Trac FM: SMS response to broadcast media for the masses

10.07.2011 by Arthur Grau IV | 0 Comments

Interactive radio talk-shows are popular public debate in Uganda.  TRAC FM builds on the success of these shows to help everyone keep track of public services such as,  ”reporting on teacher absenteeism, availability of text books, drug stock outs, waiting time at clinics, teacher payments, election proceedings, functionality of water points, potholes etc.” According to Twaweza,  “TRAC FM combines Radio, Mobile, Print, graphic design and online media to create a new and popular approach to public monitoring of service delivery.”

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As we approach the public debates that will no doubt be part of the coming 2012 election cycle in the U.S., could we use a service like TRAC to hold our own leaders, both local and national, accountable for their actions and promises?  Would a service like SMS and the TRAC visualizations that accompany the responses be a way for the commonly disenfranchised to feel more involved in the political process?  TRAC could do simple poling at a high school for connecting learners to their learning process or help service organizations like Bread for the City get direct feedback from their stakeholders. Any takers? Add this solution here.

Currently, according to their website, “TRAC works in countries affected by poverty and conflict. Its sole purpose is to improve the welfare of people by enabling them to make informed choices and to hold their leaders accountable. TRAC gathers data to enhance transparency and informs people by unleashing the power of mobile communications.”

Sounds like a great tool that we could also use for civic engagement and neighborhood involvement.

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Sometimes, little johnny, try as we might not to, we just need some extra divs. There there, dear, I know. I know.