Uganda’s Outbox gets $20k to build open government platform

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Ugandan tech entrepreneurship hub Outbox has been granted US$20,000 from the Indigo Trust to develop an open government platform, tracking electoral commitments and accomplishments in the country.

The “Manifesto Tracker” will be a web-based data management and visualisation platform, using open data to track commitments made to the public by government and officials, provide transparent details of projects, and list accomplishments by measuring each manifesto against its related projects.

Each electoral promise will be tagged with its related government projects, listing the timelines, resources and budget required to realise each project. Manifesto promises can thus be tracked with reference to the on-going projects.

“This simple model will allow a basic tracking of project resources that can show the effort in completing each manifesto. The budget of the project, can in turn be tied back to the national budget and give the public a better understanding of how the Government is using public resources to achieve its ambitions,” Outbox explains.

“Statements made by political leaders can be fact-checked against the project facts that are accurately curated, thereby ensuring that leaders are held accountable to service delivery.”

The hub said the idea for the platform was prompted by the high number of public statements made in the run up to elections, which influence the electorate’s decision, but are not always followed up on or based on verified information.

“National elections are often grounds for statements to be made, and false facts are often distributed in order to sway votes to their favour. Voters, who are often unarmed with the necessary data, make their decisions and expectations on these assumptions believing in the pledges made by the same leaders,” Outbox says.

“In turn, leaders who are ultimately put into office rarely fulfil their pledges and often fail to fulfil them by instituting projects that are poorly managed or do not deliver any tangible value at the cost of the public.”

Outbox said the Manifesto Tracker serves both citizens and the government. It will improve transparency in government, and improve engagement with the population; while the government will also be able to demonstrate and measure its successes and activity publicly.

Members of the community – anyone from developers to business analysts –  and other stakeholders with ideas on how to leverage open government to improve accountability and service provision in Uganda are encouraged to get in touch with Outbox to join the project.

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Inspired and excited by the African tech entrepreneurial scene, Gabriella spends her time travelling around the continent to report on the most innovative tech startups, the most active investors, and the latest trends emerging in the ecosystem.

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