Monday 26 August 2013

“Advocacy forums have helped us to monitor service delivery,” Mukwano Ssenyonjo

Leaders of rural advocacy forums have appealed to local citizens to initiate rural advocacy forums in their communities to improve service delivery monitoring for improved livelihoods. The leaders were discussing on ToroDev supported live radio discussion on Better FM called “The Listeners Forum” on 25th August, 2013. The 2 hour weekly radio program discusses issues of accountability every Sunday (08:00 – 10:00pm).

“Advocacy forums have helped us to monitor service delivery because they have empowered local citizens with skills in monitoring service delivery, lobbying and advocacy through the use of appropriate ICT tools like SMS and radio.” Said Mukwano Ssenyonjo, the chairperson of People’s rights and Forum for Development which operates in Mugusu Sub County – Kabarole District.

Mukwano also appealed to local leaders to cooperate with the rural advocacy forums to ensure effective service delivery monitoring, “we appreciate some leaders like the district chairperson Kabarole district, the MP Burahya County and the Chairperson LC III, Mugusu Sub County for cooperating with us to monitor service delivery.” Said Mukwano.

Rural advocacy forums are groups initiated by rural women and youth aimed at monitoring service delivery and improving the participation of marginalised rural youth and women in governance. They were initiated with support from ToroDev.

Participants at the radio discussion
The leaders of the rural advocacy forums who were discussing a topic titled, “The role of rural advocacy forums in monitoring service delivery in the Rwenzori Region” also attracted the Chairperson of Ntoroko Citizens Concern, in Ntoroko District – Mr. Amos Karuhanga, the Secretary General of People’s Rights and Forum for Development Tibenda Stephen. ToroDev staff, Solomon Akugizibwe also attended the radio discussion.

“We have seen a great improvement in working as a group to monitor service delivery in Ntoroko District. Radio programs have really assisted us to advocate for improved service delivery.” Said Amos Karuhanga of Ntoroko Citizens Concern.

ToroDev staff, Solomon Akugizibwe encouraged local citizens to initiate rural advocacy forums so as to effectively engage their local leaders to ensure improved service delivery monitoring.

The Listeners Forum Live radio discussion was moderated by Mr. Mukonyezi Wilfred.

More on the program follow this link

Local citizens advocate for improved funding to health sector

Local citizens in the Rwenzori Region have advocated for improved government support to the health sector to improve the delivery of health services at the local level for improved livelihoods. “The president should have visited Buhinga Referral Hospital to see for himself the appalling conditions facing the hospital so that he can increase its support from government.” Said Mutunzi Robert while commenting the recent President Museveni Visit to the Rwenzori Region.

The call was made by panellists and listeners of the Orukurato Live radio discussion on Hits FM on 24th August, 2013. The topic for discussion was “Analysing the health sector in Uganda. Are the policies relevant? What is the role of local leaders and local citizens in improving the health sector?

Uganda Health Minister - Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda
“We need improved remuneration for our medical workers to improve their performance and reduce strikes by medical workers over low pay. There is also need to improve supervision for medical workers by political leaders to reduce corruption in the health sector.” Said Mutunzi Robert.

Tumwesige Andrew, a local citizen from Bufunjo Sub County, Kyenjojo District also appealed to the government to improve funding to the health sector through construction of better health facilities and recruitment of more staff among others, “Government is supposed to construct health facilities and equip them with drugs, recruit enough health staff and remunerate our health staff well.” Said Tumwesige Andrew.

Tumwesige also appealed to local leaders to improve supervision and lobbying to the health facilities to improve performance of the health sector.

Local citizens who participated in the call-ins appealed for action on drug theft by medical workers and sensitisation on health issues and health service delivery to improve the performance of the sector.

“Government workers are stealing drugs because most of government medical staff are owning clinics where they sell drugs. Appropriate actions should be put in place to stop stealing of drugs.” Said Gerald, a caller from Bufunjo Sub County, Kyenjojo district.

“We are still doing badly on the role of different health facilities. People are not sensitised on the role of health centres. Most people are congesting the referral hospitals for small illnesses which would have been handled by health centres.”

The Orukurato weekly 2hr radio talkshow held every Saturday (08:00 – 10:00pm) is moderated by Kasigazi Willy Donanto. The live radio discussion which broadcasts issues of accountability is supported by Toro Development Network (ToroDev).

