Friday 21 October 2016

Parents, children & head teachers urged to work together to promote education

Parents, children & head teachers are called upon to support and promote education especially in this period when children will be doing UNEB exams. ‘’ Some parents are not bothered of their children’s education and do not care whether the child is set for UNEB exams or not yet as parents we are supposed to support the school administration to see that nothing interferes with the child in the period when he/she is being assessed. Head teachers who are denying children to seat their final exams are doing a wrong thing, they should let children seat for their exams and may be deny them their results if they owe the school some dues’’, said Mr. Manyindo Frank the head teacher Nyakasura school in Fort portal Kabarole district.

Children in a classroom in one of the schools in Kyenjojo district
Mr. Manyindo said this while appearing on ToroDev supported weekly program, ‘Orukurato’ that is aired live every Saturday 8:00pm-10:00pm on Hits Fm a local radio station in Fort Portal. The live radio discussion on 15th October, 2016 had the participation of Mr. Mugisha Willy the director of Rwimi Parents in Fort Portal & Mr. Mwesige Richard the head teacher of Mpumbu primary school.
The head teachers were sharing attributes as to why some private schools perform better than government aided schools (public) citing issues like motivation, environment, attitudes of teachers, children & parents, structures in form of enough class rooms, reading materials, lighting systems, etc. They called upon parents to play their roles if they are to improve their children’s education by not only living the task of learning to the teachers who may not play all the required roles.

The head teachers also shared views on the education policies in the country whether they favor the education system or retard looking at both primary and secondary levels. They said despite having a short term this year as a result of general elections in the country, as managers in schools they have tried to run the school programs as required and now they are ready for the final exams having gone through mocks which test the student’s ability to perform better in the final exams. ‘’We still have parents with negative attitude to education, they do not want to support their children by providing packed lunch, scholastic materials and to the worst they absent them to work in gardens which factors have become challenges towards attaining the education we want for our children’’, said Mr. Mwesige Richard the head teacher Mpumbu primary school.

Children at school during break time

‘’The money allocated in government schools is very little to run the school for a full term in addition to releasing it late. Government mobilized parents to take their children to school with a thinking that education is ‘free’ and this led to increased enrolments hence increased costs to run the school and also insufficient classrooms, desks, latrines, which have again led to dropouts. Parents financial help is required for it will help to improve the structures and other administrative costs incurred during the course of the school term’’, said Mr. Mugisha Willy the director Rwimi parents school.

During the 2 hours live discussion, listeners were given time to call in & send sms; ‘’Universal primary schools are faced with challenges of lack of enough classrooms, desks, latrines & lack of parents support, how shall we end such shortcomings?’’, asked Baguma Joseph a caller from Kisomoro in Kabarole district, ‘’inspectors & head teachers should improve the supervision of schools & teachers who are not serious when they are given a task to perform especially those in government schools and if they fail to abide, their pay should be reduced or not pay them totally’’, said David Mugenyi a caller from Kyenjojo district, ”why are school management committees (SMC) & parents teachers association (PTA) formed in schools and yet they do not do anything to improve the education standards in schools, they should be inducted on their roles and responsibilities in these schools to improve performance’’, said Bagonza Godfrey a caller from Kyegegwa district.

 We are grateful to SIDA, NED, SPIDER, ICT4DEM, CIPESA, HITS FM and all other development partners for the financial & technical support to keep the programs running.

GPS data locations showing the sub counties & schools visited during the baseline survey

A team from ToroDev together with the area inspector of schools Kyenjojo Madam Stella had a two days field visit in the sub counties of Bufunjo & Nyankwanzi in Kyenjojo district to asses the challenges affecting education in the district. The survey was aimed at  finding out what is happening in these schools and how the situation can be improved especially supporting the induction of School Management Committees (SMC's) & Parents Teachers Association (PTA's) to play their role of managing the schools to improve performance of children in these schools.

