ToroDev project staff and advocacy forum leaders from the Western Uganda districts of Kyenjojo, Kabarole and Ntoroko had an exchange visit to Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET), Transparency International (TI) and Northern Uganda Media Club (NUMEC) supported projects in the districts of Lira, Apac, Oyam and Gulu.
The 5 days exchange visit (11th – 15th February, 2014) was aimed at improving ToroDev’s and partners approaches of using appropriate ICTs and physical platforms like rural advocacy forums to promote engagements between local citizens and leaders for improved service delivery in the seven districts of the Rwenzori region.
The exchange visit was also aimed at ensuring that ToroDev staff and partners have a deep understanding and context of how local citizens in Northern Uganda are engaging their leaders for improved essential service delivery.
ToroDev staff and leaders of the rural advocacy forums were able to visit the projects and gain knowledge on using appropriate ICT tools and other physical platforms like meetings to engage their leaders and demand accountability for improved service delivery.
“Local leaders from Northern Uganda are working together with the local citizen advocacy groups. I’m going to change my approach to ensure that I work closely with local leaders to ensure fruitful results” Said Amos Karuhanga, Chairperson of Ntoroko Citizens Concern in Ntoroko District.
“I have learnt that VSACs and VACs are evenly represented at the Parish level, we are also going to ensure that there is equal representation at the sub county level by having a committee at every parish.” Said Tibeeha John Bosco, the Secretary General of Bufunjo People’s Forum in Bufunjo Sub County, Kyenjojo District.
“VSACs and VACs have many old people and women who participate in monitoring service delivery. We have challenges recruiting women in our rural advocacy forums, we have been motivated to put more efforts in ensuring that we have more women in our groups.” Said Mukwano Ssenyonjo of People’s Rights and Forum for Development in Kabarole District.
“I was humbled by more women participation in WOUGNET Voluntary Accountability Committees; ToroDev project beneficiaries will borrow a leaf. I was also impressed by Transparency International Toll Free Line in monitoring service delivery; we (ToroDev) are finding a way to leverage on that service to strengthen our accountability monitoring using appropriate ICT tools in the Rwenzori Region. NUMEC is also doing a great job in community development broadcasting, We are going to encourage our partner Rwenzori Journalist Forum (RJF) to borrow a leaf.” Said Solomon Akugizibwe, ToroDev’s Media and Communications Officer
“I have learnt that local citizens in Northern Uganda organized in their advocacy groups have a good relationship with the local leaders which have made lobbying and accessing information by local citizens easy, I will encourage ToroDev supported advocacy forums to have good relationship with their leaders for fruitful results.” Said Recheal Kogere, Documentation Officer at ToroDev.
Members of the local accountability committees who interacted with ToroDev staff were also able to share their challenges, “The accounting language is hard to understand when we want to access information in the accounting reports.” Said David Otim from Ibuje Sub County in Apac District.
ToroDev is grateful to TI, WOUGNET and NUMEC staff for ensuring a successful exchange visit.