While we normally announce all the grants we’ve awarded on our blog, there will very occasionally be exceptions. Last October, for example, we awarded a grant of £10,000 to the team behind the new Ugandan university corruption reporting website, Not In My Country. The site is designed to allow university students to rate the quality of teaching they receive and to report any incidents of bribery and corruption by university lecturers. The problem of corruption is endemic across much of Africa and the Ugandan university system is no exception. Reports of lecturers demanding money or sexual favours in return for good grades have circulated for years, but this new website gives students their first opportunity to publicly and securely report such incidents. The Not In My Country team will then investigate claims and advise students on the appropriate steps.
In addition to being able to report incidents of hard corruption and bribery, the site also allows students to rate their lecturers on other issues such as absenteeism rates and the quality of their teaching. Similar initiatives, such as RateMyTeachers, exist in places like the UK and Canada, but Not In My Country is the first attempt in Africa to establish such a site. While the site has only been live for a couple of weeks, early indications are good that students are engaging with it and voting on their lecturers. The site’s real test will come with the first reports of hard corruption and whether the team can successfully work with students to advise them on how to go about addressing the issue.
The sensitivity of this project has meant that we haven’t been able to say anything about it, until now. As the site went live a couple of weeks ago, however, we are now able to talk about it for the first time. We co-funded the site with SPIDER (Swedish Program for ICT in Developing Regions) and are eager to see how the site develops and how students interact with it. If successful, though, Not In My Country has fantastic potential to scale and be replicated in other countries and other sectors. We’d like to wish the whole team the very best of luck over the coming weeks and months.