Northern Uganda faces vast challenges in providing social services to millions of people who had for nearly two decades been displaced by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) conflict. At its height, the conflict displaced two million people, with some areas having 90 per cent of their population displaced. Social infrastructure was devastated and large parts of the region were largely isolated. Today, northern Uganda is on the path of post‐conflict recovery, with large amounts of resources being invested by the government and donors in post‐conflict recovery and development.
Following the end of the conflict, in 2008 the government launched a Peace, Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP), under which it is restoring social services and infrastructure in areas affected by the conflict. But progress is limited: only a few health centres have been set up, and there’s a severe shortage of medical workers, drugs and equipment. Cases of health worker absenteeism and corruption are commonplace.
The Collaboration on International ICT Policy in East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) will work with the Northern Uganda Media Club (NUMEC), a media development organisation based in the northern town of Gulu, on the iParticipate project to leverage ICT to monitor health service delivery in the districts of Amuru, Gulu, and Pader. We’re delighted to announce that we have awarded them a £12,000 grant for this project.
A multimedia Ushahidi‐style platform will be set up and populated with information on health programmes being implemented in the three districts. For starters, this information shall be collected by CIPESA and NUMEC members. Once the portal is up with the preliminary information, citizen reporters shall be able to send reports via mobile SMS, email or by filling in a form on the website. CIPESA, journalists, trained citizen reporters, and ordinary citizens will all continuously contribute to the platform through – SMS, textual stories, audio‐visuals, and more.
The content on the portal shall be categorised as either ‘verified’ or ‘unverified’. Citizens’ submissions shall be verified by making investigations on submitted reports through phone calls and site visits to areas being reported on before being categorised as verified. Further, the portal shall have multimedia reports both audio and video showing the status of the service delivery in different areas.
In documenting the health sector projects, information captured shall include their locations, target community, the cost and timeframe under which the projects are supposed to be completed.
At Indigo we feel that this is a very exciting project. If successful, will send a message that technology-driven projects can make a real and tangible difference in some of the most difficult environments imaginable. We can’t wait to see the results.