Wednesday 29 June 2016

ToroDev programming team holds consultative meetings with District Education Officers of Kabarole, Kyegegwa and Kyenjojo Districts on partnership aimed at improving the Education Sector in western Uganda

In Uganda’s setting, the Ministry of Education and Sports is mandated to provide, support, guide, coordinate, regulate and promote quality education, trainings and sports to all persons in Uganda for national integration, development and individual advancement.
Some of the objectives of the ministry of education is to ensure equal access by gender, district and special needs at all levels of Education and to build capacity of districts by helping Education Managers acquire and improve on their knowledge, skills and attitudes to be able to plan, monitor, account and perform managerial functions, but the ministry can’t fulfill all the objectives , so as District Education Officers (DEOs) we find gaps, that is why we need organizations like ToroDev to come on board to fill some existing gaps”, Said Mr. Rwakaikara Patrick the District Education Officer, Kabarole district during the consultative meeting.   

Pupils at one of the schools in our community

The ministry of education faces challenges due to limited funds, as a district we receive funds which can’t do the needed work to have the best infrastructure in all school, have best furniture, have access to clean water , have staff quarters etc . This is indeed a challenge but with the help of NGOs like UNICEF, world Vision, somehow they bridge the gap, so we are grateful for your decision as ToroDev to meet us and we discuss this, it will be great partnering with you as a developing partner”. Said Ms Tibakanya Gertrude, the District Education Officer Kyenjojo District.

Most challenges we encounter in Universal Primary Schools (UPE) in western Uganda are similar which mainly includes; high school dropout rate of pupils with the biggest percentage being girls, poor hygiene & sanitation (shortage of pit latrine and clean running water), limited staff quarters, non functionality of school management committees etc, we are happy and welcome the idea wholeheartedly when ToroDev wants to work with us to address some of these challenges.”, Said Mr. Asiimwe Stephen Douglas, the District Education Officer Kyegegwa district.

Girls need to be helped by both parents and teachers to attain education
’As ToroDev  we want to partner with the districts  to address some of challenges that the education  sector faces, for the beginning  we want to see that the  School Management Committees (SMC’s) and Parents Teachers’ Associations (PTA’s) are trained on their roles & responsibilities to curb the issue of school drop outs, sensitization of citizens through radios & physical meetings on how to avoid preventable diseases, Train senior women and pupils on re-usable sanitary towels aimed at keeping the girl child in school, rewarding of best performing teachers in hard to reach areas, etc.’’, Said David Kugonza, Documentation & Communications Officer ToroDev.

For education sector to improve we need more NGOS to come on board and bridge the gaps, as Inspector of schools, we are supposed to inspect schools twice a term but due to limited funds we are forced to do it once, which makes head teachers relax and this to some extent has resulted to poor performance. So if ToroDev can fund us and we inspect schools twice a term we believe change in performance can be seen.“ Said Mr. Rujumba John, the Inspector of schools Kabarole district. 

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

Thursday 23 June 2016

Appropriate ICT tools especially Tracfm, radios and accountability meetings have helped improve service delivery through effective monitoring, advocating for improved service delivery and mobilization of the local communities to demand accountability.

In Katebwa sub county, Kabarole District Songya bridge is being constructed as a result of radio talkshows , accountability meeting and pressure  put on the leaders through Katebwa  advocacy forum members.
The bridge was washed away by heavy rains in October 2013 and since then people of Katebwa have been struggling with movements and their businesses were not going on well, but as a forum we have never kept quiet we have been holding meetings with duty bearers reminding them of this bridge, since 2013  we have organized more than 20 meetings engaging duty bearer and advocating for the bridge, we are happy  now  because the construction is going on  and  it’s our great joy as a forum to see that our efforts are not in vain”.  Said Joy Bwambale the secretary of Katebwa advocacy forum.

“We  shared our issues with administrators of Tracfm, to suggest  poll questions on transport sector  and bridge constructions and we made sure we participated in answering the poll and calling on radios, we went a head  and requested for  radio talkshows on Hits FM, Voice of Toro, KRC and  Jubilee etc to talk  about the bridge, we have organized over 8 powerful  accountability meetings  with duty bearers at all levels to discuss the issue  of the bridge. We are happy that our duty bearers reported the issue to the government and now as we talk the central government has started working on the bridge under KAIPU, the progress is so far good”. Said Ezra  Muhindo the leader of Katebwa  sub county NGOs  & CBOs  advocacy

Ezra added to a larger extent like 80% of this progress is of tracFM and  our effort as a forum, as members of the forum we did not give up participating on polls  and radios  lobbying and advocating for the bridge, we have organized   several monthly meetings with the leaders and the community members to discuss particularly on this bridge, we have mobilized the community to go on the radio to speak on the same issue over and over, we are happy that we have positive results now.

