“Over time, ToroDev has developed knowledge, skills and innovatively utilized different information and communication technologies to invent sustainable approaches and models that can support programs and projects implementation to transform Uganda and Eastern Africa region, as a knowledgeable and engaged community of citizens for sustainable development processes “, said Johnstone Baguma Kumaraki – Executive Director, ToroDev
Let us explore some of these approaches and models below;
- The ICT tools Convergence Approach
Both Modern/online and traditional ICT tools have great potential to provide development opportunities for the marginalized citizen groups in the developing world. Particularly in Uganda, the convergence of the ICT tools can empower the youth and rural women through accessing relevant information, share knowledge by networking and set up advocacy initiatives, to participate in good governance and democratic engagement processes. As ToroDev and partners implement this project, the above empowerment will be evidenced through their increased participation to express freely their development priorities during local/district and central government budgeting processes, engage their leaders and actively monitor government service delivery, at the same levels, without intimidation and fear. This, in the end will promote value for resources and reduce misappropriation/corruption that is rampant in Uganda. If local citizens like youth and rural women – who comprise the majority of the population in Uganda – closely advocate and monitor how, for example, the road/transport infrastructure, health, education and marketing facilities and services are being delivered to their communities by the government, definitely their social and economic development needs like improved maternal healthcare, education/training that focuses on imparting skills for entrepreneurship/self employment will be appropriately addressed.
Through this project, ToroDev and partners desire to converge the power of ICT for development tools, both modern/online and traditional ones. Particularly, due to high levels of both basic and ICT skills illiteracy, a local FM radio broadcasting medium will be used as a “hub” for the convergence of information and knowledge provided by online/internet and mobile telephony/technology tools. Broadcast media practioners/staff from 10 FM radio stations in the Rwenzori region, western Uganda, will be trained how to design programs and broadcast relevant content/information that empowers local citizens to advocate and monitor the quality of services and democratically engage their leaders for development planning and budgeting. Both 80 radio staff and 210 rural monitors will also be trained how to use online social media (FOSS) tools to do research, document, disseminate on FM radios information on how to demand accountability and network beyond their communities for support using internet/web tools like blogs, twitter, etc. In partnership with FrontLineSMS-UK, ToroDev will also optimise the use of Mobile telephony, where the local citizens directly interact with FM radio stations to air out their views regarding the status of service delivery in their communities through the messaging (SMS) service.
ToroDev is using the Ushahidi platform as an ICT tool to Promote Public Accountability for Improved Service Delivery in the Rwenzori region of Western Uganda. The project is being done in partnership with Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) with support from the Swedish Program for ICT in Developing Regions (SPIDER).
Visit the project website here.