Tuesday 25 August 2015

We should use campaign season to demand for better services

With the 2016 general elections drawing closer, politicians are warming up to the people in their constituencies. As is common during this period, aspirants do everything within their power to sway voters in their favor. It gets more intense with many voters being bribed with handouts & temporary solutions to long standing issues.

Since this is one of the rare seasons when our leaders are attentive to or feign concern about voters’ lives, the latter should take advantage of the season to demand answers from both incumbents & aspiring leaders regarding poor governance, poor public service delivery especially in health & education sectors.

This was said by ToroDev supported advocacy forum chairperson of Committed citizens for better services based in  Hakibale sub county, Burahya county in Kabarole district Mr. Kasweta John while appearing on ToroDev supported live radio program called ‘’Listeners’ forum’’ that is aired live every Sunday 8:00pm-10:00pm on Jubilee radio in fort portal.

Mr. Kasweta John , the Chairperson Committed Citizens for Better Services

 ''Let this be the season that leaders are put to task to explain the persistent poor service delivery despite past pledges to fight for improvement of the same by vote-hungry politicians'', said Mr. Kasweta John.

During the 2 hour discussion, listeners were given time to participate through call-ins & sms; ''if we go for sugar, salt & money, it means as voters we do not know what we want from these aspirants and we may not be aware of the value of our votes'', said Mr. Mukwano Ssenyonjo, a caller from Mugusu in Kabarole district.

The 2 hour live radio discussion was moderated by Mr. Mukonyezi Wilfred & is supported by ToroDev in partnership with SIDA, NED, DRT, SPIDER, CIPESA & ICT4DEM

We are grateful to our partners for the financial & technical support.

Friday 14 August 2015

Civil Society Organizations and Kabarole district Local Government urged to strengthen collaboration

The executive director ToroDev Mr. Baguma Johnstone Kumaraki has called upon CSO’s operating in Kabarole district to boost their coordination with the district and improve the networking so that people’s issues in communities can be solved together as a team.
Mr. Baguma was highlighting on the objectives of the one day workshop on strengthening collaboration amongst NGO’s and the Local Government of Kabarole district on 5th August 2015 at Kabarole district council chambers, Kitumba in Fort portal.

‘’As NGO’s/CSO’s we need to share information, available opportunities, plans, budget & account together. This was an issue identified as one of the major concerns hence a recommendation by the district & regional stakeholders Annual Regional Reflection Conference on Public Accountability for improved service Delivery organized by ToroDev in October 2014’’, said Mr. Baguma John stone Kumaraki.

The Executive Director ToroDev Mr. Baguma Johnstone Kumaraki Highlighting on the objectives of the workshop
Mr. Baguma said the question has been how can we work together to harmonize our work by focusing on areas without interventions than congesting our services in one particular place. ‘’As CSO’s we understand our people better hence need to sit with the district every financial year to consider priority needs. When we share information, when we engage, we can achieve a lot as a team’’, said Mr. Baguma Johnstone Kumaraki.

The one day workshop was attended by sixty (60) women, youth & men amongst them was the Resident District Commissioner-Kabarole (RDC), Chief Administrative Officer-Kabarole (CAO), Chairperson LCV-Kabarole, Heads of departments from Kabarole district Local Government, Representatives of NGO’s & CBO’s operating in Kabarole district.

Participants in the workshop listening to ToroDev Executive Director Mr. Baguma Johnstone Kumaraki
During the workshop, a District Development Plan PHASE 11, 2015/2016 was shared by the district planner Mr. Koojo Sam, who highlighted  the major challenges they have as a district in Accessing & Documenting information from CSO’s, Harmonizing activities/projects of CSO’s and Measuring their achievements.

The Kabarole District Planner Mr. Koojo Sam presenting the District Development Plan Phase 11 during the workshop
The one day workshop was organized by ToroDev in partnership with Kabarole NGO’s & CBO’s Association (KANCA).
We are grateful to SIDA, NED, DRT, SPIDER & ICT4DEM for the financial and technical support.