Above: Construction work of Nsongya bridge in Katebwa that is on-going currently

Advocacy in all its forms seeks to ensure that people, particularly those who are most vulnerable in society, are able to have their voices heard on issues that are important to them. Defend and safeguard their rights, have their views and wishes genuinely considered when decisions are being made about their lives. We are grateful that this forum has been there for the people of Katebwa and now we see  this bridge constructed due to the efforts of Katebwa sub county NGOs & CBOs  advocacy. Said Yoneki  Kithahire, a citizen of Katebwa Sub County.

Nsongya bridge before the start of the construction work
As a forum for Katebwa sub county NGOs & CBOs we speak up for the people of Katebwa Sub County whenever they don’t think their voices are being heard.  We serve even individuals facing a crisis situation or challenge that seems too big to manage; having a forum like us is a lifeline of hope”.  Said Mukabani Joseph the treasurer of Katebwa sub county NGOs & CBOs advocacy
Joseph added that advocacy is a very important part of what we do at Katebwa advocacy forum each one of our programs supports people who have been disadvantaged, marginalized, or troubled.

For the advocacy forums to do their work effectively we are grateful to our donors, SIDA, SPIDER, NED, CIPESA, WOUGNET, INDIGO trust for their financial support  to do such kind of work. 

Wednesday 22 June 2016

Infrastructure Services have been improved in Bufunjo seed Secondary school due to the efforts of radio talkshows, Trac fm and Bufunjo Advocacy forum.

ToroDev with financial support from SIDA, NED, SPIDER, CIPESA, WOUGNET, DRT, ICT4Dem and Indigo Trust, has been able to partner and support the work done by 20 advocacy forums. (Advocacy forums; are locally organised community groups that ToroDev initiated to advance the issues of public accountability at the sub-county level. We currently have 20 spread in the 7 districts). 

Advocacy forums in partnership with ToroDev use different ICT tools to promote information and knowledge exchange on accountability and governance issues in the Rwenzori sub-region. ICTs tools like radio, trac Fm and  online social medial  were used as a platform by local citizens to hold duty bearers accountable. It is further are by advocacy forums to lobby and advocate for improved service delivery. Tracfm, facebook and Ushahidi platforms were used to generate discussion issues for radio moderators and who invite duty bearers to respond to the pressing service delivery issues” .Said Sheila Amanya M&E Officer ToroDev.
Sheila Added ToroDev in partnership with advocacy forums uses different offline platforms to promote public accountability for improved service delivery. For example accountability meetings is an offline platform has increased citizen participation in public accountability.

It is during such meetings that Bufunjo Seed Secondary School in Bufunjo sub-county, Kyenjojo District problems were raised. The classrooms were in a deplorable condition and there was no apparent plan to improve them.  The local government had earlier on given money to a contractor who only cleared the ground and dug the foundation. The contractor then disappeared and left no trace.

 Above: Bufunjo Seed Secondary School before the new classroom structures

Bufunjo Seed Secondary School after the construction of new classroom structures

Bufunjo Advocacy forum members took up the issue and requested for airtime 6 times in accountability radio talkshows sponsored by ToroDev. In discussing the state of education in Bufunjo this issue was brought up. The head teacher Mr.Byaruhanga Sylvester participated on the radio talkshows which acted to amplify the problem. The problem was further projected on different online platforms These advocacy yielded results when the local government allocated 100M in 2015 to construct 2 classroom blocks for Bufunjo Seed Secondary School and in 2016 another 100M was released to construct more 2 classroom blocks. 

 (Above) Before furnishing the class rooms with desks (Below) After provision of desks in classrooms

 I was hosted on Better Fm with members of Bufunjo People’ forum wherewe discussed the poor state of the school infrastructure. We commend the work of the advocacy forum for advocating for improved service delivery in our areas.  I thank ToroDev for giving us airtime to inform leaders about the school status and we are happy that leaders responded immediately after the radio talkshow and in March 2015 we were given a grant of 100m to work on 2 classrooms and buy desks”. Reported Mr .Byaruhanga Sylvester, the head teacher Bufunjo Seed Secondary School.

We are grateful to all our partners SIDA, SPIDER, NED, ICT4DEM, WOUGNET and advocacy forums for the support.

Tuesday 21 June 2016

Government should encourage Vocational Trainings in order to produce Job Creators other than Seekers

Having a bigger number of ministers in the country does not imply the returns we are likely to get; it only goes with individual commitments to provide services to citizens. For example the Rwenzori sub region has had 5 ministers in the last cabinet compared to 7 ministers in this new cabinet but some have been in parliament as leaders and we know how they have performed may be the expectation should be to the new appointees.

These were words from Johnstone Baguma  Kumaraki, the executive director Toro Development Network  while analyzing the 2016/2017 national budget on 11th June,2016 during the ‘‘Listeners’ forum’’ program that is aired live every Saturday 8:00pm-10:00pm on HITS FM.

