Tuesday 29 October 2013

Kabarole District NAADS coordinator gives accountability on HITS FM.

The District NAADS coordinator of Kabarole District Kazigati Grace appeared on HITS FM on 26th October 2013 to give accountability of the NAADS program in the district. This was during ToroDev’s supported accountability program called “The Orukurato Program”.  “NAADS stands for National Agricultural Advisory services. The program was passed by parliament in 2001 and it has extended to sub county, parish and house hold levels. All the 16 sub counties in Kabarole district have benefited from this program and out of 75,000 (seventy five thousand) households in the district, 59,000 (fifty nine) are surviving from farming and grazing and have benefited from NAADS directly through community based facilitators”

Kazigati also went ahead to explain how the NAADS funds have been used in the district. “We have received a total of 13 billion from the central government since the first phase. 70% of this money has gone to the local people either directly or indirectly. 613 (six hundred and thirteen) cattle have been given out to farmers, 3900(three thousand and nine hundred) goats were given to the community in the first phase and 14600 (fourteen thousand six hundred) goats were also given to the community in the second phase. Coffee (Arabic and Robusta) covering up 541 (five hundred and forty one) hectares has been supplied to farmers and also much emphasis has been put on banana plantations so that people can improve their skills and harvest in high yields”.
A cow that was received from NAADS in Mugusu Sub County
The live radio discussion which discusses issues of accountability was also attended by Hon Jorum Bitamazire, the Chair Person of the Farmers Forum in Kabarole District and Mr. Mukwano Ssenyonjo the Chairperson of Peoples Rights and Forum for Development in Mugusu Sub County, Kabarole District.

Meanwhile, Hon Jorum indicated the challenges that they face in delivering NAADS services to the local people. “People do not turn up for meetings when called upon by service providers to get skills, farmers still lack technology due to the little funds received from the central government, poultry investment has been minimum due to failure to get standard feeds, and farmers also have a problem of recovery which makes us follow them up through the RDC (Resident District Commissioner) to return recovery”.

“NAADS has helped in increasing people’s financial incomes and the trainings have also taught the local people how to work hard. However, the youths have wasted time in un productive activities like gambling instead of embracing the program”, said Mr. Mukwano Ssenyonjo

 Local listeners who participated in the live radio discussion through call ins were able to raise their issues and concerns. “The NAADS program has helped the rich especially and left out the poor”, said Bosco from Mbarara District, “Most youths have been given coffee yet they lack land”, said Joseph from Rwimi Trading Center Kabarole District, “The sunny weather has affected our food security which will make recovery difficult”, said Kamugisha from Kasenda Sub County in Kabarole District.

Rural monitor advocates for improved food security to uplift education standards

The secretary General of Bufunjo People’s Forum (BPF), Tibeeha John Bosco has appealed to both the government and local citizens of Kyenjojo District to ensure food security to enable them improve the performance of schools in the district. The forum was initiated with support from ToroDev in 2012 to improve service delivery monitoring and accountability using appropriate ICT tools.

“Each family should plant quick maturing crops that improve food security and youth should be encouraged and sensitised on modern agricultural practices to increase on productivity since they form the biggest percentage of the population to ensure that school children have food to enable them study well.” Said Tibeeha while making a presentation at the education and poverty conference for Kyenjojo District held on 25th October, 2013.

Tibeeha John Bosco
The media and Communications Officer ToroDev (Solomon Akugizibwe) who also attended the conference advocated for improved participation of the local communities and local leaders in monitoring the schools to ensure improved standards in Kyenjojo District.

Tibeeha also advocated for the sensitisation of the masses on the importance of education and enactment of laws by the Kyenjojo District local government to reduce redundancy and idleness especially among young people of school going age.

The education conference which was aimed at improving performance of schools in Kyenjojo District was organised by the Resident District Commissioner of Kyenjojo in partnership with civil society organisations in the district and line government agencies like the department of education in the district.

The key speakers in conference included the District Education Officer for Kyenjojo Ms. Tibakanya Getrude, the Deputy Executive Director RIDE-AFRICA Ms. Erina Kahunde, the former Chief Administrative Officer Kyenjojo Mr. Muhenda Rujumba and former Mwenge North MP, Hon. Tom Butiime.

Mr. Muhenda Rujumba appealed to the local citizens to embrace education to avoid being exploited by other people due to ignorance and also empower them with knowledge to enable them be productive citizens in future, “without education, we are slaves and slaves have no rights. We must deliberately liberate ourselves through education.” Said Rujumba.

