New Forums to Use ICT for Social Accountability in Eastern Uganda

By Ashnah Kalemera|

Under the ICT4Democracy in East Africa initiative, the Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) has initiated 12 forums in eastern Uganda, which will use various Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) tools, as well as offline methods, for social accountability.

The forums, each comprised of 12 members, were formed in the districts of Tororo and Busia in October 2016, expanding the network of WOUGNET’s Voluntary Social Accountability Committees, or VSACs, who monitor and report on service delivery failures and mobilise citizens to participate in governance processes.

Members of the forums include representatives from Local Councils, as well as members of pre-existing community water, health, agriculture and education management committees. They also include representatives of youth, women, Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) and persons living with HIV/AIDs groups.

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Reflecting on ICT for Democratic Engagement in Uganda’s Rwenzori Region

By Ashnah Kalemera | The Rwenzori sub-region of western Uganda, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools have been key tools in promoting public accountability and improved service delivery. Through an ICT “convergence approach” that combines SMS, radio and online polling, Toro Development Network (ToroDev) has for the past five years promoted information and knowledge sharing for citizens’ engagement with their leaders on priority service delivery needs and concerns in the region. Read more

Upskilling partners on the Human Rights Based Approach

By ToroDev Staff Writer | A four day capacity building workshop organised by the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) and the Spider Centre was held in Kampala, Uganda between on 12 -16 October 2015.

ToroDev Executive Director, Jonhstone Baguma and the Communication and Documentation officer Kugonza David attended the workshop in which the Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA) in organisational programming and documentation was the focus of discussion.  Read more

My Work As A Leader Is To Improve Service Delivery, Alex Ruhunda

On 6th September 2014, the Member of Parliament of Fort Portal Municipality Hon Alex Ruhunda indicated his role as a leader. “My work as a leader is to deliver better services to my citizens. I did not come into office just to enjoy the opportunities, but to lobby for better services for the people of Fort Portal Municipality. People of Fort Portal need to work hard to see that our vision of having a city is realized”. Hon Alex was discussing on ToroDev’s live radio discussion called ‘Orukurato Program’, a 2hr weekly radio program that discusses issues of accountability every Saturday (08:00 – 10:00) pm.

During the program, Hon Alex gave accountability concerning the energy and water sectors. “Before I came into office, only 40% of Fort Portal Municipality had electricity, but now, it has risen to 92%. We are still extending electricity to other areas like Mugoma, Kyakaijo, Kidukuru, among others and all those that are near the municipality to see that they can all access electricity. We have also done a great work to see that all people in the municipality can access good and stable water. We have reworked on water pipes in places like Bukwali, and also planning to put a water pump at Kasusu market”.
Meanwhile, Hon Alex also indicated how all the roads have been tarmacked so as to boost development. “We have a chance that Fort Portal is at the center of many districts like Kasese, Kyenjojo, Bundibugyo, Ntoroko, among others. All the roads leading to these districts have been tarmacked apart from the one of Kamwenge that is under construction. We should therefore look at this as a big opportunity and exploit the available chances for development”.
Local listeners also participated through call-ns and using the SMS plat form to raise their issues and concerns. “I thank Hon Alex for keeping our town clean”, said Kamaiko from Kibiito Sub County, “All leaders should borrow a leaf and give accountability”, said Muhumuza Deus from Kamwenge District, “Hon Alex should either demolish or renovate the old buildings around Fort Portal Town”, said Rose from Fort Portal Municipality, “We are also requesting our leaders to give us accountability”, said Patrick from Burahya County, “Our MPs do not give us accountability”, said Byamukama from Kyenjojo District”.
The live radio discussion was moderated by Mr. Kasigazi Willy Donanto and issupported by SIDA/CIPESA and SPIDER/Stockholm University on a project aimed at using appropriate ICT tools to promote democratic engagement in the Rwenzori Region, Western Uganda.

 

ICT4Democracy in East Africa: Promoting Democracy and Human Rights Through ICTs

Established in 2011, ICT4Democracy in East Africa is a network of organisations working to promote democracy and human rights through Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Across the three countries, partners are leveraging on mobile short message service (SMS), toll free call centre, FM radio, social media, crowd sourcing platforms and direct community engagement to implement projects that tackle issues such as corruption, service delivery, respect for human rights, freedom of expression and access to information.

The projects are driven by the shared vision of the immense potential that ICTs have in increasing citizens’ participation in decision-making processes and strengthening democratisation.

The partner organisations are: the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA), Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRAGG), iHub Research, Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), Toro Development Network, Transparency International Uganda and Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET).

