Monday 15 April 2013

Tooro Journalists blacklist MP over disrespect while giving accountability

Journalists from Tooro Region under their umbrella organisation - Tooro Media Practitioners Association (TOMPA) have suspended covering the Kabarole District woman MP, Hon. Victoria Businge Rusoke in their news stories and radio programs because of her unprofessional conduct while giving accountability to the local citizens using the media.

The journalists indicated that the MP abuses them many times and keeps directing them what to air out in their news when they go to cover her events. The MP also abuses journalists when they approach her for media interviews on accountability.

ToroDev Staff  (standing) addressing journalists
According to the journalists who were in a meeting convened on 6th, April 2013 at Kyebambe Model Primary School, the suspension of the MP in their live radio discussions and news coverage will also act as a lesson to local leaders who are uncooperative in giving accountability and disrespectful to journalists.

During the meeting the journalists also identified their priority accountability issues for media attention during the month of April, 2013. Among the priority accountability issues identified were the poor service delivery at Buhinga Referral Hospital and poor sanitation at Kabundaire Farmers Market in Fort Portal.

The journalists also resolved to lobby their proprietors improve their remuneration, training support and provision of equipment for improved professional broadcasting. They also resolved to participate in the celebrations to mark the World Press Freedom Day which is always celebrated on 3rd May so as to highlight the plight of journalists in Tooro Region and share experiences with all stakeholders to ensure professional broadcasting.

ToroDev Staff, Solomon Akugizibwe appealed to Tooro Journalists to embrace the use of appropriate ICT tools like call-ins, SMS and social media in their broadcasting to ensure effective participation of local citizens in their radio discussions. Akugizibwe also appealed to the journalists to work in groups through institutions like TOMPA and Rwenzori Journalists Forum (RJF) to have a bigger impact on broadcasting for community development.

Since 2011, ToroDev has been building the capacity of journalists from the 12 FM radio stations in the Rwenzori Region, Western Uganda to improve broadcasting for accountability through training in online advocacy, community development broadcasting and grassroots participation in the radio discussions.  

Thursday 11 April 2013

Report by Bufunjo People’s Forum on service delivery monitoring

Bufunjo Peoples Forum is a youth advocacy forum in Bufunjo Sub County, Kyenjojo district initiated by the local citizens with support from ToroDev in 2012. The advocacy forum which has been at the forefront in ensuring accountability by the local leaders, monitoring service delivery and ensuring local citizens participation in local government planning and budgeting processes using the most appropriate ICT tools like FM radio stations and mobile phones.

Meeting of the advocacy forum members and ToroDev staff 
Below is the report on their priority service delivery monitoring submitted to ToroDev in March, 2013?

1.     WORKS
In the sector of works, Bufunjo as whole has a poor road network for all access road leading in and out of the sub county. Our biggest concern was on;
a)      Kahombo River that had submerged and blocked the road which resulted into the destruction of the bridge.
b)      Kifuka-Mbale, Kataraza road that had a conflict in its tendering processes, which the district had kept a deaf ear on.
We are happy to report that out of the forum’s effort and voices through a listeners voice radio program on better FM, all the two issues have at least been partly handled as follows;
a)     On Kahombo Bridge there were a lot of pits that were left by the running waters during the flooding period which could not enable vehicles to cross loading, but the UNRA Fort Portal branch poured marrum that filled up the pits. Now Lorries can cross without first off loading. The government has also promised to re-construct and will be raised higher than it is today
b)     Kifuka-Mbale, Kataraza road was re-contracted and construction is ongoing. And it is promised that this is going to be a first class marrum road.

2.     HEALTH
ToroDev Staff meeting the lab attendant of Bufunjo health center III
By the time we raised concerns over the health state in Bufunjo Sub County, we had the following priority key areas to address;
a)     Lack of enough health workers at the only health Centre in Bufunjo with a population of over 32,000 people.
b)     Incomplete construction of health Centre II in Kataraza
c)     Unfollowed presidential pledge for supporting Kanyegaramire Health Centre III
d)     Lack wards at Bufunjo health Centre III.
Am also happy to report that in this sector the forum has registered some achievements for at least all the areas of concern as follows;
a)     Staff has been increased by 100% compared to the number of staff (6) we found at the centre by the time of raising our concern in November, 2012 and the time we visited the health centre on 13/03/2013 to evaluate the impact of the forum’s work where we found 12 staff out of the required 26 staff according to Mr. Kasaija Chance, a lab attendant.
b)     Effort is underway to complete the staff house at Kataraza Health Centre II so that it can be operational according to the sub county chief Bufunjo.
c)     For the un followed up health Centre III presidential pledge for Kanyegaramire, a follow up team was constituted by Bufunjo sub county council and it is headed by Mr. Kajura Selvest - parish councilor, Kitega.

In education, our major concern was on BUFUNJO Seed Secondary School where students of S.2 & S.3 last year were cut off from USE sponsorship and the construction of the school was on halt without clear communication and reasons for the halt.
A tremendous achievement has been realized on these two issues where by the students were re-instated on the USE program and the contract for Bufunjo Secondary was re-contracted to Pekasa .

We had a problem with Bufunjo SACCO and Bufunjo SIDA SACCO where by these two closed without informing their members of what had gone wrong.
According to the current state these SACCOs they all re-opened and started operating though still with a number of challenges and constrain. Our achievement as a forum on this is that they became operational and people can have where to lodge their queries and complaints.

We have largely came to all these achievements as a result of the continued support from Tooro development network especially through sponsored radio programs and training in on-line advocacy that have popularized our work and given basis for trust by the community to express their concerns. We are indeed grateful because we are doubtful whether we would have reached this level if it was not your support. We pray that the same spirit continues to unite us for a noble cause. 

Wednesday 10 April 2013

ToroDev distributes copies of Uganda constitution, Local Government Act and Access to Information Act to radio journalists and local citizens

ToroDev has given copies of the Uganda Constitution, Local government Act and Access to information Act to members of ToroDev supported rural youth and women advocacy forums and FM radio journalists from the 12 FM radio stations based in the Rwenzori region to improve broadcasting for accountability.

Since 2011, with support from NED and SPIDER, ToroDev has been training rural local grassroots of women and youth in using ICTs to participate in governance, monitor service delivery and demand accountability from their local leaders. ToroDev has also been training FM radio journalists to broadcast issue based discussions and news stories that promote accountability.

LR: ToroDev Staff giving legal books to Messiah FM News Editor
While distributing the copies of the Uganda laws books to the manager of Kyenjojo FM in Kyenjojo district, ToroDev Staff, Solomon Akugizibwe advised radio journalists to thoroughly read them so that they can be empowered to access public information without being intimidated by their local leaders.

Solomon also indicated that the Uganda constitution also empowers the journalists to know their rights and to broadcast evidence based service delivery and accountability issues without being intimidated by the local leaders.

The advocacy forums that received the books were from the five (5) districts of Kabarole, Kyenjojo, Kamwenge, Kyegegwa and Ntoroko. The basic Uganda laws will empower the rural grassroots people monitor service delivery, demand accountability from their local leaders and participate in local government planning and budgetary processes.

ToroDev will also give the books to local leaders to enable them effectively lobby and monitor service delivery. The books will also assist the local leaders consult their electorates whenever making decisions and hence ensure local grassroots participation in governance since the constitution empowers people to participate in governance.