Thursday 28 April 2016

Radio talkshows have helped in information sharing , ensuring accountability and supporting democratic space for improved service delivery in 7 districts of the Rwenzori sub-region.

ToroDev partners with three local radio stations that is Hits Fm which broadcasts Orukurato talkshow every Saturday (08:00pm-10:00pm), Jubilee radio, every Sunday on Listeners Forum from (08:00 to 10:00) and  KRC FM, Manya Ekiragiro Kyawe  every Wednesday from (08:00 to 10:00) with an aim of  using radio talkshows for  public accountability for improved service delivery in Rwenzori Region,  Western Uganda and Supporting a democratic space to improve public service delivery through 2015/6 general elections in Uganda.   

The rural FM radio stations in the region remain the major source of information for community development in the Rwenzori region and therefore, remain the most accessed and cheaper information and knowledge sharing media platform thus need to be heavily improved to ensure business development in the region.

For the past 6 years ToroDev has been partnering with over 16 local radio stations under (Rwenzori journalist forum) especially with moderators who host accountability talkshows on each radio station.  Several trainings   of moderators have been done to ensure that they successfully hold quality debates with the duty bearers and follow up issues discussed on radio for improved service delivery. 

Shiela Amanya M & E Officer ToroDev during an Evaluation Talkshow
There has been an increased participation of duty bearers giving accountability for improved service delivery, an increased participation of local citizen both women and men engaging leaders in giving accountability on each single talkshow over 30-40 people from the 7 districts call in and send Sms during and after the talkshow contributing to the debate and sharing issues of service delivery”. Said Kazigazi Williams the moderator of Orukurato talkshow on Hits Fm.

 Kasigazi added that local citizens have been  empowered with information and knowledge to demand  for public accountability for improved service delivery, there has been improved  information sharing  from different stake holders, including  the entrepreneurs, bankers, head teachers and proprietors of schools  lawyers, business men and women ,this information is gathered and shared with the CSOs- district forums  initiated by ToroDev  for  lobbying, planning , budgeting and advocacy for improved  service delivery.

The talk shows have brought duty bearers live on air to give accountability to people, they  have helped the community to demand for better services for their communities,  over 30 local citizens participate through call-ins  this forces the leaders to  act faster in solving issues of service delivery”. Said Mukonyezi Wilfred the moderator of Listeners forum on Jubilee during evaluation talkshow on 24th / April 2016  

Winfred Mukonyezi Abooki the Moderator  Listeners' Forum program on Jubilee Radio
The construction of the road is going on in Harugongo subcounty after making lots of complaints on the radios, leaders fear to hear the same issues discussed over and over on radio they act as faster as possible, when we continue sharing our issues on radios change will be seen in all sectors.” Said Abdullah Baguma a caller  from Harugongo in, Kabarole District, during the evaluation talkshow on Hits Fm on 23rd/ April 2016.

Mukonyezi  added a big number of women’ issues are heard on radios through rural debates which ToroDev conducts once in a month  and  the elections were well conducted  due to   massive sensitization through radio talkshows. The elections were violence free in the districts of Kabarole, Kyenjojo, Kyegegwa , and Kamwenge apart from the other three districts where there was tribal issues after elections.

There has been a percentage increase in understanding of citizen rights & responsibilities from 40%in 2011  before the talkshows were introduced to- 80% in 2016. The talk shows have created a platform to marginalized population/ groups of women and youth to know their rights, responsibilities and lobby for improved service delivery from their political and local leaders”. Said Julius, a caller from Kyarusozi Sub County in Kyenjojo district

There has been a bigger percentage increase in  giving  accountability by the local and political leaders, civil society leaders and technocrats  as a result of the talk shows , the talkshows have provided a plat form to provide public accountability for improved service delivery”. Said Jane Kahuma from Katembe , Kyenjojo District during the evaluation talkshow on Hits Fm. 

ICT tools especially the use of FM radio stations have helped to improve accountability, monitoring service delivery and citizen participation in governance. ‘’Radio programs have empowered local citizens with information and knowledge to demand for public accountability and lobby for improved service delivery, the live talkshows have even opened the eyes of women who used to be very shy,but now women are brave enough to also call in and courageously ask for better services and share their problems with their leaders, leaders who have been reporting to offices late are exposed and they have changed’’. Said Mugarra Peter  a caller from Kyegegwa district.