 A number of challenges were identified; SMC's & PTA's are not aware of their roles, infrastructure is a very big challenge, teacher:pupil ratio, insufficient classrooms, lack of enough desks, sharing of latrine with teachers,etc ToroDev will conduct the training of SMC's & PTA's as a ground for improving the performance and also reducing some of the mentioned ailments above (Refer to our earlier article on this blog),

Below is a map showing GPS data locations of the visited sub counties & schools in Kyenjojo district;

Tuesday 18 October 2016

The role of information in accelerating accountability, service delivery,& quality resource allocation.

In Uganda the information Act empowers people to access information and can disseminate it provided it does not infringe with the law of the country. Most people do not have the habit of reading which makes them become uninformed and the fact that ‘information is power’, one may not articulate well any issue without clear information. Our people should be encouraged to read and access available information in order to contribute to improving service delivery, accountability, quality resource allocation, etc. These and more were words from Steven Ainganiza the Kabarole district information officer while discussing on the Access to information Act on 12th October, 2016 during ToroDev’s weekly program ‘Manya Ekiragiro Kyawe’ that is aired live every Wednesday 8:00-10:00pm on KRC Fm, in fort portal.

‘’There are many avenues of accessing information i.e. district notice boards, sub county notice boards, internet, newspapers, radios, televisions, etc but some people do not care even when the information available is a public concern’’, said Steven Ainganiza the Kabarole district information officer.

Accessing information helps one to understand what is planned, how it is planned and the costs involved in the planning which information can be used while demanding for accountability especially from duty bearers. For example one may not know what is budgeted for under the health sector in his or her district without attending a district budget conference, listening to the news or getting information through other available avenues. Every sector be ministry or department in the district is supposed to show clearly the information of the department expenditures especially on financial matters but in most cases the information is never made available for public access or even when it is made available very few can take interest to access and follow it. Our people need to be encouraged regularly to develop positive attitude towards information access if we are to demand for accountability and improve the state of service delivery in the district, country & the world.
Every sector is supposed to show the money they always get and the expenditure of that money this helps people to account for the money they always allocate in different sectors but still few people look for information apart from the journalists and this has affected accountability and resource allocation.

During the 2 hours live radio discussion,Listeners were given chance to participate in the live talk show through call-ins & Sms; ’why can’t the district & sub counties have updated & regular information on their notice boards it is surprising some local government offices do not have these notice boards then how can the public access information? Asked Beatrice Makune a caller from Kyegegwa district,  ‘’local government offices are still weak in availing information to the public especially on what has been done, allocations in that sub county, purpose and what is proposed to be done yet it is something vital’’ said Frank Manyindo a caller from Kisomoro sub county in Kabarole district.

We are grateful to SIDA, NED, SPIDER, ICT4DEM, CIPESA & all other development partners for the financial & technical support

Monday 17 October 2016

ToroDev’s UPE schools Baseline survey from Kyenjojo district reveals gaps in education sector

 ToroDev in her pursue to improve the education standards in Rwenzori sub region is planning to train newly elected school management committees in the four (4) districts of Rwenzori sub region that include Kabarole, Kyenjojo, Kyegegwa & Ntoroko with first priority put on worst performing sub counties most of them from hard to reach areas. School management committee is a body that is in place under the second schedule of the Education Act 2008 section 58, 59 which spells out that every school whether government or private shall be governed by the School management committee. This body is approved by the District Education Officer in consultation with district councils standing committee responsible for education on behalf of the district council.

ToroDev's M&E officer Amanya Shiela with a class teacher at Rwensambya primary school

The school management committee is made up of twelve members, six members including the chairperson are nominated by the foundation body and two of them must be women. There is one local government representative who is nominated by the district standing committee in charge of education, a representative of the local council executive committee & a representative of parents of the school supposed to be elected through the assembly of old boys /girls or by the association of former students.
It is mandatory that every School Management Committee should meet at least once a term & this committee is mandated to manage the school.

