The U-report team goes to Karamoja

One of the highlights of my time in Uganda was hosting a conference with the U-report team to introduce district government and civil society organizations to crowdsourced data. It took a full day’s drive to reach Moroto, in Karamoja (the northeastern region of Uganda). Though it was known for a history of violence, the area is now experiencing peace and growth. The leaders we met from Abim and Moroto districts were very receptive to incorporating U-report data into their decision-making processes.

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World Food Programme tents outside of the UNICEF zonal office in Moroto.

The objectives of the conference were to create awareness of what U-report is and how it works as well as to find out how districts and partner organizations can use U-report data. This included creating a “work plan” for the uptake of U-report in activities and decision-making processes of Abim and Moroto district government and in civil society. Many important considerations were raised at the conference. Determining what level of government should receive data and how often reports should be sent is an ongoing question. Another big takeaway was the need to link U-report data to immediately actionable items. When creating analyzed data reports, “actionability” as well as varying levels of data literacy and access to technology should all be taken into account.

Danny Walker gets government and civil society leaders to burst out laughing at the U-report conference in Karamoja.

Danny Walker gets government and civil society leaders to burst out laughing at the U-report conference in Karamoja.

Members of civil society organizations had great insights into how U-report data could be used. More than just an additional source of information, U-report data could be a powerful tool to support advocacy to district governments. Analyzed data could also be shared back with the community by civil society groups during their field visits, thus informing the “crowd” of the magnitude and impact of their voices. This would undoubtedly increase community involvement and ownership in UNICEF and district government programming.