Event Reports

SOCIAL MEDIA FOR IMPROVED LOCAL GOVERNANCE AND SERVICE DELIVERY IN WEST NILE REGION

by Donnas Ojok

Promoting Good governance, Accountability and Civic engagement at the local government level through social Media

For the third time in 2016, we have once again partnered with the Center for Media Literacy and Community Development (CEMCOD) to train 20 local government leaders in the West Nile Region (Arua, Moyo, Yumbe, Nebbi and Koboko) on the effective use of media, with special emphasis on social media platforms in improving good governance, transparency and accountability in the management of public affairs, citizen engagement and delivery of social services.

The leaders who participated in the training included Chief Administrative Officers, District information officers, Community Development Officers, District planners and Information scientists. The Training was aimed at enhancing their use of new media platforms for communication and hence promotes accountability of duty bearers to local community concerns.

The training workshop was based upon some lessons learned from the social media conference organized by KAS in collaboration with CEMCOD in July 2015 with the theme “Assessing the impact of social media in political communication and civic engagement in Uganda.” In the 2016 Social Media Conference once again, the use of social media to improve service delivery and promote local government accountability was once again re-echoed by organizing a separate break-away panel to discuss the topic.

In his address, Donnas Ojok, the Programme Officer at KAS implored the local government officials to embrace social media and make it a part of their professional engagement because of its emancipatory potential and real time responses to real issues which is the direction the world is taking today. The same issue was reiterated by Prossy Kawala, CEMCOD’s Director who provided deep reflection on social media’s role in shaping political conversations and solving some of today’s critical governance challenges like corruption and accountability.

Maureen Agena, a social media consultant and lead facilitator of the training started by giving participants the general concepts behind web 2.0. Crucially significant was the fact the Web 2.0 has ushered in a new communication pattern which puts the user at the center-stage.

She used the analogy of the two hands to demonstrate the significance and role of social media in communication. The right hand represents five tools each represented by a finger, namely: Blogs, collaborative working, tagging, feeds, and mash-ups. The other left hand represents the human components of social media, namely: people centered, access, participatory, self-content generation and the potential socio-economic change that social media promotes.

The rest of the workshop focused on practical training sessions like how to create and use social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Facebook and Blogging.

The workshop was summed up with a public dialogue that brought on board from government units, civil society and media fraternity.

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