ToroDev team, area inspector of schools Kyenjojo and some teachers during the field visit
In the next five years ToroDev will be focusing mainly in three core sectors; Education, Health and Economic development. As a way of working closely with the education departments in the 4 sampled districts of Kabarole, Kyenjojo, Kyegegwa and Ntoroko, ToroDev has had several engagements and consultations with the education team including DEO’s, inspectors of schools, secretaries of education at the district council in these districts to discuss challenges affecting the education sector in their districts and the main challenge identified was to train school management committees so that they are equipped to do their governance roles & deal with some of the challenges affecting their schools since many new members had been brought on board as members of these committees.

ToroDev team together with the area inspector of schools have gone ahead to conduct a baseline study on the current state of the schools in Bufunjo & Nyankwanzi sub counties in Kyenjojo district. The sampled schools where the training will be done are twenty five (25) and the baseline survey was done in 10 schools. The issues collected will represent the situation in all the 25 schools. The survey findings indicate that; school management committees are not doing their roles, pupils dropping out of schools, issues of enrolment, retention & completion, PTA is not supporting the schools, infrastructure in form of class rooms, libraries& latrines are still a big challenge, congestion of pupils in class & desks i.e. pupil desk ratio was at 1:6 in some schools conflicting with 1:3 minimum standards of education under the ministry of education in Uganda. Some teachers refuse to report where they have been posted due to lack of accommodation in these schools and long distances from a near by trading centre to the school combined with the nature of transport & roads in the area, lack of lunch for pupils making them go hungry the whole day hence affecting their learning, lack of safe & clean water, interalia. 
state of some classrooms from the visited schools

 The training is aimed at providing capacity building and training of 600 School Management Committees, so as to help them become collaborative, support systems for improving learning amongst students. The training sessions will be organized to transfer knowledge to SMC members in matters of UPE policy, using ICT to advocate, inspections, capitation grant procedures, etc.
The orientation & training will also involve a discussion and action points on ways of retaining the female learners in UPE schools and reducing the annual drop-out by at least 20%.  The facilitators will further look at orientating & training of focal senior women both at SMCs and School staff levels.

The training will aim at strengthening 144 SMCs from the 12 sampled poor performing schools in the four districts and providing them with knowledge on their roles and responsibilities as managers of schools. The training will further equip all head teachers with customer care techniques on how to work with School Management Committees in schools and also explain  in  details  the  mandate  of  School  Management  Committees  in schools and what is expected of them. Training will be facilitated by the team from the District education department who are more knowledgeable and experienced in education matters and is scheduled for the last week of October 22016.

We are much humbled by the financial & technical support from SIDA, NED, SPIDER, CIPESA, ICT4DEM & all other development partners as we aim to offer a hand to improve the education standards in our country.

Tuesday 11 October 2016

Ntoroko district chairperson to improve and support vocational education to solve unemployment among the youth.

The district chairperson Hon.Timothy Kyamanywa has called upon parents to play their roles if they want to improve the education system in the District. Hon. Kyamanywa was speaking live on ToroDev supported ‘Listeners forum’ program that is aired live every Wednesday 8:00pm-10:00pm on Jubilee radio a local Fm station in Fort Portal, Kabarole district.  

Hon. Kyamanywa said that as a district council, a number of service delivery interventions have been done including; constructing  staff quarters for teachers in some schools in the district to reduce the problem of teachers absenteeism and late coming and in the long run improving performance in these schools. The chairperson said they lobbied for over 80 million shillings from save the children which funds have been used to renovate Rwebisengo Health centre 111 and also constructed a water system at Karugutu health centre 111 to improve hygiene and sanitation at the health center.

Hon. Kyamanywa Timothy district chairperson Ntoroko
While sharing his plans for the 5 years term 2016-2021 Hon. Kyamanywa said together with lobbying from the area members of parliament we are working to elevate Karugutu health centre 111 to a district hospital status where we shall have an operating theatre to help people that need operations especially women, empower sub county chiefs to monitor the work of health workers,  buying a vehicle & motorcycles for inspector of schools to help them in their monitoring role, we are working in partnership with Save the children to construct Kanara technical school for skills development, constructing Bweramule-Kibuku-Rwebisengo road and lobbying KAYIPU 4 to construct Budiba- Kibuku road. On electricity, the chairperson pledged to connect all trading centers in the district so that people can start up businesses to increase their incomes, we are working closely with WASH program to improve hygiene and sanitation in the district. ‘’We need to work as a team because when we work in isolation our efforts may not be realized/visible’’, said Hon. Kyamanywa Timothy the district chairperson Ntoroko.

