Kushiriki Project

In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, the role of youth in shaping political discourse and electoral processes is more critical than ever. Recognizing this imperative, Media Focus on Africa (MFA), in partnership with Impact Unified AB and the Public Policy Institute (PPI), embarked on an innovative initiative known as the Kushiriki Project. As the project concludes, it’s time to reflect on its impact in empowering Uganda’s youth for meaningful engagement in the electoral process.

Kushiriki, Swahili for “to participate,” was born out of the collective vision to reignite the interest of young people in participation and electoral processes. With Uganda’s 2026 general elections on the horizon, the project aimed to enhance the capacity of youth civil society organizations to provide civic information, engage youth through mobile applications, social media, and websites, and conduct training and dialogues on electoral processes.

Ms. Ruth Nagudi, the Projects’ Manager, emphasized the significance of involving the youth in shaping the nation’s political landscape. “More than 75% of Uganda’s population is under 35 years, making them a crucial entity of voters in any election,” she stated.

The Kushiriki Project sought to create a conducive electoral environment that upholds issue-based campaigns for free and fair electoral practices in Uganda. Ms. Evangilistar Nyiramahoro, the Programs Officer at PPI, highlighted the project’s goal to reignite youth civil society interest in engaging in the electoral process.

The collaborative endeavor involved Impact Unified, Media Focus on Africa Uganda, and the Public Policy Institute. The campaign targeted young people across the country, providing digital platforms as safe spaces for political discussions and debates. Trainings and dialogues were held in Central (Kampala, Wakiso, and Mukono), Eastern (Jinja), Western (Hoima), and West Nile (Arua).

The Kushiriki Dialogues, organized by Media Focus on Africa convened in Hoima on February 22nd and in Arua on February 23rd, 2024. These dialogues served as pivotal moments for youth empowerment, focusing on media literacy, civic engagement, and advocacy skills. By providing a platform for interactive learning and practical application, the dialogues aimed to equip youth with the tools and knowledge needed to engage effectively in their communities.


PROJECT ACTIVITIES

  • Content Development
  • App Design
  • Inception Meeting
  • Dialogues and Workshops

Inception Meeting

Media Focus on Africa (MFA) recently hosted a groundbreaking inception meeting on 6th September via Google Meet, marking the beginning of an ambitious media literacy initiative aimed at empowering Uganda’s youth, The Kushiriki project. The meeting gathered a diverse group of stakeholders, including representatives from organizations such as the African Youth Development Link (AYDL) and Sensitize Uganda, all passionate about youth development and media engagement.

Introductions revealed a wealth of expertise and dedication among the attendees, ranging from youth advocacy to electoral governance.

Wayombo Ema, representing Sequence Domain Solutions, expressed enthusiasm for learning about MFA’s initiatives, setting a tone of anticipation for the discussions ahead. Crispin Mutehimbwa, Executive Director of Sensitize Uganda, highlighted the organization’s focus on electoral governance and civic education, reinforcing the meeting’s relevance to pressing societal issues.

Key insights emerged as participants shared their organizational mandates and roles, underscoring the collective commitment to empowering Uganda’s youth. Ivan from the African Youth Involvement Link emphasized the importance of placing young people in decision-making spheres, aligning with the initiative’s goal of fostering youth participation in governance.

Onzima Rasul highlighted the mandate of Mayank Anti-Corruption Coalition, emphasizing the multifaceted approach to addressing societal challenges. The presence of esteemed leaders like Jan Ajwang further enriched the discussion, setting a collaborative tone for the meeting.

Ruth Nagudi, representing MFA, provided an overview of the organization’s mission to stimulate social change through media, outlining the objectives of the Kusiriki project. This innovative initiative aims to empower youth civil society organizations, promote civic information, and increase youth participation in elections.

Dr. Peter Kisakye, from the Public Policy Institute (PPI), elaborated on PPI’s role in fostering public policy research and engagement. Together with MFA, PPI received support from the Swedish Institute to convene dialogues on elections and governance ahead of the 2026 general elections in Uganda.

The meeting concluded with a clear roadmap for collaboration, emphasizing the importance of leveraging new media tools such as TikTok and Twitter to engage young people effectively. Training of trainers and interactive dialogues emerged as key strategies to strengthen civic competence and political accountability among Uganda’s youth.

