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About the Author

Wouter Dijkstra
ICT4Development researcher (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Personal: Wouter Dijkstra is a Social Scientist, interested in the use of new and old media to strengthen public debate and mechanisms of accountability in Africa. With degrees in both Anthropology and New Media and an extensive background in Africa he is based firmly in contemporary theory but even more in practical reality. In 2009 he went to Uganda together with the ICT4Uganda research group, guided by Dr Geert Lovink. He finished research on the power of talk-radio and the emergence of mobile telephony in Uganda. Based on this research he coined the term ICT4Accountability. This is still an ongoing research. At this moment he is working for TRAC to set up platforms for public debate in east-Africa, through the use of mobile telephony and FM radio. This organization is currently in a startup phase.

Post

Trac FM, using radio to track public service delivery

Published 24th January 2011 - 3 comments - 12387 views -

Following research on the use of ICTs for accountability in Africa, I am back in Uganda to set up a multimedia platform where people can report their problems with public service delivery. Which street has too many potholes? Which public hospital has no malaria medicine? Who is the best primary school teacher in Kampala? All these questions will be aired on a popular radio station in Kampala. People can reply by SMS and have their grievances or opinions count! Together with our media partners in Uganda we feed-back this data into the general public. Radio presenters presenting the survey questions will be updated realtime through our online dashboard so they can update listeners on the incoming reports. Radio debates and talk-shows with prominent politicians are enhanced by this direct interaction and feedback from listeners. Local leaders are asked to explain the situation on the ground and people get a better overview of what is going on in their community. Transparency, awareness and consequent accountability get a boosted with the use of the most popular media around: Radio and cell-phones.

TRAC FM overview

By using the most popular media technologies available in Uganda (Radio and Mobile) we can create feedback loops that will produce crowdsourced data to accurately report failure in public service delivery. In this way people will get a clear overview and will be able to make informed choices and hold their leaders accountable. First broadcast have started in June 2011 and Trac FM is officially on a roll! To keep updated go to http://www.trac.pro and sign up for our newsletter or write me a mail at wdijkstra(at)trac.pro 

Here is an example of our interface. Radio presenters get to see this overview in their studio during their talk-show. Incoming SMS messages are automatically updated in the data-visualization

Trac FM radio sms poll

 


Category: Technology | Tags: uganda, radio, wouter dijkstra, trac,


Comments

  • Helena Goldon on 24th January 2011:

    This is SO COOL. Well done.


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