Tuesday 20 August 2013

Online platforms improve participation of local citizens on radio

Mentors of Guide Radio FM in Kasese District have been able to use online platforms especially facebook and Ushahidi to engage with the local citizens and the local leaders discussing governance and service delivery issues for improved advocacy.

“I opened up a platform called Rwenzururu Discussion Board that allows people to post issues concerning their community. Such issues are followed up and later aired on radio.” Said Thembo Kahunge a radio mentor at Guide Radio in Kasese District.

Thembo adds, “Every day after news reading in the morning, I also air out any evidenced accountability issue that the community posts on the platform and allow a discussion with the community in form of call-ins and using the SMS to raise any comments and concerns about the issue.”

Radio mentors were trained by ToroDev in early 2013 in online advocacy to improve public accountability broadcasting. They were also trained in using local FM radio stations as a hub to converge all information for improved service delivery advocacy in the Rwenzori Region.  

More on the discussion platform follow this link 

L-R: ToroDev Staff (Kogere Recheal) with Thembo Kahungu 

Voice of Kamwenge journalists lobby for accountability programs

Radio mentors on Voice of Kamwenge used the mentorship skills acquired through the mentorship training by ToroDev in April 2011 and November 2012 to lobby for accountability programs on their radio station for improved service delivery monitoring in the district.

“We used the skills that we acquired from ToroDev to lobby for accountability programs from our manager. Such programs include Insinjiro Program that runs every Saturday from 9:00 -11:00am. Different people such as politicians and civil servants are hosted to give accountability concerning the services that they deliver in the different sectors.” Said Ngabirano Gerevaziyo, a mentor at Voice of Kamwenge.

L-R: ToroDev Staff with Ngabirano
The mentors also used the advocacy skills from ToroDev mentorship training to lobby for a program that sensitizes the youths and women about the NAADS program so as to improve agricultural production. Like other rural parts of Uganda, Kamwenge district is pre-dominantly an agricultural economy, with over 80 percent of its population either directly or indirectly employed by the sector.

“We lobbied a program known as the Farmers Program that runs every Monday from 8:00 -10:00pm. During the program, NAADS personnel such as the District NAADS coordinator, Sub County coordinators and extensional workers are invited to come and give accountability and also sensitize the people about the program.” Said Gabriel Gerevaziyo, a mentor at Voice of Kamwenge Radio.

To improve broadcasting for accountability, ToroDev has been conducting a mentorship program on the 12 FM radio stations in the Rwenzori Region. In each FM radio station, three people were identified and trained in mentorship for sustainable accountability broadcasting.  

Monday 19 August 2013

e-advocacy helps Kibate Health Center get promoted

The use of appropriate ICT tools to advocate for improved service delivery by the local citizens in Katebwa Sub County, Kabarole district have helped Kibate Health Centre II get promoted to a health center III in June 2013 by the government of Uganda. The promotion means that the health center will now be equipped with more staff and better services because there is also going to be improved funding of its activities from the government.

Kibate Health Center
Local citizens organized under their rural advocacy forum called Katebwa People’s Forum have been advocating for improved health service delivery in using live radio discussions and SMS. The rural advocacy forum operating in Katebwa Sub County was initiated by the local citizens with support from ToroDev.

“We have been complaining about the poor facilities in Kibate Health center II for years now. We can now enjoy better facilities in the Health sector. We presented our issues on radio in an organized Group (advocacy forum) which gave us better results in service delivery.” Said Thembo Monday, a Member of the Forum

Members of Katebwa People’s Forum also engaged their local leaders using appropriate ICT tools to demand for better service delivery especially increasing on the numbers of medical staff and drugs.

“We collected our issues and presented them on Voice of Toro and Better FM in May 2013 and we are proud that our leaders feared the pressure from the radio callers and the information was widely spread and finally at the end of the talkshow positive results were achieved, in June we were given the laboratory attendant and Kibate Health Center II and also promoted to a Health center III with better services.” Said Muhindo Ezra leader of Katebwa advocacy Forum.

Tuesday 13 August 2013

Local citizens decry the passing of Public Order Management Bill

Local citizens in Kabarole District have described the passing of the Public Order Management Bill 2013 (POMB) by Uganda Parliament in August 2013 as unfortunate since it infringes of the constitutional rights of the local citizens. POMB is waiting the president’s approval (widely expected) before being made law.  