Generally, the inception meeting served as a catalyst for collective action, uniting stakeholders in their commitment to empower Uganda’s youth through media literacy and civic engagement. As the initiative progresses, it holds the promise of shaping a future where informed and empowered youth actively contribute to the nation’s development and democratic processes.

 


APP DEVELOPMENT

The Kushiriki app stands as a beacon of empowerment for Uganda’s youth, offering a comprehensive platform for meaningful civic engagement and informed participation in the democratic process. Developed by Impact Unified AB in collaboration with partner organizations and supported by the Swedish Institute, the Kusiriki app represents a cutting-edge tool designed to bridge the gap between young citizens and essential electoral information.

At its core, Kushiriki embodies the Swahili concept of “Participation” or “sharing,” reflecting its mission to unite youth civil society organizations and engage young people in promoting a conducive electoral environment. Through intuitive design and user-friendly features, the app serves as a one-stop destination for accessing critical information on elections, governance, and political processes.

Key features of the Kusiriki app include:

  1. Comprehensive Electoral Resources: Users can access up-to-date information on electoral procedures, candidate profiles, manifestos, and voting guidelines, empowering them to make informed decisions during elections.
  2. Fact-Checking Tools: In an era of misinformation and disinformation, the app provides fact-checking resources to help users discern truth from falsehoods, promoting transparency and accountability in public discourse.
  3. Youth-Centric Content: Recognizing the importance of tailored content for young audiences, the app delivers engaging multimedia content, including videos, infographics, and interactive quizzes, to educate and inspire youth participation.
  4. Community Dialogues: Facilitating dialogue and collaboration, the app serves as a platform for organizing virtual and physical dialogues on elections and governance, fostering inclusive participation and civic engagement among diverse youth groups.

It is the Ugandan Election 2026 App. We are thrilled to introduce a groundbreaking platform that serves as a gateway to the general Ugandan election in 2026. Our app not only aims to educate users about democracy and service delivery but also tackles the critical issue of misinformation through an engaging game. Let’s delve deeper into the features and benefits of this innovative application.

The Ugandan Election 2026 App is designed to be an educational resource, providing users with a wealth of knowledge about elections.

Download the app via the following links:

iOS: https://apps.apple.com/se/app/kushiriki/id6447473663?l=en-GB

Android app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ImpactUnified.Kushiriki

As Uganda prepares for the upcoming 2026 general elections, the Kusiriki app emerges as a powerful tool for empowering young citizens to become informed, engaged, and active participants in shaping the future of their nation. By leveraging the potential of technology and media, Kusiriki embodies a vision of democratic renewal and youth empowerment, paving the way for a more vibrant and inclusive democracy in Uganda.

Screenshots of the App

 


Hoima Dialogue Highlights:

Hosted at NAVODA (Navigators of Development Association), the Hoima dialogue drew together 30 enthusiastic participants from diverse youth organizations. The training agenda covered multifaceted topics, including the fundamental role of media in society, harnessing social media for advocacy, mechanisms for holding power to account, and strategies for combatting disinformation. Through a blend of informative lectures, engaging role-plays, and collaborative group discussions, participants were actively involved in exploring the nuances of media usage. Notably, discussions revealed that many participants were predominantly using media for entertainment rather than leveraging its potential for advocacy or accountability purposes. Consequently, the training pivoted towards empowering participants to embrace their roles as citizen journalists while upholding ethical journalistic standards such as accuracy, fairness, and transparency. Group activities encouraged participants to identify pressing community issues, select leaders for accountability, and strategize effective media channels for advocacy campaigns.

https://www.facebook.com/2072676282803258

Hoima Pictorial


 

Arua Dialogue Highlights:

Took place at the social center opposite the Inspector General of Government’s office in Arua City, the dialogue attracted a diverse cohort of 30 participants, including journalists and representatives from youth organizations. Mirroring the content of the Hoima dialogue, the training in Arua emphasized the strategic utilization of media for advocacy purposes. Many participants, particularly those from grassroots youth organizations, expressed initial apprehension about utilizing social media platforms for organizational communication and advocacy. However, their receptiveness to learning journalistic tools and effective communication strategies underscored the transformative potential of the training.

Key Outcomes:

  1. Heightened Awareness:

Participants developed a deeper appreciation for the pivotal role of media in shaping public discourse and driving social change.

