Friday 30 November 2012

Rwenzori journalists trained in mentorship to improve public accountability broadcasting.

Thirty one radio journalists from the Rwenzori Region based FM radio stations have been trained in mentorship so as to improve broadcasting for public accountability. The three days residential training held between 26th to 28th November, 2012 attracted journalists from Better FM, Voice of Toro (VOB), Gold FM, Life FM and Hits FM in Fort Portal, Guide FM and Messiah FM in Kasese, Voice of Bundibugyo (VOB) and Bundibugyo FM in Bundibugyo district and Kyenjojo Development Radio (KDR) and Kyenjojo FM in Kyenjojo district.

The training which was organized by Toro Development Network (ToroDev) in partnership with Rwenzori Journalist Forum (RJF) was facilitated by Lucy Ekadu from Uganda Journalist Union, Henry Tumwine from Uganda Pentecostal University and John Matovu from PANOS Estern Africa.

John Matovu of PANOS training radio staff in mentorship
The mentorship training was intended to identify challenges and good practices among radio staff through sharing experiences on public accountability broadcasting for learning purposes, to improve mentorship skills of radio journalists and to strengthen journalist forums for improved advocacy on public accountability and service delivery broadcasting.

The participants who included news editors, program directors and public accountability program moderators were encouraged to use the skills to mentor their junior staff so as to improve public accountability broadcasting.

ToroDev in partnership with RJF will encourage mentors to submit monthly reports sharing their experiences regarding activities, challenges, success stories on public accountability broadcasting. Their experiences will be shared on  to enable improved advocacy and learning. In addition, RJF and ToroDev will also conduct media conferences, field tours and exchange visits all aimed at sharing knowledge and empowering radio journalists on public accountability broadcasting.

The mentorship program will help improve participation of rural people in government planning and budgetary processes, monitoring service delivery, demanding accountability because the radio journalists have been empowered with skills to mainstream the voices of multiple stakeholders including the civil society, rural youth and women in governance processes.
ToroDev focused on empowering radio journalists in public accountability broadcasting because FM radio fits well with the lifestyle of many rural people in the Rwenzori Region, Western Uganda since it can easily broadcast in many local languages, people can listen to it while walking or working. Radio is also a popular media channel accessed by over 90 percent of the rural people.
The mentorship training follows another training earlier this year on public accountability broadcasting

Monday 26 November 2012

New radio advert to improve women participation in governance.

A new radio advert encouraging women participation in governance has started running on HITS FM in Fort Portal. The advert will be running everyday for 2 months and ToroDev hopes the message in the advert will improve women participation in public accountability radio programs, service delivery monitoring in their local areas, participation of women in local government budgetary and planning processes, etc.

The advert which runs a minimum of five times a day calls for improved women participation in demanding accountability from their local leaders, monitoring service delivery since they are the most affected when government services like roads, health services, improved water are not fully provided due to corruption by leaders.

ToroDev Staff  (Left) with HITS FM producer, DJ Mingo making the advert
This follows continued minimal participation of women in governance especially in the rural areas of Uganda like the Rwenzori Region, Western Uganda. ToroDev has been struggling to improve women participation on its public accountability live radio talkshows on Better FM and HITS FM in Fort Portal despite being given first priority on all the live talkshows and transport support to participate on public accountability radio programs. 

Women continue to play a minimal role in governance like participation local government budgetary and planning processes, monitoring service delivery and demanding accountability from their leaders despite a number of initiatives like affirmative actions by the government of Uganda and civil society organisations to improve their participation in governance.

In the implementation of its service delivery monitoring and public accountability programs, ToroDev’s primary stakeholders are the marginalized population groups of women and youth because ToroDev understands that without them, development can never fully be realized.

Monday 19 November 2012

Ntoroko and Kicwamba advocacy forums hold service delivery monitoring and accountability workshops.

Kicwamba Forum for Development and Service Delivery Advocacy Group located in Kabarole District and Ntoroko Concerned Citizens advocacy forum held knowledge sharing workshops on service delivery monitoring and accountability in their respective areas on 15th and 16th November, 2012. The knowledge sharing workshops attracted local leaders from Kicwamba and Kanara Sub Counties in Kabarole and Ntoroko districts respectively to give accountability.

Chairperson of Kicwamba S/C giving accountability.
In Kicwamba, the meeting was held at the Sub County Headquarters and attracted the area sub county chairperson, the Community Development Officer, the Chairperson of the water board, the sub county speaker, the sub county production secretary and the area district councilor among others. The local leaders gave accountability and sensitized the participants on the roles and mandates of their offices. The issues raised included ensuring transparency in the procurement process in the NAADS program in the sub county to avoid provision of substandard crop and animal varieties to the local farmers, improved monitoring of the health center III staff to avoid absenteeism and late reporting and improved information access by local citizens especially as regards information on road contracts to ensure improved monitoring.

In Kanara Sub County, the knowledge sharing workshop attracted the area sub county chairperson, the sub county speaker, the fisheries officer, the chairperson of the Rwebisengo landing site, the education inspector, the District Internal Security Officer for Kanara Sub County and the local councilors.

