Wednesday, 20 April 2016

ToroDev Holds a Rural Debate in Kamwenge District, Biguli Sub County to capture women issues on health, education and electioneering.

On 13th April 2016, women of Biguli Sub County in Kamwenge District showed their outcry over the poor service delivery in their Sub County. This was during the rural radio debate conducted by Mr. Mukonyezi Wilfred, a moderator of the Listeners’ Forum’ on Jubilee  Fm ,   during a radio discussion sponsored by ToroDev.

The main objective of holding rural debates is to amplify the voices/concerns of rural women and youth from very hard to reach communities who are also unable to appear on FM radio platforms for talk shows which are always aired late in the evenings yet women have other responsibilities in their homes.

A rural debate is a concept that was birthed after realizing very few women were participating in live radio talkshows. There have been limited women, youth, local and technical leaders’ participation in the live radio discussions, and this has been a problem with capturing issues from women and youth who live in hard to reach areas.   During the debate, the main focus is put on women where women’s voices are captured and thereafter amplified on radio. 

The focus areas where debates are held are mainly very remote areas with poor essential service delivery cases in all 7 districts were given first priority.  Participants selected are mainly 80% rural women and youth in those areas and 20% technical leaders (head teachers of government schools, in-charge of health centers, OCs of police stations, & local leaders are also involved in the debate.
Recorded voices are amplified live on Jubilee Radio, articles posted online (listeners forum face book page & ToroDev blogs), Phone SMS, calls used for mobilization. Radio debate; topical issues are raised on radio where citizen engage the duty bearers.

The people’s issues were run on Jubilee radio on 17th April 2016 during the ‘Listeners Forum’ program on Sunday 8:00-10:00pm for the local leaders’ intervention.

During the discussion, Mr. Mukonyezi the moderator of the talk show indicated how rural radio debates had done a great work in attracting leaders’ intervention. “Rural radio debates have created a quicker way of attracting local leaders’ intervention into people’s issues most especially those leaders who mistake advocacy forums of being political groups. Such leaders tend to quickly intervene when they hear people themselves bring out their outcry about the poor service delivery”.
Mukonyezi added the main concern in this rural radio magazine/ debate was to discuss the state of health in regard to maternal health, the health state of Biguli health centre III in Biguli Sub County and the post-election issues in the Sub County and district as a whole.

Health workers leave the hospital very early, they don’t work whole day, they come late and leave very early, they don’t attend to all the patients who come very early and they don’t work at all over the weekend”, Said Katusabe Angelina during the rural radio debate.

There is only one midwife at the health facility of Biguli health centre III attending to over 20 women a day, this is very frustrating because it has put women to a great risk. Said Mrs. Barungi Betty during the debate.

Citizens seeking health services in one of the health centres
“There is lack of an ambulance for emergency especially to transport women who have complications   during labor time and this puts women at risk in most cases, the government should help and support this health centre if it’s to function well and serve the people of Biguli”. Said Karungi Scovia during the rural radio magazine.

“More still the roads are in sorry state, impassable with lots of potholes this causes transport to health centers to be very expensive and this has forced women to go away with visiting the health centers for checkup as required which puts their lives at risk and women shun to go to deliver from health centers”     said Happy Medius a resident of Biguli during the rural radio magazine.

The women who participated in the rural radio magazine acknowledged their participation in the recent general elections. They said they did cast their votes without being forced to make different choices of leaders they thought will work with them to develop their communities.

Local listeners also participated in the live radio discussion through call ins to raise their issues and concerns. "What do local leaders think when people cry over poor services?", asked Latif from Mugusu Sub County, "The problem with our leaders is that when they reach office, they forget about lobbying and delivering better services", said Mugabe Robert, "Local people should not depend on free education but should rather invest in their private schools if they want good results".

The rural radio debate is supported by NED, ICT4Dem and SIDA/CIPESA on a project aimed at using radio and social media to improve the participation of marginalized population groups of rural youth and women in governance issues in the Rwenzori Region, Western Uganda.

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