  1. Empowerment:

Youth emerged from the dialogues with newfound confidence and skills to leverage media platforms for advocacy, accountability, and community engagement.

  1. Skill Enhancement:

Through hands-on activities and interactive sessions, participants honed practical skills in citizen journalism, media advocacy, and the discernment of disinformation.

  1. Positive Feedback:

Post-training evaluations illuminated a notable shift in participants’ attitudes towards media usage, with many expressing eagerness to harness its potential for positive impact in their communities.

The Kushiriki Dialogues in Hoima and Arua epitomized the power of collaborative learning and grassroots engagement in fostering media literacy and civic empowerment among youth. By equipping participants with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to navigate the media landscape effectively, these dialogues have laid a foundation for sustained advocacy, accountability, and social change in Uganda.

Arua Pictorial for the dialogues


Jinja Dialogue Highlights.

The dialogue aimed at enhancing media literacy, combating disinformation, and promoting civic engagement among Uganda’s youth. The initiative sought to equip young professionals and media practitioners with essential skills and knowledge on media, governance, accountability, and service delivery.

The dialogue commenced with a briefing session involving MFA, project partners, and Community Based Organizations (CBOs) representatives. Participants, drawn from various communities in Jinja and Iganga, engaged in a day-long training session covering diverse topics.

Key activities included:

  1. Briefing Session: MFA convened the first meeting with project partners and CBOs representatives, setting the stage for collaboration.
  2. Training: Participants underwent intensive training on media programs for social change, understanding the role of media, citizen journalism, media advocacy, ethics, and combating disinformation.
  3. Group Discussions: Interactive sessions allowed participants to delve into community issues, simulate press conferences, and explore avenues for media advocacy.
  4. Introduction to the Kushiriki App: The project team introduced the Kushiriki App, emphasizing its role in fostering youth participation and engagement through technology.

The training culminated in a comprehensive evaluation, gauging participants’ understanding of media-related concepts before and after the session. Feedback from attendees underscored the significance of the dialogue in enhancing their knowledge and skills.

The pre-and post-evaluation results revealed a significant improvement in participants’ awareness of media’s role in development, digital media utilization for social change, advocacy techniques, and understanding of disinformation’s impact on society.

Participants expressed satisfaction with the training, highlighting newfound insights into media advocacy, community engagement, and interview skills. Many pledged to leverage their enhanced knowledge to drive positive change in their communities.

Overall, the Jinja dialogue proved instrumental in equipping youth with the tools and understanding needed to navigate media landscapes effectively, advocate for societal issues, and contribute meaningfully to democratic processes.

Jinja Pictorial for Dialogues


GENERAL CONCLUSION

Through collaborative efforts and targeted interventions, initiatives like the Kushiriki Project continue to empower Uganda’s youth, fostering informed citizenship and active participation in governance and social development initiatives.

Utilizing new media platforms, including a dedicated mobile app, an interactive website, and various social media channels, the Kushiriki Project delivered precise and trustworthy information about Uganda’s elections. It fostered spaces for informed virtual dialogues, facilitating engagement among youth and civil society actors.

As we conclude the Kushiriki Project, we celebrate its impact in empowering Uganda’s youth for electoral engagement. Through innovative approaches and collaborative efforts, we have taken significant strides towards creating a more inclusive and participatory electoral process.

For additional information about the Kushiriki Project, please visit our website at www.mediafocusonafrica.org or contact Ruth at ruth@mediafocusonafrica.org or +256 782 081 922.

 

Embracing the Future: Uganda Media Week 2023 Explores Public Interest, AI, and the Evolution of Journalism

Set to take place from November 9th, 2023, the 5th Uganda Media Week Conference, hosted by Media Focus on Africa Uganda, promises an illuminating journey into the future of journalism. Under the theme “Public Interest, AI, and the Future of Journalism,” this conference is poised to revolutionize the landscape of media.

The event will convene a gathering of distinguished experts, influential voices, and industry insiders, fostering discussions around crucial topics. Panel discussions will explore the role of effective reporting in strengthening democratic accountability, creating an inclusive internet environment for women in media, deciphering the implications of AI in the realm of journalism, and confronting online gender-based violence.

Uganda Media Week 2023 is not just a conference; it’s an avenue for transformative conversations and knowledge exchange. Brace yourself for engaging dialogues that offer critical insights into the future of media and journalism in Uganda.

