Over sixty (60) local leaders, local citizens and media practitioners from the Rwenzori Sub Region participated in a reflection conference aimed at improving the convergence of appropriate ICT tools to improve accountability and service delivery especially on priority sectors like roads, schools, health and agriculture among others.
“The role of the District Information Officer is to Gather/collect, analyse, disseminate and store information on service delivery, Moblise public for participation in development programmes and activities and advise management on the need for media matters (e.g. ICT and communication needs.” Said John Thawite, the District Information Officer, Kasese.
The two days residential conference held at Lisieuk Hotel in Fort Portal from 29 to 30th October, 2014 and was officially opened by the Kabarole Resident District Commissioner and officially closed by the Kabarole District Council Speaker. Some of the leaders who attended included the district information officers from the districts of Kabarole, Kyenjojo, Kyegegwa, Bundibugyo, Kamwenge and Ntoroko.
Some of the key objectives of the conference included sharing success stories, identifying challenges and give possible recommendations for improved use of appropriate ICT tools to improve accountability and service delivery monitoring and advocacy, availing stakeholders with a clear understanding of the public policy framework in Uganda for improved service delivery and accountability; for instance, government planning, budgeting and decision making processes.
Other objectives were providing a platform for engagement and networking between citizens, local leaders, journalists and civil society to ensure a healthy democratic engagement and participation in social economic and political development processes in the region and beyond. To advocate for appropriate policies which will sustainably ensure accountability for improved service delivery using appropriate ICT tools in Uganda.
The topics presented included; Understanding the Minimum National Service Delivery Standards in comparison with the status quo in the Rwenzori region districts, Channels for demanding public accountability and what laws/policies guarantee accountability in Uganda, The role of citizen groups/advocacy forums in promoting public accountability, service delivery monitoring and engagement in other poverty reduction processes. Sustainability of Citizens’ Advocacy groups into socially and economically viable entities in the Rwenzori region. Embracing the convergence of new media technologies (web 2.0 tools and mobile telephony) and local FM radio in promoting democratic engagement processes and Public Policy formulation and lastly, Public Policy analysis/review and advocacy processes in Uganda.
Some of the Key presenters included Anne Manyindo from CARITAS – Fort Portal, Edward Itoote from KANCA, John Thawite from Kasese District Local Government and Johnstone Baguma Kumaraki from ToroDev among others.
The two days reflection conference which was organized by ToroDev was supported by NED and SIDA.