Public officers warned on government funds

The Resident District Commissioner (RDC) for Kyegegwa district Hon. Nyakwera Baguma has cautioned public officers in the district to be extra careful with government monies as long as she is the RDC in Kyegegwa district.Hon. Nyakwera Baguma said this while giving the accountability for Kyegegwa district for the period 2011-2014 on 25th July 2015 on Hits fm. She said, as we may recall soldiers were deployed to run the operation wealth creation program that replaced NAADS, ’’ I  commend them for not being corrupt, being hard working, disciplined and working in all conditions of life’’, said Hon. Nyakwera

While appearing on a ToroDev supported live radio program called ‘Orukurato’ that discusses accountability and service delivery issues every Saturday 8:00pm-10:00pm on Hits Fm, a local radio station in Fort portal, Hon. Nyakwera said a district with 7 sub counties and 1 town council covering 1728 square kilometers & with a population of around 285000 people had lagged behind in terms of development before being demarcated out of Kyenjojo district.
’ We are now an independent district and the funding we receive is used to do development work in the district. We have constructed a number of roads i.e Mpara-Nyakasaka , Kazinga-Rwentuha, Rwekomire-Bulingo-Bukere, Nyabagahya-Kangule & Rwentuha-Kabaraba is under construction’’, said Hon. Nyakwera.

During the 2 hours live radio discussion, Hon. Nyakwera showed it that the construction of the district headquarters is at slab level, Wekomire technical school that is being constructed under presidential pledge is at wall plate and a number of schools have been constructed to improve the education standards  in the district.

 Since our people are farmers and business men & women, we have supplied 1137000 pineapple seedlings, 260000 tons of beans seeds, 29000 tons of maize seeds, 2 million coffee seedlings, etc al under the operation wealth creation program to improve on the house hold income levels of our people.

During the discussion callers were given time to participate through call ins & sms; ‘’we thank the leadership of Kyegegwa district local government for the developments in the district however, the classrooms constructed are not enough in some schools like Nyakasaka primary school to ease the congestion in classrooms given a big population of pupils at school’’, said Donozio a caller from Kyegegwa.

The 2 hours live radio program is moderated by Mr. Kasigazi William Donanto and is supported by ToroDev in partnership with SIDA, NED, DRT, SPIDER & ICT4DEM. We thank all our development partners for the financial & technical support.

Thursday 13 August 2015

People of Nyabatahi Village in Mugusu Sub county, Kabarole district have a reason to smile after their borehole is repaired

A group of people representing Nyabatahi village kiboha parish Mugusu sub county Kabarole district on 29th June 2015 went and met the management of Uganda Red cross Society (URCS) Fort Portal branch who once constructed a borehole that lasted eight (8) months leading to the suffering of over 130 households in search of safe and clean water.The group was led by the chairperson of people’s Rights & Forum for Development based in Mugusu sub county & supported by ToroDev Mr. Ssenyonjo Mukwano, among the group was the chairperson LC1 for Nyabatahi village Mr. Ampaire John, Mr. Kusemererwa Sam the forum publicity secretary, Mr. Rusoke Sada, Mrs. Byaruhanga Jane & Mr. Asiimwe John, all local citizens among others.

Mr. Balyebuga Stephen the mechanic repairing the borehole as village members look on

Children and other village members witnessing the repair of their bore hole

''As members of people’s Rights & forum for development that is supported by ToroDev since 2013 with objectives of demanding for better services in our community, holding leaders accountable, lobbying, promoting, protecting &defending people’s rights, we convened a community meeting that resolved to meet the management of Uganda cross Society (URCS). When we met the URCS management, we were asked to look for funds to transport the mechanic and pay his labour for repairs and that Uganda Red cross Society as an organization will provide spare parts.  As a forum and in company of other community members we lobbed from an aspiring candidate one Mr. Businge John who accepted to facilitate the mechanic. After receiving the funds, we went back to URCS, picked spare parts and the mechanic Mr. Balyebuga Stephen who was in company of Mr. Buzale Geofrey an official from URCS Fort Portal branch to Nyabatahi village to have the borehole repaired'' said Mr. Kusemererwa Sam the publicity of the forum.