The issues raised included transparency in revenue collection in the fisheries department, repair of the Rwangara – Rwebisengo road which is in a bad state, improved support for Rwangara Health Center II especially with malaria drugs, construction of more health centers in the sub county to meet the increasing demand for health services by the increasing population, improved information access by the local people from the local leaders for improved monitoring of government services and extension of safe clean water to the sub county among others.

Assistant DISO Kanara Sub County Stressing a point.
During the meeting the District Internal Security Officer for Kanara Sub County expressed interest to be a member of ToroDev to scale ToroDev efforts in ensuring improved monitoring of service delivery in the sub county. Previously, ToroDev faced threats from security agents especially in Kabarole districts for hosting members of one of the advocacy forums to demand accountability on the “Listener’s Forum” radio talkshow on Better

During the knowledge sharing public accountability forums, ToroDev staff empowered the participants with knowledge and skills in monitoring service delivery, demanding accountability, rights to information access and broadcasting for improved public accountability. A founder member of the Mugusu Forum Development, Mukwano Ssenyonjo who heads one of the model advocacy forums attended the two meetings and made presentations to share knowledge and skills in service delivery monitoring and accountability with the two advocacy forums.

ToroDev supported the initiation of the above advocacy forums and is continuing to support the initiation of other advocacy forums in the Rwenzori Region districts through trainings and support to service delivery monitoring. ToroDev is currently involved in the strengthening of the advocacy forums through training of its members in online advocacy tools in all the seven districts of the Rwenzori Region.

Friday 26 October 2012

Youth advocacy forum tasks local leaders to give accountability.

Youth leaders from Mugusu Sub County, Kabarole District tasked their local leaders on 15th October, 2012 at Mugusu Sub County community hall to give accountability and explain the mandates of their particular offices. The workshop, organized by Mugusu Forum for Development Club in Partnership with ToroDev attracted 60 participants.

Local leaders were represented by the area member of Parliament, the sub county chairperson, the sub county chief, the sub county NAADS coordinator, the local areas district and sub county councilors, the Kabarole district speaker , the health assistant and the OC Police officer among others.

Participants during the workshop
According to the Club’s coordinator, Mukwano Senyonjo, the workshop was aimed at empowering local communities with skills to monitor service delivery and demand accountability from local leaders. Mukwano also indicated that the workshop was aimed at sensitizing local communities in Mugusu Sub County on their rights to good health, education, clean environment, food, etc.

The area member of Parliament, Hon. Stephen Kagwera indicated that service delivery starts with local people and therefore appealed to the local communities to ensure that local leaders implement their manifestos to ensure improved service delivery in their local communities.

The In-charge of Mugusu Police post sensitized the participants on the whole process of reporting cases to the police. He also appealed to the local communities not to pay for police bail since it’s free.

The Kabarole District speaker, Hon. Mugabo Clovice promised to lobby for funds through the district council to work on the Mugusu Gravity flow scheme which was poorly constructed and the sub county roads of Mugusu – Butebe, Mugusu-Muhoora-Kasusu, Kiraaro-Kinyankende and Kyezire-Kiraro.

The sub county health assistant appealed to the local communities to improve on the latrine coverage and reduce the spread of diseases. According to the health assistant, latrine coverage currently stands at 89 percent so as to improve the hygiene and sanitation of the sub county.

In early 2012, ToroDev supported the initiation of advocacy forums in the Rwenzori Region districts to improve the monitoring of service delivery. Currently, ToroDev is engaged in training members of advocacy forums in online advocacy, monitoring service delivery and demanding accountability from their local leaders.

Tuesday 21 August 2012

ToroDev trains rural youth and women (rural monitors) in online advocacy for improved service delivery.

Rural Monitors Training
ToroDev has started training rural women and youth leaders in the seven districts of the Rwenzori Region in using online tools to monitor service delivery. The maiden residential 2 days training involving ten participants was held on 16th – 17th of August, 2012 at ToroDev resource center in Fort Portal, Uganda. The training which is supported by ToroDev in partnership with SPIDER/Stockholm University was facilitated by Milton Aineruhanga from WOUGNET.

ToroDev will train 210 rural monitors and advocates in online/ Web 2.0 tools to collect, document and disseminate online public accountability for improved serviced delivery issues. They will particularly oriented on how to interact with the “Ushahidi” online platform and other relevant open-source software. The monitors were also trained in online social media tools, human rights, governance and democratic engagement

The monitors were highly trained to be independent local citizens that will keep updating the community and project team at ToroDev about the status of service delivery and identifying communities own service delivery needs.

They will further go ahead to mobilize and encourage regular meetings and focus group discussions (FGDs) among the 14 Advocacy Forums in the region on issues of service delivery monitoring.

Rural Monitors will also advocate for quality and timely public accountability from local leaders.  They will use 11 radio stations in the Rwenzori region as a major tool for distributing/disseminating all the information accessed through online/internet and mobile phones. 

This information will be converged on the FM radio stations as a way of sharing information with the rest of grass root citizens in the region, who may not necessarily have the skills and afford town or access internet based knowledge tools. The rural FM radio will be used a hub for the convergence of all ICT tools for effective service delivery monitoring in the Rwenzori Region. 

Some of the sample articles posted by the rural monitors on the Ushahidi platform.

Documented by Solomon Akugizibwe