Leaders eyes have been opened by the radio talk shows, those who have not been active have been awakened by the local citizens who attend the talk show and campaign against the sleeping leaders. “The talk shows have awakened the inactive leaders to check themselves and start working”. Said Mukwano Senyonjo  caller from Mugusu during the evaluation talkshow on Jubille radio.

The live radio programs are proudly sponsored by ToroDev in partnership with SIDA, NED, DRT, CIPESA, SPIDER, ICT4DEM, Jubilee radio and Hits Fm.

Tuesday 26 April 2016

ToroDev Holds Evaluation Talkshows on Hits Fm and Jubilee Radio 23rd & 24th April 2016 respectively

 As a way of evaluating the radio talkshows sponsored by ToroDev, ToroDev in partnership with Hits Fm and Jubilee Fm held evaluation live talkshows, for Orukurato on Hits Fm and Listeners Forum Jubilee fm. The evaluation critically examined radio programs/talkshows, this involved collecting and analyzing information from the listeners about a program’s activities, outcomes, challenges, solutions to the challenges and way forward. The purpose of the evaluation will help to make judgments about a program, to improve its effectiveness, and/or to inform programming decisions.

David Kugonza Documentation & Communications Officer and Shiela Amanya M&E, ToroDev during the Evaluation Talkshow

The evaluation of talkshows enabled effective exchange of information between key stakeholders and  ToroDev team to determine plans, needs, challenges, changes and future plans that help in demonstrating the program’s successes or progress. The information that was collected during the talkshows will also allow the programming team to better communicate the program’s impact to others”.  Said Sheila Amanya M&E Officer ToroDev.

Shiela Amanya M & E Officer ToroDev making a comment during the evaluation talkshow

“The evaluation talkshow helped in identifying areas for improvement and ultimately help in realizing the goals more efficiently, as an organisation we are able to know what we need to improve on in order to serve our citizens efficiently''.Said David Kugonza, Documentation and Communications Officer,  ToroDev .

David Kugonza Documentation & Communications Officer ToroDev responding to questions during the evaluation talkshow
 The evaluation talkshows aimed at investigating whether the time, funds & efforts ToroDev invests in radio talkshows is worth it, collecting information from stakeholders on how to improve our radio programs, ascertaining whether ToroDev has achieved it's intended outcomes from the talkshows and also identifying challenges and way forward.

The two hours evaluation talkshows were given to callers to call in and send in SMS to share in their issues that can help us plan for the next four months as ToroDev holds radio talkshows for improved accountability and service delivery.

During the evaluation talkshows, over 60 people called in and 20 sent SMS on Hits Fm and about 65 people called in during Jubilee radio evaluation talkshow. On Hits Fm out of 60 people who called in 18 were women and on Jubilee radio out of 65 who called in 20 were women.  Listeners who called in were from the seven districts of the Rwenzori Region. 

These talkshows have bridged a gap between local citizens and political leaders, this is a good platform to engage leaders in serious debates without fear or favour, because of the talkshows we no longer fear any leader of any level, when it comes to asking for accountability we don’t favour any of them”. Said Byaruhanga a caller from Mpara Sub County in Kyegegwa district during the evaluation talkshow on Hits Fm

The radio talkshows have increased participation of duty bearers of all levels giving accountability for improved service delivery, we have heard MPS speak about services issues on radios,  Local council I, , LCIII, Technocrats  have been hosted and we have engaged them seriously in demanding for accountability and requesting them to keep lobbying for all sectors. Said, Annet a caller from Harukoto, Kabarole district during the radio talkshow on 105.6 Jubilee radio. 

 “There has been increased participation of us (local citizen) on these talkshows this has helped in informing leaders on the state of services in our respective communities, the radio talkshows have enabled grass root people who come live in the studios, call in or send SMS to share issues concerning service delivery”. Said Monica from Rwengaju, Kabarole district, during the radio talkshow on Hits Fm  

Rural debates have done great work in engaging women and their issues are captured, during the talkshow listeners requested ToroDev to hold more rural debates as the only way to bring more women on board. “More rural debates are needed to engage women who cannot personally attend the radio talkshows live, this is the only way women’ issues will be shared on radio, said Basemera  a caller from Kyarusozi in Kyenjojo district during the talkshow on Jubilee radio.