A community member collecting water from the repaired borehole

''As a forum, we engage, motivate & mentor others to lobby and advocate for better services in their areas in an organized form in order to yield positive results, now the borehole is repaired and our people have a reason to smile because they can now access safe & clean water’’,said Mr. Ssenyonjo Mukwano the chairperson of the forum.

Mr. Ssenyonjo Mukwano the Forum chairperson  ( yellow shirt) and Mr. Balyebuga Stephen the mechanic
( with a spanner) and other community members

''We thank Uganda Red cross Society for the support  and ToroDev for initiating the forums inour areas, our children now have been eased of the long distances to collect water from the swamp which water was not even safe for us to use,with the water source committee chaired byMr. Rusoke Sada in place, we shall protect the borehole to serve us for a longer period of time’’, said Mrs. Byaruhanga Jane, a member of Nyabatahi village in Mugusu sub county Kabarole district.
Mrs Byaruhanga (blue t-shirt) with other members including the chairperson water source committee Mr. Rusoke Sada  ( black T-shirt) cleaning the borehole

The above advocacy work has been supported by ToroDev through the citizen’s advocacy forum in Mugusu sub county Kabarole district and this reflects the strengths & relevancy of organized citizen forums in the community.

As of today, ToroDev has supported the initiation of 15 advocacy forum groups in the 7 districts of operation in Rwenzori sub region, western Uganda.

We are grateful to SIDA, NED, DRT, SPIDER and many other organizations for the financial and technical support.

Friday 7 August 2015

Rwenzori Journalists Trained on Election Reporting & Broadcasting to prepare for the upcoming 2016 Elections

ToroDev in partnership with Rwenzori Journalists forum held a training where 60 Journalists from the 15 local radio stations located in the seven districts of the Rwenzori Region were able to attend. The training offered journalists with basic skills needed in covering the whole process from pre-election to post-election, looking at the various stages of the electoral process, elements of an election and the areas where distortions can occur, either through deliberate actions or poor organization. The selection of the participants at least 80% was from the radio stations and 20 % from other media.  The selection of participants was 50% female and 50% male. The two days journalists training workshop was conducted on 28th - 29th July 2015 and the training was facilitated by two consultants from Uganda Radio Network.

Participants during a training session at St. Joseph's Inn Virika on 28th July 2015
The executive director ToroDev Mr. Baguma John stone Kumaraki urged journalists from the 15 local radio stations of the Rwenzori Region to engage local and political leaders to deal with issues that affect grass root community members. He was speaking at the opening of a 2 days training of Journalists at St. Joseph’s Inn Virika. The journalists trained included news reporters, talk show hosts, print and news editors who acquired basic skills that will enable them to cover election processes in a fair, balanced & non-partisan way.

ToroDev Executive Director Mr. Baguma Johnstone Kumaraki giving  remarks during the official opening of the training
 The training was facilitated by Mr. Kaija Wilson Akiiki and JK Imokola both from Uganda Radio network.
“Sometimes we go to the source to verify information not access/capture information and in some cases many journalists tend to tell a national story and forget a community story. If you have decided to be a journalist, please be but do not be a journalist and at the same time a politician, your story reporting will automatically be biased’’ said Mr. Kaija Wilson Akiiki             a facilitator from Uganda Radio Network.

 Mr. Kaija Wilson Akiiki,  a facilitator from Uganda Radio Network during a training session
Meanwhile JK Imokola a trainer with Uganda Radio Network asked the trainees to look at ideas the candidates are putting forward and then give voters a voice by looking at their issues too. He urged the trainees to avoid personal issues of candidates, stay clear from unsubstantiated claims, know your rights & responsibilities and let us try to balance our stories with minority views & opinions because the biggest defense in reporting is your professional ethics as a journalist.

“The  acquired knowledge from the training  will help me to act in a professional way of covering, all aspects of elections especially during the campaign, registration of voters, candidates and parties, the important elements that needs media attention during election eve, the Election Day, the day after and during the vote count.( in pre-election, election day & post election period)”. Said Tusime Francis the coordinator of Rwenzori Journalist Forum.

We are grateful to SIDA, DRT, NED, SPIDER, CIPESA & ICT4DEM for the financial and technical support.