Johnstone Baguma Kumaraki, executive director ToroDev
Mr. Baguma K. Johnstone said citizens can be attracted to embrace the budget if it’s going to change the state of service delivery and if there are signs of transforming citizens from the level of poverty to at least a middle income level where there is increased income at household level ,otherwise citizens may not be interested in knowing and understanding the budget.

’The focus should be much on health, education, Agriculture and infrastructure development, this year’s budget is 26 trillion compared to 24 trillion in 2015/2016 budget hence having a bigger budget does not mean improved and quality services because our money has lost value and as a country we import more than what we export which keeps our money value low because of operating on a dollar’’, said Johnstone. The government should be credited for increasing the budget for infrastructure development because the produce we have will be transported to markets but now we have to fight for quality produce other than quantity to compete with other countries at the world market.

Meanwhile Emmanuel Tugume the former district councilor representing Kasenda sub county while discussing live in studios said, quality production should be encouraged by government so that our people are able to produce items that compete globally. The government should also invest on things that help Ugandans like fighting unemployment through changing the education system from studying to pass to vocational trainings, supporting farmers to produce quality products and increasing tourism funding because it is one of the sectors that bring much revenue to the county.

The two (2) hours live radio discuss had participation of listeners through call-ins and Sms platforms;
 ‘’ The government should change the curriculum in schools to help children study what will help them in future other than studying to pass exams’’, said Chris Amanyire a caller from Kicwamba, Kabarole district, ‘’we pray that with this increased number of ministers the money allocated to improve service delivery will be used as planned’’, said Mr. Byaruhanga Charles a caller from Mpara, Kyegegwa district, ‘’the increased number of ministers means suffering of tax payers because of increase salaries and allowances, it is difficult to do something you have failed to do in 25 years’’, said Wycliff a caller from Kyegegwa district.

We are grateful to all our partners for all the support.

ToroDev Staff trained in Geocoding

ToroDev staff and some members of the advocacy forum groups from Kakabara, Butiiti, Bufunjo and Harugongo sub counties have undergone a 3 days training in Geocoding from 16th -18th June, 2016 at ToroDev resource centre in Fort Portal.

The training was done in partnership with AID DATA and conducted by Evan Woods a research assistant. It aimed at achieving the following objectives; planning on the use of resources and time & better planning in implementing projects in future. The training will also help to direct how, where and time to allocate resources.

Evan Woods Showing Participants how QGIS works
 The training covered; precision code values, how to Geocode, comparing variables and putting/presenting data using maps.

‘’As ToroDev we need data to focus our planning, sharing the data with leaders in our engagements to plan appropriately in resource allocation’’, said Johnstone Baguma, the executive director ToroDev during a brief communication to participants before the start of the training.

‘’Our partnership is on how we collect, process & disseminate data/information on line with visual representations on maps to represent what we have been doing as an organization. Our engagements will be now well organized on the map of Uganda for anyone who want to know what projects ToroDev as an organization has been involved in her quest for better planning, accountability and improved service delivery in the Rwenzori sub region and Uganda as a whole’’, said David Kugonza a trainee and ToroDev’s Documentation and Communications officer.

Participants busy trying to follow instructions as Evan Woods, the trainer guides them

We are grateful to AID DATA, SPIDER, SIDA, ICT4DEM, NED and all other development partners we work with for the support.

Thursday 9 June 2016

West Division Chairperson in Fort Portal Municipality shares Division plans for 2016-2021

 ToroDev has secured free airtime for all the newly elected leaders in the seven (7) districts of Ruwenzori sub region to come on the 3 Fm radio stations we partner with to share with electorates the plans for the 5 years term 2016-2021. This is aimed at mobilizing leaders to share what they promised in the campaigns in their manifestos now that they have been sworn in and given offices.

On 5th June, 2016 during the ‘Listeners’’ forum’ program on Jubilee radio that is aired live every Sunday 8:00pm-10:00pm, Hon. Muhumuza Richard the newly elected LC 3 chairperson for West division in Fort Portal municipality was hosted in the studios of Jubilee Radio to give his people the plans he has for the division for the next 5 years (2016-2021);

‘’ As a leader, first and foremost I want to mobilize all workers’ in the division both politicians and technocrats/civil servants to build team work so that we can work together as a team not forgetting Local council four (Mayor) because where we fail the mayor and his council come in, work with the already existing engineers to construct first class tarmac road  that connects Rwengoma-water supply to the main road of municipality and funds have already been secured, Complete Kabundaire market road with first class Tarmac, sensitize our electorates/citizens on the importance of paying taxes because the funds we use result from tax payment, lobby for a vehicle that will work on reducing garbage especially in Rwengoma parish, plans to have alternative water sources to supplement NWSC are in place because our people suffer a lot when NWSC water is disconnected or when it goes off due to technical issues, working in partnership with wealth creation program to improve our plantations, not just keeping them clean but also improving on the maintenance to raise income for our families & securing areas for green belts with in specified parishes in the division’’

Callers participated in the program through call-ins and Sms platforms; ‘’ Garbage is a big issue in the division, the chairperson should be serious with it if we are to maintain our division clean’’, said Mr. Kulayisi Kuwalabye a caller from Rwengoma in Fort Portal municipality, ‘’ kindly bring all the elected leaders to hear from them the plans they have for our areas’’, said Micheal Kamara a caller from Busoro sub county in Kabarole district.

