These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
uReport: Citizen Feedback via SMS in Uganda
“For aid organizations, knowing what local communities and beneficiaries want and need is the key to running successful, sustainable programs. In Uganda, UNICEF is using mobile phones and broadcast media to get direct feedback from Ugandans on everything from medication access to water sanitation. The project, called uReport, allows users to sign up via a toll-free shortcode for regular SMS-based polls and messages. Citizen responses are used both in weekly radio talk shows to create discussion on community issues, and shared among UNICEF and other aid organizations to provide a better picture of how services work across Uganda.
Sean Blaschke, a Technology for Development specialist at UNICEF Uganda, explains that uReport gathers information from participants and informs citizens of their rights and available services. Recent polls have included questions about school dropouts, water point availability, mosquito net usage, and youth employment, all collected via SMS polls.” READ MORE
“Join New Tactics, the Technology for Transparency Team, and other practitioners for an online dialogue on Using Technology to Promote Transparency from September 21 to 27, 2011.
There has been an expanding and increasingly global movement of technology and digital media projects aimed at promoting government transparency, accountability, and public participation in political processes. In Kenya, Mzalendo seeks to make information more accessible from the proceedings of the country’s parliament. In Jordan, Ishki aims to involve citizens in developing solutions to civic problems. Vota Inteligente in Chile promotes government transparency by informing Chilean citizens about corruption and policy debates through the use of social media. The Technology for Transparency Network, a project of Rising Voices, is documenting these transparency projects to gain a better understanding of their current impact, obstacles, and future potential.” READ MORE
“In 1996, countries across the Americas joined forces to establish the Inter-American Convention against Corruption in response to a string of high level corruption scandals that hit the region.
It was the first time globally that states agreed on having a joint framework to fight corruption across borders. The convention also outlined a clear road map for countries to use in fighting corruption at the national level.
But conventions can only be effective if countries translate them into actual implementation. To address this, a follow-up mechanism, known as MESICIC (Mecanismo de Seguimiento de la Implementación de la Convención Interamericana contra la Corrupción), was established in 2003 to help States, civil society and other actors assess how countries are performing in the convention’s implementation, understand their needs and assist them where required.” READ MORE
Global Mobile Stats
“The essential compendium of need-to-know statistics. Beware of media hype and mobile myth – put your mobile strategy on a sound footing with the latest research from credible independent experts. Global mobile subscribers, handset sales, mobile Web usage, mobile apps, mobile ad spend, top mobile operators and mobile financial services.” READ MORE
ITU Telecom World
The Perfect Storm
“Social networking on mobile devices is giving end users the ability to become on the spot reporters, social activists and whistle blowers. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have all played roles in the recent uprisings across the Middle East.
At the same time, politicians, especially in the developing world, are turning to these online channels to communicate news and information to the world and to converse differently with citizens, a method that has potential to drop those in power in hot water as they succumb to the chatty overtones of the likes of Twitter, and forget about their vast audience.
A recent example of the phenomenal power of social networking on mobile phones came as Japan suffered its biggest natural disaster in the age of digital media, the earthquake of 11 March.” READ MORE