was considered monumental because a few months prior, there were internet shutdownsand this was a testament to the progressive strides Ethiopia was making in creating an open and accessible internet for its citizens.

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‘People With Disabilities Left Out in ICT Jamboree’

By Marc Nkwame |

AS more Tanzanians join the digital world of Information Communication Technology (ICT), the majority of people living with disabilities have been left out, according to stakeholders.

It has been observed that in their quest to optimize profits, equipment suppliers, content producers and mobile communication service providers skip the needs and rights of persons with disabilities wishing to access such services.

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Social Media Dos and Don’ts for Civic-Engagement: Relevant Tips for Social Media Activism

By Sandra Acheng |

On 25th June 2019, WOUGNET participated at the 5th annual social media conference at Xanadu Collection hotel organized Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Uganda. The theme of this year’s conference was Social Media and the Prospects for Digital Politics in Africa. The conference was attended by journalists, activists, media experts, bloggers, and social media influencers, representatives from government, political leaders, civil society organizations and representatives from the academia.

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WIN Against Cyber Criminals? The Computer Misuse and CyberCrime Act 2018

By Lincoln Njoku |

Regular cyber-attacks and attempts carried out on both private sector and government bodies are now a real threat, one that cannot be ignored and must be proactively dealt with. Successful attacks in the recent past have brought about devastating financial and reputational impacts on the victims. Increasing use of technology, digitization of systems and growing e-commerce trends mean that the number of Kenyan citizens and organizations vulnerable to cyber attacks is high. Despite its benefits, the use of technology comes with its fair share of risks.

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Tanzania: 38 NGOs Call on States To Express Concern Over The Human Rights Situation

Press Release |

Today, DefendDefenders and 37 Tanzanian, African and international human rights organisations publish a letter calling on states to use the next session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) to raise concern over Tanzania’s situation in order to prevent a further deterioration.

Since a group of 30 NGOs first wrote a letter on Tanzania, in August 2018, the space for human rights defenders (HRDs), civil society, journalists, bloggers, the media, LGBTI persons, and opposition and dissenting voices has continued to shrink. The situation in Tanzania, which ranks 118th in Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index this year, calls for a response at the United Nations. This can be in the form of individual (national) or joint statements by state delegations.

In the letter, the group of NGOs say: “While we do not believe that at this point, the situation calls for a [HRC] resolution, warning signs of a mounting human rights crisis exist.” We echo the statements delivered in recent months by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and call for preventative engagement with the Tanzanian government.

Read the full letter.


  1. AfricanDefenders (the Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network)
  2. African Freedom of Expression Exchange (AFEX)
  3. Amnesty International
  4. ARTICLE 19
  5. Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
  6. Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia (AHRE) – Ethiopia
  7. Association for Progressive Communications (APC)
  8. Center for Civil Liberties – Ukraine
  9. Central Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (Réseau des Défenseurs des Droits Humains en Afrique Centrale – REDHAC)
  10. The Centre for Peace and Advocacy (CPA) – South Sudan
  12. Civil Rights Defenders
  13. Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA)
  14. Committee to Protect Journalists
  15. Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
  16. DefendDefenders (the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project)
  17. Geneva for Human Rights / Genève pour les Droits de l’Homme
  18. Human Rights Defenders Network – Sierra Leone
  19. Human Rights Watch
  20. International Commission of Jurists
  21. International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
  22. International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA)
  23. International Service for Human Rights
  24. The International Youth for Africa (IYA) – South Sudan
  25. JASS (Just Associates)
  26. Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC)
  27. Ligue burundaise des droits de l’homme ITEKA – Burundi
  28. MARUAH – Singapore
  29. The Network of South Sudan Civil Society Organizations in Uganda (NoSSCOU)
  30. The Nile Centre for Human Rights (NCHR – South Sudan)
  31. Odhikar – Bangladesh
  32. The ONE Campaign
  33. Southern Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (SAHRDN)
  34. Reporters Without Borders
  35. Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights
  36. Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC)
  37. West Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (ROADDH/WAHRDN)
  38. World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT).

This article was first published at the website of DefendDefenders on May 13, 2019.

2019 Edition of the Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa (FIFAfrica) Set To Take Place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Announcement |

On September 23-26, 2019 the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) will host the sixth Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa (FIFAfrica). This landmark event convenes a spectrum of stakeholders from across the internet governance and online rights arenas in Africa and beyond to deliberate on gaps, concerns and opportunities for advancing privacy, free expression, non-discrimination and the free flow of information online.