ToroDev is committed to keep the leaders accountable to their promises for the development of our communities.

We are grateful to all our partners; SIDA, NED, SPIDER, ICT 4DEM & WOUGNET for the technical and financial support. 

Tuesday 7 June 2016

ToroDev’s weekly radio program discussions sensitizing citizens

ToroDev in a way of advocating for improved service delivery and public accountability has continued sensitizing citizens through the weekly radio programs where leaders, both technical, politicians and citizens are always hosted live in studios on all the 3 radio stations we are working with as of todate.
On 21st May, 2016 during the ‘Orukurato’program that is aired live every Saturday 8:00pm-10:00pm on HITS Fm, a poll question; Have you ever been asked to pay a bribe to access services in a government health facility?  was discussed. Listeners participated through call-ins and Sms platform;
’We pay for services and the workers in our health facilities are rude and hash to patients’’, said Mr. Mugisa John a caller from Rwaitera in Kyenjojo district, ‘’They always ask for money that they want to buy cloves especially to the victims of accidents’’, said Ms Nyakaisiki Janerose a caller from Rurama in Kabarole district, ‘’I paid a bribe to extract a tooth of my child in a government health facility, people pay for services even when they are meant to be free’’, said Edith a caller from Kanara in Ntoroko district.

Related to the above, on 28th May, 2016 still on Hits Fm, listeners were asked; why are people staying quiet on corruption in their communities? Over 323 people responded through the use of social media platforms and the majority 42% said they keep quiet due to fear of what will happen next. Those who participated through call-ins said; ‘’those who support corruption have practiced it for long and have to some extent benefited from it’, said Teddy a caller from Katebwa in Kabarole district, ‘’the spirit of patriotism is lost and people have developed  I do not care attitude’’, said John Bright a caller from Bundibugyo district, ‘’Corrupt people are stronger than us and sometimes we do not have evidence to pin them on the act of corruption and also fear of what will happen next’’, said Omuhereza Katongole a caller from Kyegegwa district.

On Jubilee Radio during the ‘Listeners’ forum’ program the roles of local council councilors were articulated by Hon. Muntu Willy from Ntoroko district, Kenneth Murusura from Hakibale & Mr. Mukwano Ssenyonjo the chairperson of advocacy forums in Rwenzori region now that new councilors have been sworn in and taken offices. ‘’ Councilors derive their mandate from the Local government Act; they are mandated to cause  meetings in their communities to gather opinions of the citizens say at sub county level so that they are able to take the opinions to the district council for further discussion and approval, they are supposed to attend all council sessions but most of them promise things they cannot do for their communities like constructing roads, schools, etc when actually they do not have a budget they directly control to help them implement their promises’’, said Kenneth during the live discussion.  ‘’we have had tendencies of electing leaders who do not even know their roles/responsibilities which calls for regular sensitizations. LC 1’s for long have existed illegally and government supports them the wrong way because they are not constitutionally recognized. Councilors are supposed to monitor government programs/projects and also to attend council sessions. Let every leader play his/her roles well, then we shall develop our communities’’, said Hon. Muntu Willy, district councilor for Bweramule sub county in Ntoroko district. 

Mr. Mukonyezi Wilfred the moderator of 'Listeners Forum' program on Jubilee Radio
 Listeners participated in the live radio discussion that is aired every Sunday 8:00pm-10:00pm; ‘’A good councilor should first access the problems of his people he/she intends to represent, how can someone who has no O level certificate lead people has education lost meaning? Do we expect someone who has failed to swear an oath of office to debate in a council as required?’’, asked Joyce Kamara a caller from Kyegegwa district.

Meanwhile electoral reforms and post election messages developed through skits and live studio debates of influential people (citizens) have continued being played on KRC Radio to mobilize citizens to embrace peace in the region especially after elections. ‘’Manya Omwebembezi wawe’’ program on KRC Radio is aired live every Wednesday 8:00pm -10:00pm where listeners always participate in the discussion through call- inns and sms platforms.

Mr. Kaahwa Kansengerwa the moderator of 'Manya Omwebembezi Wawe' program on KRC radio
We are grateful to all our development partners for the financial and technical support.