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.

Outputs

  • 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.

CIPESA Advances the Digital Rights Debate at re:publica Accra

By Simone Toussi |

The first African edition of Europe’s largest internet and digital society festival – re:publica – was held in Accra, Ghana, December 14-15, 2018 and drew in hundreds of participants to showcase and discuss how politics, the arts, innovation, and digital rights have been affected by an increasingly digitised society.

Co-organised by Impact Hub Accra, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and with the support of several partners including the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA), re:publica Accra aimed to strengthen Afro-German dialogue about digital issues, and to explore the intersection between digitalisation and collaborative developmental efforts.

CIPESA hosted a Digital Rights Lounge throughout the duration of re:publica, organised workshops on civic participation and online content regulation, and also participated in sessions on the work of investigative journalists and activists, among others.

The Digital Rights Lounge

To reflect its multi-disciplinary nature, re:publica Accra featured four lounges on health, digital creation, digital rights, and hardware innovation. CIPESA hosted the Digital Rights Lounge which featured organisations sharing experiences and showcasing work related to advancing digital rights in Africa.

The lounge featured an exhibition on the state of digital rights in Africa including visuals on press freedom, the gender dynamics of internet usage, access to information, data protection and privacy, affordability, non-discrimination, and network disruptions. This was complemented by research publications and videos on the ongoing efforts to engender progressive internet policies and practices that support human rights, innovation, and development.

Also presented at re:publica were key action areas that emerged from the 2018 Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa (FIFAfrica), which was held in Accra, Ghana, at the end of September 2018. Since 2014, CIPESA has held this annual forum that brings together various stakeholders to deliberate on gaps, concerns and opportunities for advancing privacy, free expression, non-discrimination and the free flow of information online on the continent. Previous FIFAfrica editions have been held in Uganda (2014-2016) and South Africa (2017).

Sessions held around the lounge included conversations on involving more girls in tech, privacy challengesregulating emerging technologies, hands-on skills session on steganography, and online content creation. There was also a session on the work of the Freedom Online Coalition (FOC), which groups 30 governments who have committed to work together to advance human rights and fundamental freedoms online.

Advancing Civic Participation through Digital Technologies

Re:publica served as a platform to also share insights on the role of technology in social accountability, civic engagement, transparency and accountability, during a session titled ‘Advancing Civic Participation through Digital Technologies’. The session explored the opportunities and gaps in responsive solutions/platforms for civic participation and for transparency and accountability. Panellists presented cases studies on technology in governance including political mobilisation through print, broadcast and online media in Kenya; public finance tracking in Nigeria; parliamentary monitoring in Ghana; creating an enabling environment for civic technology in post-conflict Somalia; and service delivery monitoring and human rights reporting through ICT in East Africa.   

The session also interrogated how the legislative landscape affects access and infrastructure, cybercrime, and access to information; and how, content regulation and taxation in the respective countries weaken the potential of technology-based initiatives to advance democratisation.

Impact of Online Content Regulation on Digital Rights in Africa

In this session, panellists discussed the online content regulation landscape in Africa with a focus on countries such as Tanzania, Uganda, DR Congo, Burundi and Zambia which in 2018 proposed or passed laws and regulations that undermine freedom of expression and access to information online.

These controls are undermining public confidence in the use of online platforms, and could lead to self-censorship and complete withdrawal from online discourse by ordinary citizens and by vocal bloggers and other social media enthusiasts. They are also leading to arrests of some journalists and social media users, including those that express legitimate.

The session comprised digital rights experts and researchers from Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe who shared ideas on alternative approaches aimed at enhancing adoption and use of online platforms as well as content generation for advancing digital rights in Africa.

The panel noted that there was limited citizens’ consultations in coming up with the laws and regulations around internet control and online content regulation, and stressed the need for campaigns to have internet regulation that promotes individuals’ rights and livelihoods and not just the narrow interests of powerful actors such as governments and ruling party officials.

However, for such campaigns to work, it is crucial for civil society and other actors to conduct research to generate evidence to inform advocacy and decision-making; and to proactively offer alternative positions to governments rather than only offering criticism. In addition, the need to involve more actors in promoting digital rights – not least traditional human rights organisations, women’s rights organisations, and private sector actors – was emphasised. The need for digital security training and digital literary campaigns, and for increased use of tools of anonymisation and circumvention tools, was also emphasised.

With the support of the Germany international cooperation agency GIZ, CIPESA enabled the participation at re:publica of 13 individuals from 10 African countries.

Online Dialogue on Internet Governance for African Civil society

Organized by the African Civil Society Conversation on Internet Governance (APC), this dialogue conversation takes place from September 12th- 31st December 2012. Interested participants are invited to join the dialogue which will include among African civil society, media and other people who care about a free, open and accessible internet to share views and increase their understanding of current trends in internet regulation and governance.

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