The two hours live talk show was joined by listeners through call-inns & Sms; ‘’school management committees are not in existence and to some extent this has affected the education sector because there is a gap in what they are supposed to do, can the Chairman & the District Education Officer look into that issue’’, said Hon. Muntu Willy a caller from Ntoroko district, ‘’our roads are in bad conditions let the chairperson work on them to ease transportation of people & goods’’, said Mr. Musemeza a caller from Kasungu in Ntoroko district, ‘’we need our leaders to give regular accountability on the grants they get from central government that is meant to improve service delivery in the district’’, said Mr. Muhirwa a caller from Rwangara in Ntoroko district.

We are honored by the financial & technical support from all our development partners; SIDA, NED, SPIDER, ICT4DEM, CIPESA & JUBLIEE RADIO for keeping service delivery issues aired live in the region.

Tuesday 4 October 2016

Rural Radio Magazine increasing participation of marginalized groups in hard to reach communities

Rural radio magazine came in after realizing that very few women & youth were participating in live radio talk shows. ToroDev in partnership with Jubilee radio for a long time has done tremendous work in reaching the communities to collect the views and opinions on the state of public service delivery issues especially on education, health & economic sustainability in a way of making the said marginalized groups participate in the affairs of the state of governance issues & also reach duty bearers to seek their responses.

On 27th September,2016 Mr. Mukonyezi Wilfred the moderator of ‘Listeners forum’ program on Jubilee radio travelled to Kihoiga & Rwabaganda villages in Hima parish Bugaki sub county in Kyenjojo district where he met 25 women & 10 youths. The focus is on this group of people because the weekly live radio talk shows are always done during night where the said category of people are unable to participate due to a number of factors hence need to find them from their communities to share with us what is on ground and how they hope things should be run by their elected leaders/duty bearers.

Some community members from Kihoiga village during the Rural Radio Magazine
During the rural radio magazine field, it was discovered that the sub county does not have a government aided secondary school as it is the requirement by the ministry of education and sports to have a secondary school in every sub county making children walk long distances to access education. ‘’Our children walk over 10 kilometers in order to access education and this affects their performance because they leave home early and come back late & very tired, they sometimes fail to read their books, we request government to construct a secondary school with in our sub county and also build a technical school that will offer vocational studies to our children in order for them to acquire skills on a number of things hence fighting unemployment by starting their own businesses & improving their incomes’’, said Ms Keneema Sarah during the rural radio magazine field in Bugaki sub county.

Under the health sector, the sub county has no health centre 111 as required by the ministry of health and the health centre 11 is not fully furnished. ‘’we have only one health centre 11 in the sub county and people walk long distances to access services, this affects women more especially pregnant mothers and it becomes worse when we reach the health centre for antenatal services and the heath workers are not available or drugs are not there, we appeal to government to construct a health centre 111 and also avail required drugs in health centre 11’s in order to improve the health standards in our sub county’’, said Rehema Blick a community member in Kihoiga village.

Community members from Kihoiga & Kyabaganda villages during the Rural Radio Magazine in Bugaki sub county
‘’Our area still luck safe & clean water and yet we elect leaders, water borne diseases are affecting us because health workers and our leaders have not paid attention to these issues, we request our leaders to act and play their roles other than just sitting in their offices when people are suffering’’, said Rose Kwikiriza a community member during the rural radio magazine.
‘’The roads are in bad condition because of the lorries from the tea company which makes them impassable especially during rainy season, expectant mothers suffer before accessing the health centres and also marketing of our produce is affected’’, said Fredrick Said from Hima Parish in Bugaki sub-county.