The network is supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and the Swedish Program for ICT in Developing Regions (Spider). CIPESA is the network regional coordinator.

Read more about the network in the profile publication here.

 

Kabarole Leaders Give Accountability Concerning The Health Sector

On 30th August 2014, leaders of Kabarole District appeared on HITS FM to give accountability concerning the Health Sector. “We have tried to deliver what the local citizens requested us when we were aspiring for our offices. We have built a maternity ward at Rwengaju Health Center III, and also planning to equip it with facilities like beds. We have also built a maternity ward at Nyabuswa Health Center in Mugusu Sub County, and planning to equip it with furniture”, said Hon Rwabuhinga Richard, the LCV Chairperson of Kabarole District, during ToroDev’s live radio discussion called ‘Orukurato Program’, a 2hr weekly radio program that discusses issues of accountability every Saturday (08:00 – 10:00) pm.

A congested maternity ward

During the live radio discussion, Hon Rwabuhinga further indicated how a lot of lobbying has been done for different health centers, so as to create better services closer to the local citizens. “Different Health Center IIs have been promoted to Health Center IIIs such as Nyantabooma, Kakinga, and Nyabuswa. We have also built Health Center IIs in places like Nyamiseke, Kiboota, Nyakitokole, Kirere, Kasesenge, among others. However, these health centers still lack staff quarters, but we are still lobbying to see that they are also constructed”.
The live radio discussion was also attended by Dr. Obedi Moses, the District Health Officer of Kabarole who indicated the common diseases affecting Kabarole District. “There are top ten causes of sickness that have affected the people of Kabarole, malaria being the most common at 28.5%, pneumonia at 10%, diarrhea at 3.5%, skin diseases at 18% and others at 2.7%. We are encouraging the community to sleep under mosquito nets so as to reduce malaria cases”.
Local listeners also participated in the live radio discussion through call ins to raise their issues and concerns. “VHT(Voluntary Health Teams) are helping a lot yet they are not given any support”, said Asiimwe from Nyantabooma Parish in Kicwamba Sub County, “We have a problem of bilharzias in Nyabweya Parish that is being caused by the poor water”, said Ruta Kenneth from Kasenda Sub County, “Services in our health centers are so poor with a lot of medicine stock outs”, said Amanyire from Kyenjojo District, “We are told to buy medicine even when we visit Buhinga Referral Hospital”, said Samalie from Fort Portal Municipality.
The live radio discussion was moderated by Mr. Kasigazi Willy Donanto and issupported by SIDA/CIPESA and SPIDER/Stockholm University on a project aimed at using appropriate ICT tools to promote democratic engagement in the Rwenzori Region, Western Uganda.

Kabarole District Chairperson Gives Accountability

On 23rd August 2014, the LC V Chairperson of Kabarole District Hon. Rwabuhinga Richard appeared on HITS FM to give accountability. “From the month of March 2014, we were visiting different sub counties of Kabarole District, giving accountability and also carrying out down ward planning. In April, we passed a budget that totaled to 28 billion which we divided among the different sectors like health, agriculture, education, management, among others. The chairman was discussing on ToroDev’s live radio discussion called ‘Orukurato Program’, a 2hr weekly radio program that discusses issues of accountability every Saturday (08:00 – 10:00) pm.

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The Absenteeism of Members of Parliament in Parliamentary Sessions

On 16th August 2014, panelists appeared on HITS FM to discuss the absenteeism of members of parliament during parliamentary sessions. “In the present 9th parliament, most seats are always vacant during parliamentary sessions. This is because most Members of Parliament are always busy attending to their personal duties when parliamentary sessions are going on”, said Mr. Mugisa Degratius, a local citizen of Ruteete Sub County in Kabarole District. The local citizen was discussing on ToroDev’s live radio discussion called ‘Orukurato Program’, a 2hr weekly radio program that discusses issues of accountability every Saturday (08:00 – 10:00) pm.

A parliamentary Session

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The live radio discussion was also attended by Hon. Monday Wilson, the youth councilor of Kamwenge District, who stated the functions of Members of Parliament. “Article 79 of the Ugandan Constitution states the functions of MPs as having power to make laws on any matter for the peace, order, development and good governance of Uganda. This has been done through passing bills like the anti pornography bill, among others. Other roles are protecting the constitution and promoting democratic governance of Uganda”.

