Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Mentors use radio to help local citizens engage with their leaders for improved service delivery



ToroDev has been highly involved in building the capacities of radio journalists for improved public accountability broadcasting because of its importance in enabling the local citizens access and share information for improved service delivery monitoring and improving accountability. Mentors trained by ToroDev have highly been involved in mobilizing the local citizens to engage their local leaders for improved service delivery through virtual platforms in form of talk shows and rural radio debates.

Radio programs hosted by mentors have empowered local citizens with information and knowledge to demand public accountability and democratic engagement processes in the Rwenzori Region districts. “We have used radio programs as a plat form to bring marginalized population groups (women and youths) lobby for improved and timely public service delivery from their political and local leaders, and the civil society”, said Lubega Elly, a Mentor at Kyenjojo FM in Kyenjojo District.

Rwenzori journalists during a mentorship training with ToroDev
Mentors have also created a platform for both local and political leaders to give accountability to the local citizens who are the primary consumers of the public services. “During the demonstration by the local people in Kicwamba Sub County against the poor roads that were destroyed  by the heavy trucks that carry pozzolana, the District Officers of Kabarole came out and gave accountability on how they spend money obtained from the mineral”, said Tusiime Francis, a mentor at Voice of Toro In Kabarole District.

Meanwhile, mentors have also gone ahead to use rural radio debates as a way of getting evidence based information from reliable sources especially on issues regarding accountability and service delivery. “I have conducted rural radio debates in places like Rwentuha and Kakabara Sub Counties in Kyegegwa District, Bufunjo and Katooke Sub Counties in Kyenjojo District and Kiguma Parish in Kabarole District. This has helped me to broadcast proper researched information through getting ground information and voices of people out crying for better services”, said Mukonyezi Wilfred, a mentor at Better FM in Kabarole District and also a moderator of the Listeners’ Forum, a radio program that is sponsored by ToroDev.

ICT tools especially the use of FM radios has also helped mentors to bridge the gap between local leaders and the local people and also citizen participation in governance. “As mentors, we have used FM radio to bridge the gap between leaders and the local people through hosting local leaders on talk shows to give accountability and allowing local listeners to call in and raise their issues and concerns”, said Tumwine Haward, a mentor at UBC Radio in Bundibugyo District.

However, there is need for more support for mentors to continuously keep engaging local leaders and also share information regarding accountability in the media through providing them with transport facilitation to reach out the community and pick people’s issues, recording gadgets like cameras and recorders, and also computers for information sharing and evidence based information.

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