“Public order management bill is undemocratic because it infringes on our rights to assembly which is enshrined in our constitution.” Said Ms. Linda Irene while appearing on ToroDev supported ‘Orukurato’ live radio discussion on accountability on Hits FM.  Linda adds, “Such poor laws are increasing poverty because they disempower the local citizens to exercise their rights to monitor service delivery and demand accountability from leaders.”

The radio discussion held on Saturday, 10th August 2013 (08:00 – 10:00pm) was also attended by Burahya County MP, Hon. Stephen Kagwera, Kabarole District Councillor Hon. Businge Prosper and Mr. John Byabazaire a local citizen.

Uganda Parliament
Panellists on the discussion also appealed to MPs to exercise objectivity and pass pro-people policies to ensure sustainable development and also include local citizens in decision making processes, “our Uganda Parliament is only fulfilling the intentions of the president not for the well-being of all citizens. The laws and policies are only helping the president sustain himself in power.” Byabazaire adds, “Our MPs should focus on passing laws that address corruption to ensure sustainable development than spending time passing partisan laws like POMB.”

“Our MPs should consult local citizens before making any laws, lobby for improved service delivery, fight for the rights of the minorities and monitor service delivery.” Said Businge Prosper.

The Burahya County MP, Kabarole District Hon. Stephen Kagwera who supported the passing of the POMB said that the law (POMB) will help reduce the destruction of government properties through protests. “POMB will help curb public protests and hence curb the destruction of government properties. The law has weaknesses but not entirely bad. Tanzania and Rwanda are developing very fast because of public order.” Said Stephen Kagwera.

Orukurato live radio discussion is moderated by William Gonza.

Monday 12 August 2013

Ntoroko Citizens appeal to leaders to improve service delivery

Local citizens from Ntoroko District organised under their rural advocacy forum called Ntoroko Citizens Concern have appealed to both their local and central government leaders to improve the delivery of government services in health, education, water and roads.

The appeal was made by local citizens on ToroDev supported radio discussion on Better FM called the “Listeners Forum” on Sunday 11th August, 2013. The radio program is a weekly 2 hour live radio discussion held every Sunday (08:00 – 10:00pm). Local citizens participate in the accountability discussion through SMS, call-ins and online platforms especially Facebook and twitter.

Ntoroko District Flat landscape
“Rwebisengo – Buneera road is in a very poor state, almost impassable, we need it worked on. The district (Ntoroko) also lacks adequate health services, schools and clean safe water.” Said Rwamwaro Wilson, the Vice Chairperson of Ntoroko Citizens Concern while appearing on the radio discussion.  

“When our leaders were in campaigns, they promised us a lot of things and very little has been done to fulfil their manifestos. We are asking them to implement their manifestos.” Added Rwamwaro Wilson.

Other participants were Friday Swizin and Christopher Kyalimpa who are both members of Ntoroko Citizens Concern.  They also appealed to the local leaders to improve service delivery to ensure improved livelihoods for the local citizens.

“The district has only two secondary schools, Karugutu S.S and Rwebisengo S.S and their performance is very poor because of inadequate work by leaders in lobbying and monitoring performance. We call upon leaders to lobby and monitor education service delivery to ensure improved performance.” Said Friday Swizin.

Local citizens also appealed to their leaders to involve them in government planning and decision making processes to ensure improved service delivery, “Members of parliament don’t come to consult us. We don’t even see them on Television debating. What we need our MPs to do is consult the people to determine their priority service delivery needs.” Said Kyalimpa Christopher.

Ntoroko Citizens Concern is a rural advocacy forum initiated by rural monitors trained by ToroDev in online advocacy. The advocacy forum is supported by ToroDev to improve service delivery monitoring in Ntoroko District.

Monday 5 August 2013

Local citizens reject a police post

Local residents in Bufunjo Sub County, Kyenjojo district have rejected a call by the local leaders to mobilise funds for the construction of a police post arguing that it’s not a priority service delivery issue for the area.

While reacting to a discussion on mobilising funds for the construction of a police post on the listener’s forum radio program on 4th August, 2013 the local citizens who participated in the discussions and call-ins and SMS overwhelmingly rejected the construction of the police post.