Listeners requested ToroDev to do more sensitization of women to encourage them to be part of the radio discussions. “More sensitization program encouraging women to participate in the talkshows should be held and since the rural debates are targeting women, more should be carried”. Said Mildred the district councilor Kyegegwa town council during the radio talkshow on 105.6 Jubilee radio. 

Listeners further requested ToroDev to host the elected leaders to come and discuss what they will do for the people who elected them. “We are interested in hearing what elected leaders are planning to do in terms of providing services; we   want leaders of all levels to be hosted for the debates as soon as possible”. Said Steven a caller from Kabundaire , Kabarole district.

 For the radio talkshows to be on, special thanks go to our donors, NED, SIDA, SPIDER, ICT4Dem, CIPESA for the financial support 

Wednesday 20 April 2016

ToroDev Holds a Rural Debate in Kamwenge District, Biguli Sub County to capture women issues on health, education and electioneering.

On 13th April 2016, women of Biguli Sub County in Kamwenge District showed their outcry over the poor service delivery in their Sub County. This was during the rural radio debate conducted by Mr. Mukonyezi Wilfred, a moderator of the Listeners’ Forum’ on Jubilee  Fm ,   during a radio discussion sponsored by ToroDev.

The main objective of holding rural debates is to amplify the voices/concerns of rural women and youth from very hard to reach communities who are also unable to appear on FM radio platforms for talk shows which are always aired late in the evenings yet women have other responsibilities in their homes.

A rural debate is a concept that was birthed after realizing very few women were participating in live radio talkshows. There have been limited women, youth, local and technical leaders’ participation in the live radio discussions, and this has been a problem with capturing issues from women and youth who live in hard to reach areas.   During the debate, the main focus is put on women where women’s voices are captured and thereafter amplified on radio. 

The focus areas where debates are held are mainly very remote areas with poor essential service delivery cases in all 7 districts were given first priority.  Participants selected are mainly 80% rural women and youth in those areas and 20% technical leaders (head teachers of government schools, in-charge of health centers, OCs of police stations, & local leaders are also involved in the debate.
Recorded voices are amplified live on Jubilee Radio, articles posted online (listeners forum face book page & ToroDev blogs), Phone SMS, calls used for mobilization. Radio debate; topical issues are raised on radio where citizen engage the duty bearers.

The people’s issues were run on Jubilee radio on 17th April 2016 during the ‘Listeners Forum’ program on Sunday 8:00-10:00pm for the local leaders’ intervention.

During the discussion, Mr. Mukonyezi the moderator of the talk show indicated how rural radio debates had done a great work in attracting leaders’ intervention. “Rural radio debates have created a quicker way of attracting local leaders’ intervention into people’s issues most especially those leaders who mistake advocacy forums of being political groups. Such leaders tend to quickly intervene when they hear people themselves bring out their outcry about the poor service delivery”.
Mukonyezi added the main concern in this rural radio magazine/ debate was to discuss the state of health in regard to maternal health, the health state of Biguli health centre III in Biguli Sub County and the post-election issues in the Sub County and district as a whole.

Health workers leave the hospital very early, they don’t work whole day, they come late and leave very early, they don’t attend to all the patients who come very early and they don’t work at all over the weekend”, Said Katusabe Angelina during the rural radio debate.

There is only one midwife at the health facility of Biguli health centre III attending to over 20 women a day, this is very frustrating because it has put women to a great risk. Said Mrs. Barungi Betty during the debate.

Citizens seeking health services in one of the health centres
“There is lack of an ambulance for emergency especially to transport women who have complications   during labor time and this puts women at risk in most cases, the government should help and support this health centre if it’s to function well and serve the people of Biguli”. Said Karungi Scovia during the rural radio magazine.

“More still the roads are in sorry state, impassable with lots of potholes this causes transport to health centers to be very expensive and this has forced women to go away with visiting the health centers for checkup as required which puts their lives at risk and women shun to go to deliver from health centers”     said Happy Medius a resident of Biguli during the rural radio magazine.

The women who participated in the rural radio magazine acknowledged their participation in the recent general elections. They said they did cast their votes without being forced to make different choices of leaders they thought will work with them to develop their communities.

