Enhancing Social Accountability Through ICT: Success Factors and Challenges

Wakabi, Wairagala and  Grönlund, Åke for the International Conference for E-Democracy and Open Government 2015: “This paper examines the state of citizen participation in public accountability processes via Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). It draws on three projects that use ICT to report public service delivery failures in Uganda, mainly in the education, public health and the roads sectors. While presenting common factors hampering meaningful use of ICT for citizens’ monitoring of public services and eParticipation in general, the paper studies the factors that enabled successful whistle blowing using toll free calling, blogging, radio talk shows, SMS texting, and e-mailing. The paper displays examples of the positive impacts of whistle-blowing mechanisms and draws up a list of success factors applicable to these projects. It also outlines common challenges and drawbacks to initiatives that use ICT to enable citizen participation in social accountability. The paper provides pathways that could give ICT-for-participation and for-accountability initiatives in countries with characteristics similar to Uganda a good chance of achieving success. While focusing on Uganda, the paper may be of practical value to policy makers, development practitioners and academics in countries with similar socio-economic standings….(More)”