ICT4Democracy in East Africa: March 2012 News

ICT for Human Rights and Democracy in Kenya

ICT for Service Delivery in Northern Uganda

iParticipate Uganda

mGovernance in Kenya

SMS for Human Rights in Tanzania

ICT for Human Rights and Democracy in Kenya
The Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) trained 22 grassroots-based Human Rights Network (HURINET) members in the use of ICT, especially social media, for monitoring and reporting human rights violations. Installation of three ICT platforms – bulk SMS facility, a civic action website and an intranet to engage the HURINETS – are currently underway and could be ready during April.

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WOUGNET builds Capacity in ICT skills in Amuru and Gulu Districts, Northern Uganda

Rural communities particularly women are prone to poor service delivery and corruption due to lack of awareness about Government functions and service delivery but through strategic use of ICTs, there can be improved access to public services, increased efficiency, transparency and accountability of Government political processes. WOUGNET in this regard has concluded a two day ICT training and capacity building workshop in Amuru and Gulu Districts on the 21st and 23rd of February 2012 with the objective of building the capacity of local communities and Community Based Organizations (CBO) to enable them collect, package and disseminate information on corruption and poor public social service delivery from their localities to a wider communities.

The ICT training workshop attracted over 100 participants comprising of the Community Based and Civil Society actors,Local communities, Local Government Officials including the District Speakers, Town Clerks, Community Development Officers and Parish Chiefs among others.

The training focused on issues like the general introduction to various use of ICTs in Information collection and dissemination, use of mobile phones and SMS applications/ platforms to send and receive messages and the Launch of Ushaidi platform for mapping poor service deliveries. Participants were also taken through advocacy skills to demand for accountability, and civic engagement in policy process monitoring

The training was conducted under the project “Empowering Local people and Communities to Monitor District Service Delivery through ICTs” which falls under the broader project “ICT4Democracy in East Africa” which has seed funding from the Swedish Program for ICT in Developing Regions (SPIDER) which encourages democracy actors within the three countries with a view to catalyzing the role ICTs can play in enhancing civic empowerment and improving Governance. It was also premised on the recognition that Information and Communication Technology enhances Communication and the right to freedom of expression, as well as the right to seek, receive and impart information.

The ICT training workshops in Amuru and Gulu Districts were also graced with the presence of the new WOUGNET Coordinator, Ms. Violet Akurut Adome. During Violet’s session, participants were able to share experiences on how they have used their civic competence to report and follow up with cases of poor service delivery within their communities and later, the participants were taken through the different ways through which they can use the available ICT tools to document cases of corruption and poor service delivery within their communities

Moses Owiny
Information, Youth & ICT4D Officer, WOUGNET

ICT for Democracy in East Africa: November News

SMS for Human Rights
The Tanzanian Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRAGG) in November started field studies to gather user requirements. Conducted through questionnaires and interviews, the survey was undertaken in the Mwanza, Lindi and Iringa regions. The results of the study, which will go toward the features design of the mobile phone based Complaints Handling Management Information System, are due to be published during December.


Catalysing Civic Participation and Democracy Monitoring Using ICTS

One of the two grassroots based organisations that the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) has partnered with is eKasese. Because eKasese is a local government run centre, CIPESA has experienced delays in undertaking the Western region survey of the knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAPS) to determine the ICT for democracy tools used, user and non-user profiles and their [de]motivations it had anticipated to carry out this month. The KAPS study, focus group discussions and citizen journalism training have been confirmed for early December.A Wiki, as part of CIPESA’s work to champion the development of a network of CSOs, media, citizens’ groups and local governments that use and promote usage of ICTs in governance is under development here.

An analysis of Ugandan policies and practices that enhance (or undermine) eDemocracy is complete. A briefing paper for this is in its final editing stages. Circulation is expected to start in January 2012, and the paper will form the basis for an advocacy campaign targeted at the media and legislators.

CIPESA attended the November 14 – 15 2011, Euro ICT Africa Conference held in Cape Town, South Africa.

M-Governance: Exploring Conditions for Successful Mobile Governance in Kenya
iHub’s research arm completed a literature review and exploratory study. The results are available here. The team will be performing a pre-test in January 2012 to understand the usability of the current Kenyan mobile governance applications. They will be hosting a second m-governance workshop with various stakeholders from government, academia, and tech in February 2012.

iHub has submitted a paper under the eGovernment & eDemocracy theme for the IST-Africa 2012 Conference and Exhibition. The conference is due to take place from 9–11 May 2012, in Tanzania.

iHub attended the UNDP Africa Civil Society and Governance Assessments Forum on November 10 -12, 2011 in Dakar, Senegal. Some insights from the forum are in a blog post here.

Reforms through Citizen Participation and Government Accountability
The Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) crowd sourcing and civic participation website is under development. KHRC has also identified a service provider for its bulk SMS system. However, due to various concerns expressed about data protection, the deployment of the bulk SMS platform has been delayed until December.

KHRC attended this November’s Africa human Rights Consortium on New Media and Human Rights held in Botswana. As a result, the Commission is developing an ICT policy for the various ICT based platforms in its project. The policy will draw on these guidelines.

Promoting Social Accountability in the Health Sector in Northern Uganda
The Transparency International (TI) Uganda team is currently concentrating on the project’s social media presence (see Stop Health Workers’ Absenteeism facebook page). A blog component is being added to TI, Uganda’s website to further increase the project’s visibility. During December, TI Uganda is to determine the requirements and specifications of its short code platform. The code is to be shared with WOUGNET. TI Uganda will next month also hold a press conference and publish articles about its project.

Empowering Local People and Communities to Monitor Districts’ Service Delivery Through ICTs
The Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET)’s mobilisation exercises have now covered 5 districts (Gulu, Amuru, Apac, Kore and Oyam). The next stage in the project is setting up Voluntary Social Accountability Committees (VSACs) in each district to report on poor service delivery. Once a chairperson and secretary for the committees have been identified, the committees are expected to sit monthly. Prevailing service delivery and governance issues are to be compiled as meeting minutes (without the specific details of the reporting individual) and mapped on a web platform being developed by WOUGNET’s technical team.

Other news

Preliminary program:
* Introduction. Spider and ICT4Democracy facilitator CIPESA
* Presentation. Photo gallery of m-Gov interventions in East Africa. Presenter TBC.
* ICT4Democracy panel. Moderator iHub. Panel participants: Kenya Human Rights Commission, Transparency International Uganda, WOUGNET, CIPESA, CHRAGG, iHub Research.