With guidance from TTC, TRAC FM is creating a new and unique approach to use SMS and radio to improve the livelihoods of citizens of Uganda. The premise on which TRAC FM is built is that citizens can only help themselves when it comes to effective leadership. In an effective democracy leaders should be held to account by the people they serve. In this regard, leaders are not just the President and his ministers but the whole range of public officials who have a leading role in securing basic facilities for the public at large. These range from police chiefs to hospital directors and from road engineers to school principals.
Together with its partners, TRAC FM facilitates citizens with a platform for public monitoring and scrutinizing of public services. ‘Which street has the worst potholes?’, ‘Which hospital has no malaria medicine?’, ‘is the teacher coming to school to teach?’ Everyday challenges people struggle with are often created by insufficient vigilance, effort and plain mismanagement and corruption of office by responsible public officials. TRAC FM helps citizens to identify failed service delivery and together make a stand against unresponsive leaders. For this purpose, they work together with Uganda’s biggest media house ‘Monitor Publications’ which houses Ugandas leading newspaper ‘the Daily Monitor’ and one of the most popular radio stations ‘KFM’.
How does TRAC FM work?
Together with their local media partners TRAC FM identifies pressing and popular problems concerning public service delivery. The easy to use TRAC FM software is used by radio presenters to hold surveys during their talk-show to which listeners can react via SMS (free of charge). During these popular radio debates, listeners are presented with a specific question which allows them to report on a failing public service, give their opinion on pressing public matters or elect worst or best service deliverer within a certain sector of service delivery. Incoming text messages are collected by TRAC and processed into a ‘data visualization’, which is a real-time overview of all the received answers depicted in a range of clear graphs. The visualization is relayed to the FM stations where the radio talk-show host interprets and presents the graphs and feeds the data back into the public debate.