''we call upon our leaders to mobilize people to participate in government programs of wealth creation, support community based savings & credit especially for women and youth so that we are able to work and improve our house hold incomes and also request government to reduce taxes we pay for our small businesses if we are to develop economically’’, said Rose Mary Mugisa from Hima parish during the rural radio magazine.

The issues collected from the field are always amplified live on ToroDev’s ‘Listeners forum’ program that is aired live every Sunday 8:00pm-10:00pm where listeners participate by calling in & sending Sms to contribute to the talk show/debate and this is aimed at calling the attention of the leaders to react on the said issues.

We take this great opportunity to thank all our partners; NED, SIDA, SPIDER, ICT4DEM, CIPESA & Jubilee radio for keeping our people active and participating in development programs of their communities.

The Minister of Defence and Veterans Affairs has urged Health Management Committees to do their roles right if we are to improve the image of health centers

Hon. Adolf Mwesige the Minister of Defence & Veterans Affairs who is also a Member of Parliament for Bunyangabu county in Kabarole district has called for all people responsible for different roles to perform them if we are to develop together. Hon. Adolf was speaking live on ToroDev supported ‘Orukurato’ program that is aired live every Saturday 8:00-10:00pm on HITS Fm a local radio station in Kabarole district. The minister said Health Management Committees have not played their part well of monitoring and recording drugs received in health centres that is why we get challenges of lack of drugs because sometimes the drugs are sold by the people who work in these health centers. 

The minister said leaders cannot do all the roles alone and called for a collective effort to manage the issues surrounding our communities. ‘’if I have lobbied for drugs, let the health management committees do the recording of received drugs & do the monitoring of these drugs, these are their health centres and I expect them to do their roles as required’’, said Hon. Adolf Mwesige.

The minister said he lobbied for over 10 billion shillings under KAYIPU 3 project where roads in the sub counties of Kisomoro, Kabonero, Kicwamba, Rutete were opened and plans of murruming them are set, and has lobbied for KAYIPU 4 where we expect roads from other sub counties in the district to be worked on including Buhesi , Harugongo & other many sub counties. With lobbying from Uganda Electricity Distribution Company Limited (UEDCL) Nsura, Kyamukube,Mujunju, Lyamabwa are now connected to electricity, we visited Kisomoro health centre 111 and found that they had no mattresses and I lobbied from my China’s friends and got the mattresses for the health centre, we have supplied irrigation pumps to farmers & given them animals to improve their house hold incomes.

Hon. Adolf Mwesige Minister of Defence & Veterans Affairs & Member of Parliament Bunyangabu County
During the 2 hours live talk show, the minister shared his plans for the 5 years term (2016-2021) that included; partnership with National Water & Sewarage Cooperation to extend safe & clean water to Buhesi, Rwimi Sub county & Rwimi town council to supplement the gravity flow scheme in order to improve hygiene & sanitation in the constituency, extending electricity to Kabata, Kyatwa, Kabonero, Lyamabwa, Kahondo & some parts of Rwimi, we shall strengthen the health management committees to do their roles and deal with people who sale government drugs so that we can have stockout in our health centers for people to access drugs whenever they visit these health centres, work with the office of the Chief Administrative Officer to order sub county chiefs to visit the health centers and also monitor all issues concerning the health centers regularly, we shall build a secondary school in Kiyombya sub county for our children to access education and also solve the problem of walking long distances in accessing education & also support Kisomoro Technical school for our children to access hands on skills training, mobilizing people to support  government program of operation wealth creation to access quality seeds & animals hence improving their incomes and also follow & support veterans to access their gratuity & other benefits from government. We have held & shall continue holding meetings with all leaders in the constituency to end the conflicts that had erupted since we know the basis for their existence now so that people are mobilized to work hard for development.

The minister called for cooperation as he implements his pledges and requested inspectors of schools parents, teachers & all people to play their roles right. He advised citizens to engage duty bearers into developmental issues by demanding for accountability and if there is nothing to account for in 5 years then the person can be voted out and be replaced by another capable leader.