The one day conference was attended by over 150 people who included head teachers of secondary and primary schools, local leaders, opinion leaders and civil servants.

“Radio programs have awakened local leaders” Muhango Daniel

On 27th October 2013, the District Councilor of Rwentuha Sub County in Kyegegwa District indicated how radio programs have awakened local leaders to provide better services to the community. “I thank radio programs that have done a great work in awakening leaders to provide better services to the local community. People have got better roads, water, health centers and schools through these radio programs”. The councilor was discussing on ToroDev supported live radio discussion on Better FM called “The Listeners Forum” on 27th October 2013. The 2 hour weekly radio program discusses issues of accountability every Sunday (08:00 – 10:00pm).

The councilor went ahead to indicated the status of service delivery in Kyegegwa District. “Kasule, Kakabara and Hapuyo Sub Counties have got water. But, Rwentuha, Ruyonza and Kyegegwa Town Council have a low percentage of water that ranges from 16 - 17%. Roads are still so poor because they are constructed badly, such roads include Kamwenge - Mpara road and Migongwe-Kakabara-Rwentuha road".

Mpara road in Kyegegwa District during its construction

Other panelists who discussed in the live radio discussion included Yahaya Bakari, a local citizen from Karugutu Town Council in Ntoroko District, Adruf Asiimwe a local listener from Kyabaranga Sub County in Kyenjojo District and Rwaheru Gilbert, the coordinator of Kicwamba Forum for Development and Service Delivery in Kicwamba Sub County, Kabarole District.

Mr. Yahaya Bakari discussed how corruption among the local leaders of Ntoroko District had affected service delivery. “The office of the Public Service Commission is so corrupt, jobs at the district are only reserved for the rich who have the money to pay for the available vacancies. There is also misuse of public funds by the District Chairperson LC V who is never in his office and who does not also attend our accountability meetings when called upon, he only turns up when the meetings are ending”.

Yahaya also highlighted how the local leaders in Ntoroko District do not deliver people’s priority needs. “The NAADS program has guidelines but the NAADS personals do not follow them, Community Based Facilitators (CBF) are used to procure NAADS equipment yet they don’t have enough experience. The local people asked for goats but they were forced coffee and cotton which was not their priority".

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

Friday 25 October 2013

Accountability radio discussions help Mugusu Sub County get better services

Rural monitors of Mugusu Sub County in Kabarole District have used radio discussions to lobby for better roads in their sub county. “We have been facing a lot of accidents in Mugusu Sub County due to the poor roads. On 2nd October 2013, a lorry knocked and killed a person in front of Mugusu market, near the Sub County headquarters due to the poor road. We went on Better FM on 13th October 2013 and shared the issue on radio and asked the concerned leaders like the District Engineer to intervene. After the radio talk show, the road was graded and it is now in a good state”, said Mukwano Ssenyonjo, the Chairperson of People’s Rights and Forum for Development in Mugusu Sub County, Kabarole District.

Members of People's Rights and Forum for Development during the Listener's Forum On Better FM
Mr. Mukwano went ahead to indicate how radio programs had also helped Mugusu Sub County to get a notice board on which sub county accountability information is pinned for the local citizens to access. “Since 2011, Mugusu Sub County did not have a notice board and there was no information access for the local people concerning their sub county. People lacked information concerning their sub county funds, taxes collected and funds received from the central government and how these funds were being used by the different offices like NAADS, Health, Education, among others. But after discussing the issue on radio, a public notice board was formed and as I talk, information is being published and pinned for the local people”.

The local people in Mugusu Sub County are also very happy about the work of rural monitors and the positive changes that are being brought about by the radio programs.  “The local people in Mugusu Sub County are very happy about our activities of monitoring service delivery, demanding accountability from the local leaders, and also the positive changes that come to the sub county due to our participation in accountability radio discussions”, said Mukwano Ssenyonjo.

Radio programs create a plat form for engaging local leaders to give accountability

Radio remain the most accessible and cost effective traditional ICT tool in Uganda to mobilize the citizenry, engage leaders for improved service delivery through virtual platforms in form of talk shows. 

Radio programs/discussions have provided better ways to involve leaders for accountability and to engage local citizens to demand for better service delivery from their local leaders. “During Kadongo Kamu program, I asked the mayor of Kasese Municipality to account for 150m (one hundred and fifty million shillings) that was sent back to the treasury last year. Many people called in asking him to account for the money which he did and people appreciated this program”, said Thembo Kahunge, a mentor from Guide Radio in Kasese District. 

