The 15 advocacy forums have been formed by the 120 rural monitors trained by ToroDev in online advocacy, monitoring service delivery using online social media/ICT tools like Ushahidi platform for online documentation, visualization and mapping. The Advocacy Forums also use FM Radio Broadcasting as an ICT tool for “convergence or hub” since it is the most accessed media channel in the rural areas of the Rwenzori Region.
“During the physical and Skype meetings and discussions ToroDev M&E team encourages the leaders of the 15 advocacy forums to embark on advocacy activities-monitoring service delivery, demanding accountability from local leaders and ensuring the participation of the marginalized groups such as women and youth. The team also tasks forum members to implement ratio of 40% as women, 40% youth and 20% adults in our forum memberships and additional information on social accountability” Said Amanya Sheila M&E officer ToroDev.
Sheila adds that as a team we encourage and support citizen-citizen engagements/deliberations to assess priority service delivery and public accountability advocacy at sub-county levels in 7 district of Rwenzori regions, through the existing 15 Advocacy Forums and also through daily facebook discussion with Forums that have computers connected with Internet and monthly phone calls the team tries to verify whether the 15 forums are still active in monitoring services and advocating for better services, whether they conduct monthly accountability meetings, whether they invite leaders for accountability meetings, whether youths and women attend their meeting ( and the number of youth and women), whether they discuss issues related to public accountability etc.
“We are always checked through phone- calls at-least twice a month by the team from ToroDev encouraging the leaders of the forums to continue using both physical meetings and ICT tools to advocate for improved service delivery and share the issues with the team both online and write a report which is submitted at ToroDev Offices every month, this has kept us active in doing our work”. Said Muhindo Ezra,the leader of Katebwa Advocacy Forum, Kabarole District.
“As members of the advocacy forums we are always encouraged by ToroDev through phone calls, Skype, Face book discussions and physical meeting to keep using online/virtual platform for documentation and advocacy on people’s demands for improved service delivery in the seven districts of the Rwenzori region and participate on the Radio talk shows”. Said Rwaheru Gilbert the leader of Kichwamba people’and development Forum Kabarole District.
As way of motivating, encouraging, strengthening and empowering the Advocacy forums and rural monitors, ToroDev’ M&E team attends the monthly meetings organized by the advocacy forums at the sub-county level, also twice in a month the leaders of the forums are given a call t to check on the progress of their work, holds Skype meetings with leaders who were given Laptops, this is done to assess the strengths, performance and weakness of the rural advocacy forums and rural monitors.