For all the developments in mobile and web technology over the last three decades, in many parts of the world radio remains a key source of information and advice. Although we don’t fund radio projects in isolation, we are keen to hear of mobile and web projects that seek to exploit the use of radio as a widely accessible medium and a trusted platform for news. It’s for this reason that we’re happy to support Ugandan organisation, ToroDev, with a grant of £21,466 for their Mobile-SMS-Internet-Radio polling project. They recognise that citizens of the Rwenzori region of western Uganda do not always get to have their say on the state of local service delivery. That means that policymakers and budget setters may make decisions that take little regard of the opinions of actual service users. This project hopes to change that by producing a series of radio programmes and combining them with TracFM’s polling system, which will allow DJs and radio show hosts to conduct polls on service delivery. During a radio programme, listeners will be invited to text or call in with their feedback on different aspects of service delivery. Through these channels, ToroDev hope to reach thousands of service users and to generate a true picture of the state of service delivery in the region. The data will then be analysed and collated before being fed into policymaking discussions at the local and national government level.
The marriage of old and new technology that this project promotes is exciting and shows how different forms of tech can happily live side by side. We hope that the project can lead to long and lasting improvements in service delivery and resource allocation.