Call for Evaluation Consultant: ICT4Democracy in East Africa Network

The Collaboration on International ICT Policy in East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) is seeking an evaluation consultant to establish the achievements, outcome and challenges registered by the ICT4Democracy in East Africa Network during the period June 2016 to December 2018. The evaluation will assess the appropriateness, effectiveness and outcomes of the network in relation to the program objectives
Closing date for applications: 17:00 hours East African Time (EAT) on Friday December 7, 2018
Further details on the scope, eligibility and how to apply are available here.

Reflecting on ICT for Democratic Engagement in Uganda’s Rwenzori Region

By Ashnah Kalemera |
In the Rwenzori sub-region of western Uganda, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools have been key tools in promoting public accountability and improved service delivery. Through an ICT “convergence approach” that combines SMS, radio and online polling, Toro Development Network (ToroDev) has for the past five years promoted information and knowledge sharing for citizens’ engagement with their leaders on priority service delivery needs and concerns in the region.
ToroDev’s project, which is part of the ICT4Democracy in East Africa Network, has empowered local citizens in offline and online advocacy and engagement with duty bearers, trained radio journalists in reporting and promoting debate on accountability issues, facilitated quarterly accountability meetings between citizens and leaders, and supported the initiation of 15 civic groups in the region. The civic groups, also known as rural advocacy forums, consist of 80 members each, and are involved in citizen journalism and community mobilisation for the radio debates and accountability meetings.
Over the years, the project has seen increased levels of citizen participation and engagement. In 2014, each monthly advocacy forum meeting was attended by at least 50 members. Outcomes from the monthly meetings are discussed on radio talk shows. Meanwhile, 60 leaders at sub-county and parliamentary level participated in the deliberations and jointly with citizens drew up action plans, among them, the State Minister for Finance.

In western Uganda’s Rwenzori region, citizens’ participation on radio talk shows on governance issues through SMS, call ins, and social media grew from 304 in June 2014 to 4,835 by Nov 2014. See ICT4Democracy in East Africa Annual Review 2014.

Citizens have also gone on to leverage social media to engage in discussions on governance and service delivery. See for instance State of Service Delivery in Rwenzori Region, Orukurato, Rwenzori Journalists Forum and Listeners’ Forum Facebook with active membership pages.
However, at a national level participation of citizen in public affairs remains low. During the 2011 presidential elections, only 59% of registered voters cast their ballot. According to the 2013 Uganda National Household Survey, only 7% of households have a member that participates in governance at the local level, down from 10% in 2010.
The 2013 survey estimates that household participation in local governance in Western Uganda stands at 8.1% and the region boasts the highest proportion of citizens registered as voters (89%).
In the run up to the 2016 national elections, ToroDev convened regional stakeholders at a conference to reflect on the role of ICT in the electioneering processes. Uganda will hold local, parliamentary, and presidential elections in February 2016.
Speaking at the conference, Dr. Paschal Kabura, the director of Uganda Martyrs University Fort Portal campus, urged local citizens to take interest in staying informed of regional concerns that directly affect their livelihoods. “Voter apathy must be overcome,” he said, while calling for more active citizen participation in local governance processes through the use of ICT.
Discussions at the conference also included mainstreaming gender in governance processes. Goretti Amuriat from the Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) highlighted the need for building women’s capacity to participate in advocacy and accountability engagements, and for promoting awareness of gender issues at community level. She also stressed the need to consider women’s special needs such as child care facilities at local government consultation meetings, and suitable timing and conducive locations of accountability forums for both women and men.
Amuriat urged workshop participants to fight “biased cultural attitudes” in the region such as only men being leaders, what a man says being “right and final” and women being undermined due to their domestic responsibilities. She said it was important for women to realise that such attitudes “are not biological but socially constructed.”
The conference provided a platform for feedback and knowledge sharing on the performance of existing rural advocacy forums and the potential for establishing forums consisting of local government officials and civil society organisations at district level.
“As a result of the work of advocacy forums we have seen water put in place for example in Mugusu and Katebwa sub-counties in Kabarole district, two class room blocks have been put in place in Bufunjo Seed school in Kyenjojo district, roads [have been] improved in Kichwamba, Rwebisengo and Ntoroko District,” said Tumwesigye Andrew, the leader of Bufunjo Forum in Kyenjojo District, during the panel discussion on the performance of advocacy forums. “We have improved staff in health centres in Bufunjo, improved accountability and improved participation of women in budgetary processes and meetings,” he added.
The conference, which was held on November 19, and 20, 2015 drew more than 80 stakeholders from the districts of Kabarole, Kyegegwa, Kyenjojo, Kasese, Kamwenge, Bundibugyo and Ntoroko. They included district planners, radio, print and TV journalists, civil society organisations, religious leaders, advocacy forum members, youth leaders, district information officers and other local government officials.
The ICT4Democracy in East Africa Network is a regional coalition of civil society organisations leveraging ICT to promote civic participation, human rights and democracy in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Coordinated by the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA), it was established in 2011 with seed funding from the Swedish Programme for ICT in Developing Regions (Spider) and is currently supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).