For more information please reachout to us via ruth@mediafocusonafrica.org

or Call +256393248341

KENYA 2022 ELECTIONS: FINDING THE GENDER BALANCE

We are effectively into the election year. Kenya’s general election are due to be held in August 2022. In the last few weeks there’s been a heightening of political activities across the country. As with every electoral cycle, the issue of participation and representation of women will come into sharp focus. The constitution requires that not more than two thirds of the members of any elective body consist of one gender. 11 years after the constitution was passed, this threshold is far from being realized. Following the 2017 election, women made up 7.9% of elected MPs (from the 290 constituencies), 6.4% of Governors and Senators and 6.6% of elected MCAs. Regionally (East Africa) Kenya lags behind in the representation of women.

A variety of reasons account for the low representation of Kenyan women in political leadership. Top of the pile is the impact of age old social-cultural norms that define gender roles in our communities.  This has proved a major hindrance to women achieving political leadership. Political campaigns tend to be quite expensive. A study estimated the cost of running for an MP seat in 2017 to range between 20-35 million Kenya shillings. Due to socio-cultural norms that govern ownership and access to property and capital, women are greatly disadvantaged when it comes to raising resources for campaigning.

High media visibility of political candidates contributes to likelihood of success, but women candidates are less visible in the media. A 2019 global study commissioned by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, found that men remain the vast majority of quoted experts and sources in political news coverage and that the share of voice by men is 7 times that of women. The male dominance of political leadership spaces means that male candidates in competition with female candidates benefit from the unconscious bias of the voters i.e. voters unconsciously equate political leadership with men. The dominance also means that male candidates have abundance of role models to learn and get inspiration from. Female candidates competing with male candidates for the same seat and with similar qualifications and experience must work at least twice as hard to compete favorably.

As we head towards the August 2022 election, the need to increase the number of elected women representatives across the board has never been more apparent. In order for this to happen, female candidates for election require a lot of support. Strategic election planning training can make a significant contribution towards the success of female candidates in election. This refers to the capacity to approach electoral campaigning strategically. It involves analysis and use of data on demographics, past elections and voter trends to inform a candidate’s campaign plan. Strategic election planning allows a candidate to efficiently and effectively utilize limited resources and time during campaigns while greatly increasing the chances of success. Female candidates for election can also greatly benefit from increased visibility as a result of effective branding and messaging using digital/social media platforms. Digital/social media can be a useful alternative platform for visibility for female candidates during the campaigns. Proper branding on these platforms can also lead to getting noticed and profiled on traditional media which ultimately leads to getting known by more electorates. Learning from, inspiration and motivation by senior elected female colleagues can also add great value to female candidates running for election, particularly for those running for the first time.

With funding from the Canada High Commission’s Fund for Local Initiative, Media Focus on Africa (MFA) is embarking on a project to support 20 women aspirants for various elective seats from the counties of Narok, Nyandarua, West Pokot and Kajiado. The goal of the project is “Strengthening the democratic participation of women in Kenya”.   These 4 counties were chosen because they are among those counties in Kenya that have some of the least numbers of elected women throughout Kenya’s history. The support in form of training will expose the women to Strategic election planning and digital media skills for campaigning. In addition the women shall receive motivation and inspiration from elected female colleagues. The project will run for the next 4-6 months.

This project is in line with MFA‘s priority focus area of gender equality. Over the last 5 years, MFA has implemented a number of exciting and successful projects on gender equality including the recently aired popular TV series ‘Ms President’. Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls is at the core of the government of Canada International Policy- the Feminist International Assistance Policy.

Image courtesy of UN.

BARRIERS WOMEN FACE WHEN RUNNING FOR POLITICAL OFFICES

On July 29, 2021, The Canadian High Commission and Media Focus on Africa engaged in discussions with Ms President participants who will be vying for elective seats in the 2022 elections in Kenya. These discussions are part of Canada’s and MFA’s objective to promote and support women’s political participation. These discussions are going to take place over a period of months in the lead up to the elections.

In the discussions held at the High Commissioners Residence, the commission and MFA sought to understand the individual journey of the women, their experiences in their quest for leadership, the strategies they were putting in place and the barriers women face when they run for office.

Some of the conversations are captured in short video. Watch HERE

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