Local listeners also participated in the live radio discussion through call ins to raise their issues and concerns. "What do local leaders think when people cry over poor services?", asked Latif from Mugusu Sub County, "The problem with our leaders is that when they reach office, they forget about lobbying and delivering better services", said Mugabe Robert, "Local people should not depend on free education but should rather invest in their private schools if they want good results".

The rural radio debate is supported by NED, ICT4Dem and SIDA/CIPESA on a project aimed at using radio and social media to improve the participation of marginalized population groups of rural youth and women in governance issues in the Rwenzori Region, Western Uganda.

Thursday 14 April 2016

Development Partners and Kabarole District Forum 3rd Cordination meeting yields results

The Deputy District Resident Commissioner (D/RDC) Kabarole Mrs Rose Monday Byabasaija said development partners need to work together with the district local governments where they operate from instead of working in isolation. She said this while officially closing a half day coordination meeting of CSO’s & Kabarole district local government at the district council hall Kitumba in Fort Portal on 5th April 2016. Mrs Byabasaija further recognized the lack of functionality in lower health centers of the district which has led to congestion in referral hospital and also absenteeism of health workers at these lower health centers. She urged CSO’s to always consult the district local governments during the process of implementing their services in the district.

The Deputy RDC Kabarole Mrs Rose Monday Byabasaija officially closing the ToroDev supported meeting

The coordination meetings are conducted quarterly aimed at championing public accountability, transparency & improved service delivery through planning together, budgeting together, accounting together, sharing of successes and challenges, enjoying shared & coordinated reporting on a regular basis. The meeting was attended by the district chairperson , ACAO, all heads of departments, all community development officers of Kabarole district, CSO’s & representatives, members of the district executive committee & ToroDev partners from Swedish International Development Agency ( SIDA) and ICT4DEM , aimed at assessing the impact of the last meeting  & developing a harmonized approach towards improving coordination & communication among CSO’s and the local government by strengthening PPP and brainstorming on the challenges of fostering collaboration in the district as experienced by both parties.

Participants listening to presentations during the meeting
Hon. Richard Rwabuhinga the district chairperson while officially opening the meeting urged participants to embrace such meetings where we engage each other on development issues and appealed to CSO’s who have not yet reviewed partnership with the district to take it serious for through that we avoid duplication of services, plan together & account together to improve service delivery for the populace in the district. He said the district 5 years development plan was ready to be shared with CSO’s in this particular meeting before inviting people to be peaceful especially in this post election period.

Hon. Richard Rwabuhinga the LCV Kabarole giving his opening remarks during the meeting
The Executive director ToroDev, Mr. Baguma Johnstone Kumaraki while presenting the role of social media (on-line platforms) in improving public accountability and service delivery during the meeting said e-participation surveys and linkages can help in guiding policy decisions which in the long run improves public service delivery. He said we need to utilize such meetings to forge ways on how to handle service delivery issues that affect us in our communities.

Mr. Baguma Johnstone Kumaraki the ED ToroDev Presenting the role of  social media during the meeting
The District Education Officer (DEO) Mr. Rwakaikara Patrick noted that lack of lunch for our children in schools was still a big issue in the district for it does not only fail learning to take place but also leads to children missing school, school dropouts and the result is poor performance in schools. He said some parents have not done their responsibilities right hence shifting some to government. Mr. Rwakaikara identified the need for improved sanitation in schools, inactive school management committees, limited funding for school inspections, & weak administration by some head teachers and lack of basic scholastic material especially on the side of Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC’s).

The DEO Kabarole Mr. Rwakaikara Patrick discussing the status of Education in the district

The Assistant District Health Officer (ADHO) Mrs Manimake Elizabeth who represented the District Health Officer (DHO) showed it  that local governments have restricted budgets which limit the supply of drugs in the district especially where the district has to purchase drugs for her populace with her own budget. She urged CSO’s to lobby for more funds to improve the state of the health sector in the district.

The deputy DHO Kabarole Mrs. Maanimake Elizabeth talking about the status of the Health sector in the district

During the meeting there was time for open discussion and question & answer sessions. Also actions plans were drawn whose engagements will be fed in the next coordination meeting due July 2016.

We are grateful to our partners; NED, SIDA, SPIDER, ICT4DEM, Kabarole District Local Government for the financial & technical support.

