WOUGNET Press Release: New SMS Platform m-Omulimisa
Initiative from the Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) to foster citizen engagement and good governance
26th July, Kampala. Despite tremendous growth in Uganda’s ICT sector, the uptake of new technologieNew SMS Platform m-Omulimisa helps Rural Ugandans address Poor Service Deliverys is hampered by poor infrastructure, low literacy levels, high access costs and lack of local online content, particularly in rural areas. 80% of Ugandans live in rural areas and have very little access to information and decision-making about local service delivery, nor information about the performance of their leaders.
Now, residents in rural Northern Uganda, in districts of Apac, Kole and Oyam will be able to use a new revamped version of the SMS platform, m-Omulimisa, to easily report service delivery issues, pursue the resolution of problems, and to hold their leaders accountable. Anyone can report a problem by sending an SMS to 8228 or visiting http://wougnet.org/ushahidi/
Whilst m-Omulimisa has existed since 2013, it has now been improved for easy reporting and receipt of feedback about issues of poor service delivery, via SMS. The platform is integrated with the crowd mapping platform Ushahidi. Messages submitted via the platform are forwarded to the relevant local authority. m-Omulimisa is an an initiative by Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) who have worked since 2000 to promote and support the innovative use of ICTs among women as tools to collectively share information and address local problems.
Local resident from Chegere Subcounty in Apac district Ms Grace Acheng, says “Our districts face regular service delivery problems, such as impassable roads, bridges that have washed away, absentee school teachers, low quality building construction at schools, and lack of medicines at our health centres. m-Omulimisa gives us a way to report these problems, as well as corruption issues.”
Ms. Goretti Amuriat , Programme Manager Gender & ICT Policy Advocacy Program, Women of Uganda Network, says, “Historically, information about service delivery and accountability has been in the control of the district political and civil service leaders. We want to show how ICT tools such as mobile phones, radios and internet can be inclusively used as tools for engagement in which local communities hold their leaders accountable on service delivery and corruption. Via m-Omulimisa, sending stakeholders SMS messages about service delivery issues increases the pressure on local authorities/duty bearers and will stimulate action.”
In recent years WOUGNET has already made substantial progress in fostering citizen engagement and government accountability, via various different projects. Just two examples include the repair of poorly maintained borehole pipes at Awiri Parish in Chegere Subcounty, Apac district and the construction of new toilets at Amilo Primary School in IIbuje Subcounty, both in response to community reports which were then escalated to relevant officials.
About Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET)
Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) is a non-governmental organization started in May 2000 by several women’s organizations in Uganda to develop the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) among women as tools to share information and address issues collectively. WOUGNET’s vision is a society in which women are empowered through the use of ICTs for sustainable development. Our mission is to promote and support the use of ICTs by women and women organizations in Uganda, so that they can take advantage of the opportunities presented by ICTs in order to effectively address national and local problems of Sustainable National Development.
For media queries, please contact Ms. Goretti Amuriat, firstname.lastname@example.org
To build the capacity of duty bearers (civil servants, local and national politicians,community leaders, etc) in actively engaging with citizens through ICTs in order to support the building of effective, inclusive and accountable institutions.
To strengthen the citizens’ engagement with duty bearers at the sub county, district and national level for improved service delivery.
To document and disseminate information coming from grassroots communities concerning cases of corruption and poor service delivery, in order to raise awareness about these issues and advocate for improved service delivery.
Enhancing civic engagement and accountability for improved service delivery
Promoting good governance and accountability through the use of ICTs
Strengthening use of ICTs and social media for citizen engagement and improved service delivery
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