From 25th to 26th June 2014, Toro Dev held a training of promoting the use of affordable SMS platforms like Trac FM to make the live radio discussions more participatory and also improve local citizen (rural youths and women) participation in governance. Participants of the training included radio staff from Life and HITS FM in Kabarole District, Guide FM in Kasese District and civil society organizations like RIC NET (Rwenzori Information Centers Network), RIDE Africa (Human Rights and Democracy Link Africa) and Toro Dev. The training was facilitated by members from Trac FM and held at ToroDev Offices.
|Participants during the training|
During the training, Toro Dev’s executive director, Mr. Johnstone Kumaraki indicated how ToroDev encourages local citizens to use ICT tools to communicate with their leaders for easy engagements. “Our interest is to see that there is engagement and we as civil society perform as intermediaries through advocating for better service delivery and demanding accountability from the local leaders. This training should therefore help us to improve our engagements and advocacy with the local leaders”.
The Track FM facilitators also indicated how Trac FM works. “Trac FM is an NGO (Non Government Organization) that promotes citizenry participation in public accountability and service delivery. We do this by partnering with media houses and NGOs in using the SMS plat form (allowing free SMS) in form of poll questions so as to get real issues of the local citizens. The end user who is a local citizen does not incur any cost in answering the question that is sent on his or her phone. The poll questions are always formulated from the issues concerning the community, and the more people participate, the more data we get, and the more impact we realize. The tool is not limited and is used to advocate for better service delivery from the policy makers”, said Ssozi Javie.
Meanwhile, Lindsey from Trac FM also indicated how the plat form would help with getting more evidence based data. “The Trac FM plat form will increase participation of the local citizens which will help us to collect evidence based data to support offline engagements with leaders on priority service delivery needs and responses from local citizens. The statistical data generated by the electronic polling initiative will also help us to broad cast evidence based data to improve accountability and service delivery advocacy in the region”.
The training was supported by DRT (Development Research and training) and DI(Development Initiatives).