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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…

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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

Strengthen public debate with comprehensible statistics

September 16, 2010 Leave a comment

In Uganda, even at the peoples parliament of Ekimeeza, where intellectuals are supposed to be gathered, there is a substantial lack of numbers, statistics and measurable facts. People have not mastered advanced counting and have no logical perception of values and numbers. 2000 – 500 = a big problem for a lot of people. So how can they fully understand the bigger picture of the situation they are in? When they are presented with a series of numbers, for instance the amount of money coming in to the country through development aid or the amount of tax money spent on government housing, there are very few who can comprehend what is meant by 400 million dollars or 700.000 Euro. Read more…

A little less internet, a little more radio please.

When discussing the use, effects and possibilities of ICTs in Africa, one needs to follow the ICT4Development (ICT4D) discourse. Professor Richard Heeks coined the term in the late 90s. In a recent paper named ‘the ICT4D 2.0 Manifesto’ Professor Heeks reevaluates ICT4D and discusses the lessons learnt from 10 years of ICT4D activity. According to Professor Heeks, ICT4D is moving into a next phase where new technologies, new approaches to innovation and implementation and new intellectual perspectives will change the way ICTs are used to improve the livelihoods of the world’s poor. As one of the founding academics developing the field of ICT4D, Heeks is a heavyweight academic and has a clear and influential view on the development of the academic discourse covering ICT4D.

Professor Heeks believes that within the new approach of ICT4D 2.0, some rebalancing will take place in the way the needs of the poor will be addressed through the use of ICTs. Instead of a rigorous hands-on approach in providing ICT hardware for the poor, more recognition will be given to the importance of collaboration with local partners and issues of governance in shaping the outcomes of ICT4D. Whereas the rural tele-centre was seen as the quick and ‘off-the-shelf’ solution in the ICT4D 1.0 era, ICT4D 2.0 will use the lessons learnt from this period and adhere to the watchwords of sustainability, scalability and evaluation to avoid the trap of replicating Western ICT models for a quick fix in the development of poor countries. Read more…

ICT4Accountability selected for international blogging competition TH!NK3

www.ICT4Accountability.wordpress.com , one of the blogs started by a former master student of the UvA, is officially selected to compete in the internationally renowned blogging competition’ TH!NK3’. This blogging competition, set up by the European Journalism Centre, will bring together some 100 bloggers, journalists, issue experts and students from the 27 EU member states, as well as neighborhood countries and beyond, to exchange ideas and debate sustainable development and global cooperation topics. Winners of the competition will be awarded with opportunities to travel and report from Asia and Africa. The big prize is a trip to the UN headquarters in New York in September 2010, at the time of the Millennium Development Goals summit. Read more…

Inverted Panoptic Surveillance

March 10, 2010 4 comments

‘Quis custodiet ipos custodes?’
(Old Latin saying meaning: ‘Who will watch the watchers?’).

ICT4Accountability logoThe Logo (right) accompanying the term ICT4Accountability symbolizes the panoptic- or all-seeing prison. In his book ‘Discipline and Punish’ (1977), one of the most influential theorizers of modern society, Michel Foucault, describes the panoptic prison as a metaphor for the power relations within modern society. The prison was originally invented by Jeremy Bentham in 1785. In the architecture of the ‘panopticon’ a central guard tower is erected in the middle of the prison, the windows in the tower allows the guard to look out, but no-one is able to look into the tower (think of blinded glass). Cells are built around the central tower within sight of the guard.

Without being able to view the guard in the centrally located tower, an all-seeing gaze is marked yet masked, at once visible and invisible. Foucault’s thesis follows that, since prisoners must therefore assume that they could be at any time under the watchful eye of the tower, they begin to self-discipline their behavior. Even if the guard is not present in the central tower, prisoners will feel ‘the gaze’ and will behave according to the rules. Michel Foucault applies this model or ‘diagram’ to society as a whole. The presence of (central) authority should be internalized by the people, creating self-discipline. Read more…

ICT4Accountability in Kenya

SMS Lessons On Common Market
(Francis Ayieko)

Nairobi — Kenya is seeking the services of leading mobile phone companies in an ambitious campaign to market the East African Community Common Market. In an Obama-inspired campaign — where ICT played a major role in galvanising public support — the country plans to educate all the 17 million Kenyans who own mobile phones on how they stand to benefit from the Common Market, whose protocol was signed a month ago. Read more…

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