This year, FIFAfrica will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where since April 2018 the new Ethiopian government has undertaken unprecedented political and economic reforms. These have included release from jail of thousands of prisoners, announcing plans to liberalise the telecom, aviation, and transportation sectors, and dropping charges against many opposition leaders, bloggers, and activists. On the internet freedom front, the new administration has restored mobile and broadband internet services that had been disrupted since 2016, and unblocked 246 websites, blogs, and news sites that had been inaccessible for over a decade. These pivotal developments serve as an avenue to advance more progressive efforts on internet governance and promotion of human rights online, not only in the country that hosts the African Union (AU) but on the continent at large.

Hosting FIFAfrica in Addis Ababa is also in keeping the stride of expanding the conversation, as well as knowledge and skills development to different parts of the continent. In its inaugural years, the Forum took place in Kampala, Uganda. Since then, FIFAfrica’s expanding footprint has seen it being hosted in Johannesburg, South Africa in partnership with the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) in 2017 and in Accra, Ghana in partnership with the Media Foundation West Africa (MFWA) in 2018.

The Forum responds to rising challenges to the enjoyment of internet freedom in various countries, including arrests and intimidation of online users, internet disruptions, and a proliferation of laws and regulations that undermine the potential of digital technology to drive socio-economic and political development on the continent. FIFAfrica therefore puts internet freedom on the agenda of key actors including African policy makers, regulators, human rights defenders, law enforcement representatives, and the media, paving the way for broader work on advancing online rights in Africa and promoting the multi-stakeholder model of internet governance.

Registration and call for session proposals will open later this month. For the latest on the Forum, follow @cipesaug. The event hashtags are #FIFAfrica19 and #InternetFreedomAfrica.

Does Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning have a place in Governance?

By Daniel Midega |

Learning processes are facilitated by communication, self-reflection, and dialogue. The learning objective underlying Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) is to determine failures and under performance within a system, essentially employing it as an investigatory tool to improve programme design and plan solutions.

Moreover, M&E facilitates comparative study among strategies, which could be manifested into analytical, action-oriented reports that facilitate effective decision making and efficient problem solving or prevention. Therefore, the contribution of M&E towards learning and reflection subsequently provides management teams with high quality information made available for the policy- and decision-making process.

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ToroDev Trains Journalists in Online, Gender-Sensitive and Investigative Reporting to Improve Public Service Delivery

News Update |

The One day training was conducted on 21st, March 2019 at St Joseph Inn Virika and it was facilitated by Madam Enid Ninsiima from Daily monitor Kasese and Madam Josephine Kasenda of Rwenzori Women’s Network. The main aim of the training was to build the capacity of reporters and other journalists to enable them acquire knowledge and skills in Gender-Sensitive Reporting on Improved Public Service Delivery in Health, Education, and Economic Development & Investigative Journalism in the Rwenzori Region.

Participants who attended the journalist training

The Twenty five (25) journalists were sampled from eleven (11) local Fm radio stations located in the 5 districts of the Rwenzori Sub Region and different print and electronic media (New Vision, Daily Monitor etc) attended. 90% of participants were from the radio stations and 10 % from other media.  The selection of participants was 50% Female and 50% male. The participants appreciated the training and these are some of the comments they shared

Mr. Bamanyisa Patrick leader of Rwenzori Journalist forum during the training

Investigative journalism has declined in the Rwenzori Region, so this training will orient and awaken us to deeply investigate a single topic focusing on health, education, youth livelihood program and others”. Said Mr. Bamanyisa Patrick leader of Rwenzori Journalist forum.

From this training I have learnt that one of the most important skills of a good reporter is the ability to simply, convincingly, and clearly explain what he/she wants to say. A good way to do so is by comparing with generally known information or everyday situations”. Said Kirungi Patra News editor KRC FM.

I thank ToroDev for organizing this training, it’s good that I have got knowledge regarding Investigative reporters which will help me  determine what has happened according to the existing evidence, and very often predict what is going to happen.”. Said Gerevazio Ngabirano of  Voice of Kamwenge.

Journalist in a group discussion

“The truth is that I didn’t have enough knowledge to write an investigative report I am happy to attend this training”. Said Muhumuza Willy of bridge FM

Conducting undercover research is often illegal and in some cases journalists can face criminal prosecution. As well as criminal sanctions, investigative journalists could also face civil claims if they breach personality rights or commit deception. I call upon all the journalists to love their work and enjoy it”. Said Enid Ninsiima the facilitator of the training.

Miss Enid Ninsiima sharing with the journalist

Gender sensitive reporting is important because people need to be informed about different programs that can benefit them in their own country”I call upon journalists to educate masses on gender issues”.  Said Josephine Kasenda of Rwenzori Women’s Network.

