In April 2014, ToroDev M&E team held a monitoring and Evaluation activity to track the impact of the Advocacy Forums and rural monitors in monitoring service delivery and demanding accountability from the local leaders in the districts of Kabarole, Kyenjojo, Kyegegwa, Bundibugyo, Kasese and Ntoroko. The activity acted as a way of motivating, encouraging, strengthening and empowering the Advocacy forums and rural monitors, and assisting the project team to study and know the activity plans, needs, challenges, achievements, changes and future plans of the advocacy forums and the one hundred and twenty (120) rural monitors.
|Members of Kasese Youths and Women’s Forum|
During the activity, ToroDev M&E team found out that women and youths are now finding it more interesting and benefiting to join advocacy forums so as to work hand in hand with their local and political leaders in an organized way. “We joined the forum to fight for the rights of women in Kasese District and the entire Rwenzori Region because despite great strides made by the international women’s rights movement over many years, women and girls in Kasese and Uganda are still exposed to marriage at an early age and trafficked into forced labour and sex slavery. Women are denied education and participation in politics. Around the villages in Kasese District, deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth is needlessly high, and women are denied the right to make deeply personal choices in their private lives. As a way of advocating for our rights, we joined Kasese Youths and Women’s Forum”, said Masika Flavia, the Chairperson of Kasese Youths and Women’s Forum.
During the activity, ToroDev M&E team also found out that advocacy forums have continued to hold accountability meetings with their local leaders. “As forum members, we meet three times a month so as to handle people’s issues. During the meetings, we also discuss how to present our issues to leaders or on radio and we also first hold an internal meeting before calling for a bigger meeting with leaders”, said Tibenda Steven, the secretary of People’s Rights and Forum for Development in Mugusu Sub County, Kabarole District.
|Members of Kicwamba Forum for Development & Service Delivery|
Forum members have also endeavored to open up offices with monthly financial support from ToroDev so as to make their work easier. “We opened up an office in February 2014 after we had got the monthly support from ToroDev and this has helped us to do our work in an organized way. This has also helped us to be recognized by the local people who easily access us and raise their community issues/concerns. The office has also helped us to have a place for both internal and public accountability meetings”, said Rwaheru Gilbert, the Chairperson of Kicwamba Forum for Development and Service Delivery.
“Our offices are open five days a week with an office attendant to attend to people’s issues. Local people no longer go to the LCI chairpersons but they approach us to help them talk to these leaders. This has helped in improving services, respecting human rights, freedom of speech and expression and demanding for accountability and better services”, said Tibeeha John Bosco, the secretary for Bufunju People’s Forum in Bufunjo Sub County, Kyenjojo District.
Meanwhile, ToroDev team also realized that services have been improved due to the efforts of the advocacy forums and radio talk shows. “Our Advocacy forum has acted as an eye opener for the local citizens through sensitizing them about information access and encouraging them to listen to radio accountability talk shows and also demanding accountability from the local leaders. Through our monitoring activities, we advocated for Butiiti Health Center III to get a latrine”, said Jane the Chairperson of Youths and Women advocacy Forum in Butiiti Sub County, Kyenjojo District.
However, there is need for more financial support to enable the rural monitors move widely to monitor service delivery. There is also need to encourage and motivate them through trainings especially in using appropriate ICT tools for governance and improving their participation on the live radio discussions. Rural monitors also need more equipment like laptops, photo cameras and recorders to ensure a coordinated and persistent monitoring of service delivery.