Hon Monday also indicated the existence of dormant MPs in parliament. “There are some MPs who are so dormant and doing nothing in delivering services. They do not discuss in parliament and also don’t appear in public. Such leaders do not do their secondary role of forwarding people’s issues to parliament through making consultative meetings. They also don’t lobby for their local citizens and therefore are not even supposed to represent local citizens”.
Local listeners also participated in the live radio discussion through call ins to raise their issues and concerns. “Corruption has totally affected the performance of our MPs”, said Robert from Karangura Sub County, “Bills passed in parliament are not always effective in implementation”, said Apollo from Rwimi Town Council, “There are some factors that disturb the performance of our MPs like poor facilitation”, said a caller from Kyenjojo District, “Some MPs are so dormant to the extent of sleeping in parliament”, said Mary from Fort Portal Municipality, “Our MPs have not done much to deliver services”, said a caller from Kyenjojo.
The live radio discussion was moderated by Mr Kasigazi Willy Donanto and issupported by SIDA/CIPESA and SPIDER/Stockholm University on a project aimed at using appropriate ICT tools to promote democratic engagement in the Rwenzori Region, Western Uganda.

Rural Monitors Launch Nkoma Advocacy Forum

Nkoma Advocacy Forum in Nkoma Sub County, Kamwenge District is one of the fourteen advocacy forums that are communities own initiatives formed by the 120 rural monitors who were trained by ToroDev in on line advocacy, monitoring service delivery using online social media/ ICT tools like Ushahidi plat form for on line documentation, visualization and mapping.
 On 20th August 2014, over forty members of Nkoma Advocacy Forum with support from ToroDev launched their forum, to get accreditation and recognition from their local leaders, and also to promote transparency and accountability among the local leaders in Kamwenge District.
During the launching, Miss Harriet Mujuni, the Chairperson of the forum indicated some of the activities of the forum. “As Nkoma Advocacy Forum, we advocate for better service delivery from our local leaders, do research concerning service delivery most especially government programs and projects,  lobby for better services from the government and also demand and promote public accountability in our district”
Miss Harriet further indicated the wide spread corruption in Kamwenge District that has hindered development. “Kamwenge District is lagging behind in development because of lack of accountability amongst the local leaders. Money that is meant for development activities has been diverted by the district workers, and no action has been taken against them due to lack of civil society to make engagements”.
The launching was also attended by Mr. Solomon Akugizibwe, the Media and Communications Officer at ToroDev, who encouraged the rural monitors to do advocacy and make their leaders accountable. “You should not stop on launching this forum but move on and advocate to making your leaders accountable. I also warn you against involving politics in your advocacy, because it may fail the forum and also divert your mission and goals”.
Meanwhile, the Kamwenge Resident District Commissioner appealed to the rural monitors to register their Forum at the District level, so as to encounter greater achievements in the district. “Forum members should register their Forum at the district and National level, so as to realize greater achievements in the district, and also have greater lobbying opportunities”.
The advocacy forums are supported by SIDA/CIPESA on a project aimed at using appropriate ICT tools to promote democratic engagement in the Rwenzori Region, Western Uganda.

ToroDev to Increase Monitoring in Kyegegwa District to Improve Education Performance

The Executive Director ToroDev, Johnson Baguma Kumaraki has promised to further strengthen partnership with Kyegegwa Town Council Local Government and the local communities to strengthen education performance through support to increased monitoring and community sensitization on the importance of education among others.
Mr. Johnstone also promised to support more community engagements with both political and technical leaders in the education sector through holding regular accountability meetings/workshops and participation on the live radio discussions.  This was revealed during a stakeholders education conference held in Kyegegwa Town Council held on 30th July, 2014.
ToroDev has been supporting Kyegegwa district local government in the use of appropriate ICT tools like local FM radios to give accountability to the local citizens for improved service delivery. Many local citizens in the district have also been trained to use appropriate ICT tools to monitor service delivery and participate in government planning and budgeting processes.
Other areas of support identified to uplift the performance of the education sector in the district were organizing annual education review meetings, lobbying for improved budgetary allocations to education sector by both local and central government leaders, regular capacity building trainings to school management committees, teachers and other education stakeholders.
              Participants discussing during the conference
The education conference organized by Kyegegwa Local Government in partnership with ToroDev and other civil society organizations like KRC, RIDE-Africa and RICNET among others also identified the critical barriers to education performance in Kyegegwa Town Council as poor attitude of the community towards education, failure to provide children with school lunch, limited career guidance and counseling of children.
Other critical barriers to improved education performance in Kyegegwa Town Council identified were failure to promote physical education, declining morality in the community leading to high levels of indiscipline and other policy challenges like high pupil to teacher ratio, poor teacher’s welfare, poor infrastructure among others.
This activity was supported by NED, SIDA/CIPESA on a project aimed at using appropriate ICT tools to improve service delivery and accountability in the Rwenzori Region, Western Uganda.

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