Archive

Archive for the ‘ICT for Accountability’ Category

IDS Research Evaluates TRAC FM

IDS_Master Logo_2col

The ICT4Accountability project successfully transformed from a theoretical blog into a practical method – Called TRAC FM – that is now deployed in 4 african countries at over 36 radio stations in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Somalia.

As the concept of TRAC FM is based on research conducted in 2009, we are happy that our work in the field remains relevant to academic debate. UK based IDS (Institute for Development Studies) is a leading global charity for international development research, teaching and communications. In 2012 IDS was asked by Hivos to conduct research into the effectiveness of T4TAIs. TRAC FM was picked as a case study and worked with IDS to share data and contacts.

Read more…

Advertisements

Interview on my work in PC TECH magazine

November 25, 2011 Leave a comment
PC tech interview with Wouter Dijkstra

PC tech interview with Wouter Dijkstra

PC TECH magazine is one of the first tech magazines in Africa and the only one in Uganda. I spoke with the editor in chief about the Trac FM platform I have been setting up in the past year. It gives a good impression of Trac FM. I am currently working on an evaluation report of the past year. Learn more about Trac FM on http://www.trac.pro

You can contact me directly through wdijkstra@trac.pro

Aid, Accountability and ICT4D

December 1, 2010 2 comments
Corruption is one of the biggest evils in Africa. Fundamental issues concerning development of the continent lead back to the problems surrounding influential men trying to absorb as much resources as they can get their hands on while others die of malnutrition or easily prefentable disease. Uganda is one of the most fertile countries in the world, yet, people die of hunger. During the past 5 month stay in Uganda, I did research on the way citizens in Uganda are able to check up on their leaders and their ability to hold them accountable for the management of the country. Within this question I focussed on the way (new) media technologies could play a part in monitoring and creating awareness, transparency and consequent accountability.

Civic media, Community media, Citizen media, Citizen Journalism?

November 8, 2010 Leave a comment
How can citizens effectively organize, share, take action and do all the other things we want to do with the new power we have acquired through our electronic networks, when we cannot even get a consensus on essential words defining our practices? What is the difference between citizen journalism, social media, community media, participatory journalism, and civic media? These are just a few names of the wide variety of new terms indicating something ‘new’ is happening in the way the average man can contribute to public debate. The big problem however, is our collective problem of structuring this debate into something valuable.

Aid and Accountability: Why the two don’t mix

July 27, 2010 2 comments

In this post I will dig a little deeper in the implications of current development aid and how it is related to the lack of power African citizens have over their government. Most people know this discussion through the writings of Dambisa Moyo in her recent book ‘Dead Aid’. Although I do not agree with the solutions suggested by Moyo, I do acknowledge some of the problems she puts forward.

Foreign Aid and Democracy

Democracy as we know it evolves from mutual dependency of the elite and the general public. They depend on each other in order to create a stable economy which will benefit all.

In their symbiosis, the general public produces commodities which the elite collect and distribute.  When either of the two does not perform their task well, one is able to hold the other accountable for not sticking to the deal. Elites can punish civilians who do not pay tax or disobey the law, civilians can demonstrate and vote for another government if tax money is not spent according to their needs.

This extremely simplified description of modern democracy will hopefully help to explain why problems can arise from foreign aid flooding in to a state. Foreign aid can complicate and eventually erode the dependency relations between government and civilians. This disruption of dependency relations eventually leads to governments who are over sensitive when it comes to foreign investors. Citizens will not generate as much wealth as foreign parties, so accountability of government processes shift toward these investors (Aid, Chinese investments, sale of natural resources to international corporations etc.). Citizens are less valuable to the elite and in the historically weak democracies of Africa, civil society will be hesitant to demand rights they have never known.  In other words; Foreign aid can ‘short circuit’ the link between government and civil society and obfuscate the democratic process.

Read more…