Improving your City? There’s an App for that.

Artwork by @neemascribbles

As Kampala rapidly grows, so do the needs of its mushrooming population. With the rise of mobile technology, it’s now easier than ever to link citizens to public service delivery. It’s with this idea in mind that Pollicy is aiming to collaborate with Sparkplug on their newest innovation, Urb — Better Your City.

In the words of Raymond Besiga, the co-founder of Sparkplug, “Urb is a civic engagement platform that aims to better cities through collective action of an engaged citizenry, by connecting with both the community and city through service requests, feedback and dialogue on urban spaces”.

Users can currently engage with other community members through Urb by reporting concerns or commenting on local issues. For example, if the water supply is cut out unexpectedly, community members can report the issue; ask for information on the issue or comment on the issue. Government authorities, service providers and CSOs will also be able to utilize the wealth of data created by users to respond to reports, develop a dialogue with citizens and set their ongoing agendas. Users can sign up for the app by using their Twitter account or their phone number.

Screenshots of the Urb App

Moving forward, Urb will incorporate multi-language translations to cater to the diverse blend of languages within Kampala. Other additions include anonymous posting as well as community moderators to ensure positive communication. The platform aims to be as inclusive as possible with the hope that the chronically silenced might also be able to seek solutions to the problems plaguing their communities.

Raymond adds, “Politics has moved away from actual service delivery and leadership. However, it does not help to be pessimists. Let’s be engaged. If there’s an issue, say something! We must own our country. With over 60% youth, we can actively participate in campaigns because there is power in diversity. Chain reactions are the most powerful forces in the universe. My advice to young people is to join something great. Join a positive cause and see it to the end. See it happen!”

Raymond Besiga

Sparkplug, a Ugandan company founded by Raymond and co-founder Moses Mugisha focuses on the intersection of technology and design to create the best possible experience for users across digital media. Raymond recently worked on Akabbo, East Africa’s first mobile-money powered crowd funding platform and Liga Inan, an mHealth project in Timor-Leste focused on improving maternal health outcomes for expectant mothers.

The Urb — Better Your City Android app is available for download on the Play Store. We would love to hear your feedback on the platform. Drop us a line below.