Thursday 7 April 2016

ToroDev organizes a Capacity Building training for old and newly initiated advocacy forums

As a way of strengthening the institutional capacity of advocacy forums and rural monitors in demanding & advocating for improved service delivery using different platforms, ToroDev organized a one day meeting on 31st / 3/2016 at ToroDev resource centre  that  brought  all the leaders of the forums from Kabarole, Kyenjojo, Kasese,  Kyegegwa, Ntoroko and Kamwenge districts for further  planning for 2016.
Having realized the positive outcomes from the interventions of advocacy forums, ToroDev initiated 8 new advocacy forums in sub-counties with no forums. The sub-counties include, Harugongo, Bukuku, Karago, Karambi, Kakabara, Kyegegwa, Kyarusozi and one Media forum in Fort Portal Municipality. During this meeting the new advocacy forums leaders were introduced to the old ones. The new ones were inducted on advocacy skills, minimum standards of service delivery, and issues of public policy, sustainability of the forums, how to use ICT tools like phones, online platforms, and radios to advocate for improved service delivery and how to demand accountability without having fights with the duty bearers To enable rural advocacy forum leaders share their experiences, progress, challenges, way forward and the future plans with others.

Some of the new and old members of the advocacy forums attending  capacity building training at ToroDev 
 The meeting was organized with objectives that included;
To empower new members/leaders of the new initiated rural advocacy forums with skills and knowledge in policy advocacy, service delivery monitoring and broadcasting for accountability, to train forum members on the minimum standards of service delivery in health and education, to network members of the rural advocacy forums from different areas for improved so coordination on issues of policy advocacy since some of the governance issues are cross cutting and therefore need concerted efforts and to share information and ideas on breaking the period of shame and to share the reporting tool with the leaders of advocacy forums.

Today we are joined with new leaders of 8 advocacy forums we are looking forward to partner within future, in the last 2 years we have been working with 15 advocacy forums and one journalist forum, out of 15 advocacy forums 3 were suspended after failing to perform according to the MOUs signed between them and ToroDev. So today we have 12 old advocacy forums and 8 new ones making a total of 20 forums, we do appreciate the good work done by the advocacy forums in advocating for improved service delivery in the Rwenzori Region”. Said Amanya Sheila M&E officer ToroDev.
 Presentations were made by M&E consultant ToroDev on “How to Break the Period of Shame”. This seeks to improve the water and sanitation infrastructure within schools.  As advocacy forums you will further advocate through the schools for changing rooms and emergency changing uniforms incase a girl got an ‘accident’. Further advocacy is in girls having separate latrines that are lockable”.  Said Florence Githinji M&E consultant ToroDev during   her presentation in the meeting
She further emphasized on “How is your forum going to ensure girls remain in school?” , there is a big need  to  train girls  on the use of reusable sanitary towels; girls will be given a hands on training on how to make the reusable sanitary towels, how to maintain hygiene, how to store them and managing pain while menstruating.

Florence during her presentation at ToroDev resource center

 Florence in her other presentation explained the strategic positioning for ToroDev programing for the next five years. ToroDev will be specializing in three sectors, mainly promoting education using ICT in primary schools, promoting health using ICTs and promoting agriculture using ICTS other sectors of Roads, energy etc will be cross cutting,  from 2016 ToroDev will narrow down to three sectors.

We need to address challenges of poor service delivery together as leaders of the advocacy forums, we need to see how we can engage our leaders in asking them for better services, we can share petitions with the concerned leaders, we can engage them on radio talkshows, we can organize meetings and call them to share with us and we advocate for improved services in all sectors. So as forums we have to speak on behalf of others and advocate for better services, this can happen if we are organized and have a heart to volunteer because no one pays us, let’s wake up and advocate for better services”. Said Jane Ahaisibwe the leader of Butiti Better Youth Forum.

From this meeting as a new advocacy forum leader, I have gained experience from the old advocacy forums leaders on how they have been able to do their activities of monitoring, lobbying and advocacy, I have also known the roles of advocacy forums, criteria for partnering with ToroDev, thanks to the opportunity given to us to work with ToroDev.” Said Rugomoka Pascal the leader of Kihamba advocacy forum Kyegegwa district.

Mr. Rugomoka Pascal a new leader of Kihamba advocacy forum sharing what he has learnt from the training

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