Uganda Police Logo
“Police isn’t a priority,” Said Dovico, caller from Bufunjo. “Is the police post construction a priority,” Said Stephen, a caller from Kyenjojo. “Police is mismanaging money. They spend a lot of money in tear gas, why can’t they save it for the construction of the police post.” Said Fred Mugara from Bugaaki Sub County in Kyenjojo District.

“I have talked to some councillors, who are not supportive of the issue for instance the councillor of Kanyarugamire. We have a lot of priority service delivery issues like health, education, roads, bridge construction, etc which we need to mobilise money for and not a police post construction.” Said Tibeeha John Bosco, the General Secretary of Bufunjo People’s Forum while participating on the weekly 2 hour radio discussion on accountability supported by ToroDev in partnership with Better FM, Fort Portal.

The chairperson of Bufunjo People’s Forum, Tumwesige Andrew indicated that although the police post is important, there is need to sensitise the community more so that they can embrace it. Tumwesige also appealed for transparency in the management of public funds by government officials.

 “People think that they are constructing for themselves a prison by contributing funds to the construction of a police post. People are also not sure whether the funds they will contribute to construct the police post will be used well.” Said Tumwesige Andrew.

The radio discussion was also attended by the Bufunjo Sub County Chief Mr. Businge Darnel, the Community Development Officer Bufunjo Sub County Mr. Kobwemi Job and the O.C police officer for the Sub County Mr. Bahemuka Patrick.

The local leaders indicated that the police post is required to ensure development of the sub county through improved security, “Bufunjo Sub County is a huge sub county with a big population but still lacks poor services in terms of security to spur development.” Said the Sub County C.D.O

“People will not improve their livelihoods without security. We have supported the local citizens through roads construction, supporting agriculture through NAADS, etc. We need security to ensure sustainable development in the sub County.” Said the Sub County Chief.

“The police post will reduce mob justice. Security is part of development and without it, there can never be development.” Said the O.C Bufunjo Police Post.  

Rwenzori MPs boss gives accountability on rural industrialisation

The Chairperson of the Rwenzori Region parliamentary caucus, Hon. Alex Ruhunda has indicated that the Uganda government is putting in place appropriate policies to ensure the development of small scale rural industries especially targeting the agricultural sector to improve household incomes.

“Industrialisation is a priority by the government of Uganda because of the appropriate policies being put in place for instance more focus on science subjects in schools. Government has also given priority to the development of vocational institutes at every sub county in the country.” Said Hon. Ruhunda.

The Rwenzori Region, Western Uganda which is made up of the seven districts of Kabarole, Ntoroko, Bundibugyo, Kasese, Kamwenge, Kyegegwa and Kyenjojo is pre-dominantly an agricultural area with majority of the population either involved in crop growing or animal rearing especially cattle.

Hon. Alex Ruhunda
Hon. Ruhunda who is also the MP for Fort Portal Municipality, Kabarole district also indicated that the government is also supporting the development of rural industrial parks to attract both local and foreign investors to develop industries in the rural areas.

Hon. Alex made the remarks while appearing on the ‘Orukurato’ live radio discussions on Hits FM held on 3rd July, 2013 under the topic, “Promoting rural industrialisation for improved livelihoods. What are the government plans? What’s the role of the local citizens? Other panellists on the discussions were Johnstone Baguma (Executive Director ToroDev) and Hon. Businge Prosper (District Councillor Fort Portal Municipality).

Hon. Businge appealed to the government to embrace the policies of the Asian Tigers like China, Singapore and South Korea which used industries to develop, “Uganda should embrace Asian Tigers in setting up appropriate policies to spur rural industrialisation.” Said Hon. Businge.

Hon. Businge adds, “Agriculture and tourism are the backbone of Uganda’s economy. Therefore, we need big budget allocations to know that government is giving them priority. We also need to fight corruption because a lot of money is wasted.”

Mr. Baguma emphasised more commitment from the leaders to ensure the growth of rural industries, “the leadership has a bigger role to play to ensure industrial development through making appropriate laws and policies. There is also need for commitment from leaders to make follow-ups and ensure that the policies are implemented.” Said Mr. Baguma.

Local citizens who participated in the discussions through call-ins and SMS appealed to the government to reduce on the administrative expenditure to enable the availability of funds to promote rural industrialisation, “our leaders have failed the development of this country. They spend all our money in salaries and allowances.” Said Mugisa Vicent, a caller from Kyegegwa District.