ToroDev's Akugizibwe Solomon(left) meets mentors at Guide FM

Thembo Kahunge further indicated how radio programs have created a plat form for discussing accountability issues. “During our accountability programs, many political and local leaders have come on board to give accountability and local citizens have used this chance to demand for accountability and better services from the concerned local leaders”.

Meanwhile, Radio mentors have also been able to follow up issues of poor service delivery by approaching the concerned local leaders. “Some of the roads, water sources, and health centers have been worked on after approaching the concerned local leaders and also raising the issues on radio. I followed up the issue of Kahompo Bridge in Bufunjo Sub County, Kyenjojo District that used to cause floods and disrupt people’s businesses and daily lives, after a long struggle of airing out the issue on radio and approaching the concerned leaders, the bridge was worked on”, said Mukonyezi Wilfred, a mentor at Better FM in Fort Portal Municipalty, Kabarole District.
ToroDev's Kogere Recheal meets mentors at Voice of Bundibugyo
In Bundibugyo District, mentors have helped in raising the voices of the local people by using the radio to air out priority issues of the local people and asking the concerned local leaders to intervene. “We used Semuliki Sun Rise program to broadcast the issue of compensating the local people who were chased from their land during the construction of Bundibugyo – Fort Portal road. The issue was aired out to the concerned local leaders who intervened and the local citizens were compensated”, said Howard Tumwine, a mentor at Voice of Bundibugyo in Bundibugyo District.

However, radio mentors still face a challenge of limited transport facilitation to reach out to the rural communities to get people’s concerns and issues, and gadgets like recorders, cameras to record the captured information, and computers and internet to share the information online.

Thursday 24 October 2013

Rural monitors and advocacy forums continue to lobby for improved service delivery and demanding accountability from the local leaders.

Advocacy forums that were formed by the 120 rural monitors who were trained by ToroDev in online advocacy, monitoring service delivery using on line social media/ICT tools like Ushahidi platform for on line documentation, visualization and mapping have continued to act as watch dogs on monitoring service delivery and demanding accountability from the local leaders to their sub counties and also raising voices of the voiceless grass root people. The advocacy forums are community initiated and members of the forums also use FM Radio Broadcasting as an ICT tool for convergence since it is the most accessed media channel in the Rwenzori Region.

The poor roads in Kicwamba Sub County, Kabarole District

Members of Kicwamba Forum for Development and Service Delivery in Kicwamba Sub County, Kabarole District are following up the issue of poor roads in their Sub County. “We are following up the issue of Kagogo-Hagombora  Road and the road that leads to Bukuuku Sub County  headquarters which have been neglected by the district local government. We have to make sure that we share this issue on radio and how it is affecting our businesses, and also appeal to our concerned local leaders to intervene”, said Gilbert Rwaheru, the leader of the forum.

Rural monitors of Kamwenge District are also following up the issue of poor roads in their district and appealing to the local leaders to intervene. “Kamwenge – Fort Portal road is impassable in the rainy season, the journey that would take an hour takes five hours. This is so sad and frustrating to the people who are in business, they pay high transport fee, their lives are at risk and the journey that takes too long also affects their businesses in the long run”, says Robert, a rural monitor from Kamwenge District.

culverts exposed to cracks due to eroded soils on Kahompo Bridge 
Meanwhile, members of Bufunjo People’s Forum in Bufunjo Sub County, Kyenjojo District are also following up the issue of Kahompo Bridge that was constructed badly. “We are following up the issue of Kahompo Bridge where shoddy work was done and we shall be presenting a petition to the District LCV of Kyenjojo on Friday 25th October about this bridge which is affecting transport and business activities in Bufunjo Sub County”, said Mwesigye Andrew, the leader of the forum.   

Members of Ntoroko Citizens Concern in Ntoroko District have also been sensitizing the local people about the role of education. “We have done a great work in the month of October to sensitize people about the role of education and why local citizens should keep their children in schools, we sensitize them on the benefits of our children attaining education”, said Byaruhanga Amos, the Chairperson of the forum.

Rural monitors of Kyenjojo District have also used radio programs to lobby for better agricultural services in Bufunjo Sub County. “The sector of NAADS is now performing better in Bufunjo Sub County due to ICTs”, said Tibeha John Bosco the secretary of Bufunjo People's Forum in Bufunjo Sub County, Kyenjojo District.

However, there is need to conduct more sensitization/accountability meetings with members of the rural advocacy forums to empower them with more skills to skillfully engage their local leaders for improved service delivery. There is also need to scale up the lobbying and advocacy campaigns especially using on line tools to influence both local and national policies regarding accountability, fair budgeting and service delivery monitoring.