ToroDev trains rural youth and women in online advocacy for improved service delivery

ToroDev has started training rural women and youth leaders in the seven districts of the Rwenzori Region in using online tools to monitor service delivery. The maiden residential 2 days training involving ten participants was held on 16th – 17th of August, 2012 at ToroDev resource center in Fort Portal, Uganda. The training which is supported by ToroDev in partnership with SPIDER/Stockholm University was facilitated by Milton Aineruhanga from WOUGNET.

ToroDev will train 210 rural monitors and advocates in online/ Web 2.0 tools to collect, document and disseminate online public accountability for improved serviced delivery issues. They will particularly oriented on how to interact with the “Ushahidi” online platform and other relevant open-source software. The monitors were also trained in online social media tools, human rights, governance and democratic engagement.
The monitors were highly trained to be independent local citizens that will keep updating the community and project team at ToroDev about the status of service delivery and identifying communities own service delivery needs.
They will further go ahead to mobilize and encourage regular meetings and focus group discussions (FGDs) among the 14 Advocacy Forums in the region on issues of service delivery monitoring.
Rural Monitors will also advocate for quality and timely public accountability from local leaders.  They will use 11 radio stations in the Rwenzori region as a major tool for distributing/disseminating all the information accessed through online/internet and mobile phones.
This information will be converged on the FM radio stations as a way of sharing information with the rest of grass root citizens in the region, who may not necessarily have the skills and afford town or access internet based knowledge tools. The rural FM radio will be used a hub for the convergence of all ICT tools for effective service delivery monitoring in the Rwenzori Region.
Some of the sample articles posted by the rural monitors on the Ushahidi platform.
Documented by Solomon Akugizibwe
This article was published on August 28, 2012, about the ICT4Democracy in East Africa project, which brings together various partners in the region – among them CIPESA.
For more information, visit

New Partner: Toro Development Network (ToroDev)

The ICT4Democracy in East Africa network which brings together various partners in the region – among them CIPESA is pleased to announce that a new organisation has joined efforts with us in leveraging on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to promote good governance and democratic processes.
Toro Development Network (ToroDev) is spearheading a project to promote public accountability for improved service delivery in Rwenzori region, western Uganda. The project will see the use of a local FM radio broadcasting station as a “hub” for the convergence of information and knowledge provided by internet and mobile technology tools.
Broadcast media practitioners and staff from 10 FM radio stations in the Rwenzori region will be trained on how to design programs and to broadcast relevant content and information that empowers local citizens to advocate and monitor the quality of service delivery, and 
democratically engage their leaders for development planning and budgeting. Radio staff together with rural monitors will also be trained on how to use online social media tools to undertake research, document and disseminate on FM radios information on how to demand accountability and engage with fellow citizens beyond their communities for support using ICT.
Furthermore, in partnership with FrontLineSMS-UK, ToroDev will  optimise  the  use  of  mobile  telephony,  whereby  local  citizens  directly interact with FM radio stations to air  their views regarding the status of service delivery in their communities through SMS.
Established in 2006, ToroDev works to mobilise communities, sensitise and train marginalised groups (rural women and youth) in strategic use of ICT for Development tools for maximum resources utlisation for self sustainability. ToroDev’s activities also focus on ICT-enabled innovation and entrepreneurship development, public accountability and democratic engagement for improved service delivery. The organisation has previously worked in partnership with Stem van Africa (SvA) – Netherlands, National Endowment for Democracy 
(NED) – USA, PANOS-Eastern Africa, Human  Rights Network – Uganda and Uganda Journalists Union.
At its Fort Portal town head office, ToroDev also maintains an ICT Research and Resource Centre.
For more information please visit