Miss Kasenda Josephine of Rwenzori Women’s Network during the meeting

Leveraging ICT to Promote the Right to Information in Uganda: Insights from Ask Your Government Portal

By Loyce Kyogabirwe |

Despite the existence of legal and regulatory frameworks that promote the right to information, access to public information remains a big challenge in Uganda. The potential of ICT to promote citizens’ access to information is widely acknowledged and in 2014, the government and civil society partners launched the Ask Your Government (AYG) web platform that allows citizens to make online information requests to government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

However, four years on, it is evident that most citizens might not be aware of their right to information let alone the procedures for accessing information and data that is held by public bodies. Meanwhile, public officials continue to ignore citizens’ information requests despite efforts to equip both the duty bearers and rights holders, including information officers, journalists as well as women’s rights organisations,  with knowledge and skills on rights and responsibilities.

User statistics from the AYG portal show an increase in the number of requests as well as number of public agencies registered on the portal. Between 2014 and 2016, only 243 requests were submitted to 76 agencies. But by June 2018, the number of information requests submitted had reached 2,450, to 106 MDAs (20 Ministries, 60 Departments and Agencies and 26 to Local Government Officials).  

Use of Ask Your Gov Uganda Platform between 2013 and 2018

The highest number of information requests have been submitted to the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) –  350 between June 2014 and June 2018, followed by the Ministry of Defence with 152.

However, the nature of requests lodged still indicates a misinterpretation of what falls under a public information request as most of the submissions are related to internships and Tax Identification Numbers (TIN). Perhaps this is an indication of the priority information needs of many of the portal’s users.  

Also of concern is the low response rate to information requests. Of the 2,450 requests submitted between June 2014 and June 2018, only 121 have been indicated as successful and and 102 as partially successful, representing an average response rate of 9%.  Less than 1% of requests (20) were rejected while those still awaiting responses are 2,074 or 85%. The 85% can be regarded as refusals under section 18 of the Access to Information Act (ATIA), 2005 which states: “an information officer fails to give the decision on a request for access to the person concerned within the period contemplated under section 16, the information officer is, for the purposes of this Act, regarded as having refused the request.”  The response period is 21 days.

In some cases where public information was requested, users were advised to visit the respective MDAs in order to access such information. For example  Davidson Ndyabahika, a journalist working with Uganda Radio Network, requested for statistics of enrolment and performance of both private and public primary and secondary schools in Ntungamo District from 2010 to 2016 from the Ministry of Education and Sports. He was advised to physically visit the Ministry offices where he would be cleared first before accessing such information. Such a response  indicates challenges with digitised information storage and retrieval among public agencies although section 10 of the Act mandates information officers to ensure that records of a public body are accessible.

Equally, there are cases where limitations of the portal have emerged and information has been withheld because it can only be provided after payment of the statutory search fees. The ATIA specifies a non-refundable access fee of Uganda Shillings (UGX) 20,000 (USD 5) which remains a high cost for the majority of the population.

The limited levels of government responsiveness to information requests and uptake of AYG by both citizens and public officials impact upon initiatives working to promote access to public information for social accountability and civic engagement. This calls for more capacity enhancement, sensitisation and awareness raising among public officials of their duties and responsibilities as laid down in the Access to Information Act.  Likewise, MDAs ought to utilise the different ICT platforms and tools to proactively release public information as prescribed in the Act and make efforts to ensure that citizens are aware of such information and where to find it.

Under Section 7 of the Act, public bodies are mandated to compile manuals containing descriptions, addresses, the nature of work, services and how to access information within six months after the commencement of the Act. However, 13 years since the law was passed, only the Ministry of Lands and Urban Development has adhered to this requirement. Indeed the ministry was in 2015 awarded the most responsive public entity as part of commemoration of International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI).

Likewise, section 43 of the Act requires every minister to submit an annual report to Parliament on requests for records or access to information made to a public body under his or her ministry indicating acceptance or rejection, and reasons for rejection. However, there has never been any report from ministers since 2005 when the Law was passed, and Parliament has never demanded for such reports.

Meanwhile there should be efforts to continuously empower citizens to fully exercise their right of access to information as stated in Article 41 of the Constitution and Section 5 of the ATIA. Such efforts include capacity building of different demographic groups such as women, youth, persons with disabilities (PWDs), journalists, and teachers to demand for public information relating to service delivery and accountability while utilising different ICT platforms and tools including the AYG portal. Public officials should also be empowered to utilise these tools to proactively share public information with citizens.

