Friday, 25 November 2016

ToroDev mobilizes CSO’s to participate in the district budget conference

ToroDev in partnership with Kyenjojo NGO’s/CBO’s forum mobilized CSO’s in Kyenjojo district to prepare for a joint communiqué on what CSO’s have done, their commitments in the coming year(s) and also have physical participation to lobby for improved service delivery in different sectors including; education, health, agriculture, road sector, water sector, etc during the district budget conference.

The one day budget conference took place on 23rd November, 2016 at Kyenjojo district headquarters and was attended by over 120 people who included; politicians, civil society representatives, technical staff, journalists, opinion leaders and other concerned citizens from the district. For the first time in the history of the district, 12 civil society representatives attended the conference compared to only 4 who attended the 2014 budget conference to lobby & advocate for proper budgeting for the citizens in the communities they have operations & district as a whole.

While giving her opening remarks during the budget conference the deputy chief administrative office Enid Kajumba thanked CSO’s for supporting government work and in particular Kyenjonjo district because they have been active in many interventions which have lead to improved service delivery to some level. The deputy CAO in a special way thanked ToroDev for the support towards reviving the functionality of the district e-society center which she said has helped many departments and district officials to access relevant information something that has saved time because one needed to move from one office to the other to get what s/he wanted. 

Participants during the budget conference in Kyenjojo
‘’Access to information has increased as a district and now anyone who needs information concerning the district can just search and get it, we thank ToroDev for supporting this initiative and really showing that you promote advocacy through the use of ICT’’, said Enid Kajumba the deputy chief administrative officer Kyenjojo.

‘’As heads of departments present what is planned to be done in their line departments for the year 2017/2018, it describes the district annual income and expenditures that will be implemented effective 1st July, 2017 and this enables the district to have a balanced budget in every sector’’, said Mr. Businge Charles the district planner Kyenjojo during the conference.

All the 9 heads of departments presented their proposed budgets before the district council and other people in attendance which reflected improving the road sector, water sector, constructing latrines & classroom blocks in schools, improving on the quantity, timely & quality supply of farm inputs, monitoring functionality of health centers and also improving access to information where radios will be used to inform citizens what has been done, what is planned to be done and the challenges encountered in the implementation of these activities and also monitoring sub counties to pin information on notice boards for public access.

A head of department making a presentation during the conference
The chairperson Kyenjojo NGO’s/CBO’s forum Donald Katalihwa while presenting the role of NGO’s & making the CSO’s communiqué during the conference showed it that CSO’s have done recommendable work in the district in the areas of Education, health, agriculture, human rights, etc and the impact is felt on ground, quoting examples of what CSO’s have been involved in like; mobilizing communities to participate in development initiatives, sensitizing people on the value of education, good health, supporting engagements for improved & increased service delivery, supporting the functionality of e-society to increase access to information, induction of school management committees (SMC’s) & parents teachers association (PTA’s), organizing CSO’s & district to jointly plan together & budget together under the CSO’s-district forum meetings initiated by ToroDev in 2015, etc. Donald however, identified some challenges that still exist and which need team work for example, the district has not fully involved CSO’s in monitoring government programs, some people still solicited money from patients in government health facilities, high school dropout & early marriages affecting education, under staffing in health centers schools, absenteeism especially in sub counties, schools & health centers which retards service delivery, late supply of farm inputs affecting agriculture, etc. On the CSO’s commitments for 2017/2018 in the district, Donald outlined closing the communication gap between local government & CSO’s, increasing inspections in schools, health centers and sub county offices, together with the district education department to strengthen management committees on environment, schools, health & implement ordinances/by-laws, create market linkages and control farm inputs to reduce poverty in communities, interalia.

Donald Katalihwa making a presentation on behalf of CSO's in the district
The district chairperson Mr. Kaija William in his closing remarks said, ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’. The chairperson commended CSO’s for the recommendable work and services given to the people of Kyenjojo and called for team work in all stages of service delivery that include; planning, budgeting, implementation & monitoring of all government programs.

Mr. Kaija requested the technical team to use the available resources to improve services delivery in the district and that as leaders together with other development partners they are ready to lobby for more funds in the district to improve service delivery and urged sub counties to be relevant in doing their work by opening their offices on all official days of work, share information of what they have received and how it has been spent by pinning it on notice boards & using radios to inform citizens and emphasized that if we hide information to those who need it we tolerate corruption. 

The district chairperson Mr. Kaija William giving his closing remarks during the budget conference
 The chairperson said, when sub counties plan and implement well we succeed as a district because we rely on sub counties to reach services to communities which improves the lifestyle for the people in these communities. He promised to start his monitoring tour on the performance of sub counties effective January, 2017 to rectify the anomalies reported as of now for improved service delivery.

We are grateful to all our development partners SIDA, NED, SPIDER, ICT4DEM, CIPESA for the financial and technical support that make us reach these communities.

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