The AYG is an initiative of the Ministry ICT and National Guidance in partnership with the Africa Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC) and the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA).

ToroDev Conducted Internet Skills and e-Participation Trainings for Technical Staff in Four Pilot Districts of Rwenzori Sub-region, Western Uganda

News Update |

The orientation aimed at empowering district technical staff from Kabarole,Ntoroko,Kyenjojo and Kyegegwa districts with internet skills, access and usage of the MML e-Participation functionality, especially the e-Decision Making component that enables them to provide feedback on citizens’ concerns on public service delivery.

Participants in a group photo at royal cortege hotel in Kyenjojo

The two training’s were held on 12th & 14th March, 2019 one at Ataco Country Resort Fort-Portal and the other one at Tooro Royal Cortege in Kyenjojo district. The two Training’s were attended by fifty two (52) participants including District Information Officers, District Speakers, District planners, District Health Officers, Chief Administrative Officers, District Community Development Officers, Inspectors of Schools, Security Officials, District Residence Commission, District Education Officers and Media from Kabarole,Ntoroko Kyenjojo and Kyegegwa districts.

District Technical Staff for Kabarole and Ntoroko after the training

I appreciate ToroDev for coming up with this system; I know it will help us to gather many issues from grassroots that can help us to plan and budget well for the country. I request district officials to use this system and inform others about it.” Said Kato Saad Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Kabarole while giving opening remarks.

Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Kabarole while giving opening remarks.

The Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Kabarole further asked for fairness in giving accountability and called upon officials to give accountability whenever they are asked. More still he commented that it’s the duty of every duty bearer to address issues gathered through this system.

I thank ToroDev for initiating MML system, we promise to someone of the issues generated through the system to plan and advocate for improved service delivery.  This system will help us to get evidenced data which can help in making decisions”.  Said   Businge Daniel Assistant Chief  Administrative Officer  Kyenjojo.


  • MML system promoted
  • District Staff empowered with Knowledge on e- decision module.
  • Knowledge and information on the role of ICT in improving service delivery shared
  • Action Plans Set

 Key Comments from Participants

I call upon NGOS to plan with local government as one way services can be improved. Joint planning helps in proper resource allocation and reduces on resource duplicating.” Said Evelyn Koburungi Ntoroko District

As Districts local government we need to partner with potential NGO’s to address community challenges especially   challenges affecting mothers and girl child”. Said John Magoba District speaker Kyegegwa.

He further appreciated ToroDev for the initiation of MML e-participation system that reaches community people where services are not at their best. He called upon technocrats and politicians to share information and respond to issues rose from the public if services are to be improved at the lower ground levels.

ToroDev David Kugonza demonstrating MML e-participation system.

We need to join efforts to address the cancer of Poverty.  We should engage people to do development activities and I request ToroDev to create avenues where SDGs can be popularized”. Said Musinguzi Daniel District Planner Kabarole.

The planner further said to address service delivery issue the CSOs – district must join hands. I call upon ToroDev to keep the CSOs- district Forums more vibrant

MML e-participation system is a good initiative, let us use it and our work will be easy. I call upon everyone to inform others about this system, let us promote it and encourage others to use it”.   Said Abwooli Yafesi DCDO Kyenjojo district

Abwooli Yafesi DCDO Kyenjojo district During the training at Royal Cortege Hotel in Kyenjojo district.

Developing partners should not keep blaming the government but join efforts to address key service delivery issues in societies”. Said Kusemererwa Maureen DEO Ntoroko district.s

I call upon duty bearers to share information when ever citizens request for it.  Public Information should be displayed on notice boards for ease accessibility” Said Mr.Ainganiza Steven District communication Officer Kabarole

 Action plan

“ToroDev should invite key duty bearers to respond to issues raised through the system. The responsible duty bearers should be notified a week before they are hosted on radio or physical meeting. They should be given an invitation letter and a concept of what to respond on. Chief administrative officer should be copied to.” Said Ainganiza Steven district communication officer Kabarole

ToroDev should submit radio work plans to district officials on a monthly basis. This will help them to plan and prepare early before they are called on radio to respond to issues.”  Said  Kahuma Edward District Speaker Ntoroko

“I call upon all Technical staff to actively use MML system and respond to most service delivery issues raised by citizens.”  Said Tibakanya Gertrude District education officer Kyenjojo.

ToroDev  Should notify duty bearers on most urgent issues raised through the system.This can be done on a weekly basis.”   Said  Mugume Shaban District IT Officer Ntoroko

“I request all District IT and information officers to link MML e-participation system to the district  local government websites” Said  Karuhanga Charles IT officer Kyegegwa.