Listeners were given chance to participate in the live talkshow through call-ins & Sms; ‘’we still have schools with no enough classroom blocks and our children are congested with limited desks in classrooms, what is the minister’s  comment on that?’’, asked Margret a caller from Bunyangabu, ‘’some health centres have no access to electricity & this puts the lives of patients especially pregnant mothers at risk when it is night time something that stresses the health workers too, can the minister comment on that’’, said Harriet Twinebyona a caller from Kabarole district, ‘’we need to know more on the new government program of operation wealth creation since it leads to economic sustainability, can the minister talk about it?’’, asked Paul  Mujuni a caller from Rwimi.

We are grateful to SIDA, NED, SPIDER, ICT4DEM, CIPESA & all other development partners for the financial & technical support.

Monday 3 October 2016

Burahya county Member of Parliament has urged fellow M.P’s to take an extra step from their core roles if development in the constituencies is to be realized

Hon. Margret Mugisa Muhanga the Burahya county member of parliament  while appearing live on ToroDev weekly supported  talkshow “Orukurato” on 24th September,2016 said time for campaigns is over and now it is time to improve service delivery for our people. The 2 hours weekly program is hosted by Hits Fm from 8:00- 10:00pm every Saturday and different duty bearers at all levels are invited to share their plans and also give accountability for what has been done from their different offices.

Hon. Margret said the four (4) months so far spent in parliament, we have had a meeting involving all local council three chairpersons, NRM sub county chairpersons, sub county councilors in the whole constituency to know where we are and where we want to be & in this very meeting we have agreed to meet quarterly to track progress & also advise each other on how to handle certain development issues,  we have had a Burahya constituency health assembly involving all leaders, health workers from Burahya  & some technical personnel in the district where we have shared challenges in the health sector, drug stock out & tasking technical people to explain why our health centers are not functioning to their expectations, Hon. Margret has  managed to lobby for the connection of Kazingo health centre IV with electricity and now health workers are doing their work well, ‘’I have talked to friend from Sweden and they have promised to give us health machines for diagnosis & beds for all the health centers in Burahya, lobbed for 80 million shillings from Micro support centre to Harugongo Sacco for members to use to develop themselves and it is interest free and  also secured a water project for Rwengaju model parish in Busoro sub county worth 27 billion shillings under presidential pledge’’, said Hon. Margret Mugisa Muhanga.

Hon. Margret Mugisa Muhanga Member of Parliament Burahya County Kabarole District

While sharing her plans in her 5 years term of office (2016-2021), Hon. Margret pledged to lobby for water connection in the town councils of; Kiko, Mugusu,Karago& Kijura , extending National Water & Sewarage Cooperation grid to the people of Busoro Sub county, She has started talks with the ministry of education to construct secondary schools where they are lacking like Kabende sub county, Kijura town council, Kasenda sub county, Kiko town council, Mugusu town council & Bukuku town council following up a government plan to have a secondary school in every Sub county, lobby for the construction of Bukuuku sub county headquarters, lobby for the up-grading of Kicwamba technical college to a college of technology  and on this we have started with infrastructure development, we shall talk to government to take it up so that different courses & awards can be offered for our people to have skills and employment,  I have already talked to a Germany Agency ( WEPATIA FOUNDATION) & we plan to construct a school for the needy children in Kyakaigo parish-Harugongo Sub county, under the same foundation, our talented youth will be taken to Germany to share with the experienced Foot ball academies in Germany and those who want to take it as a profession can be mentored to per sue their ambitions , this is aimed at developing talents in our youth, we are organizing exposure visits for our leaders so that they can share with other well performing areas something that can help them borrow some knowledge and skills to improve their ways of work aimed at providing better services to our people, I have pledged to mobilize the youth and talk to them on how to make money to improve their house hold income. Hon. Margret  promised to work with other leaders for the development of her constituency and also making a comprehensive accountability for the people of Burahya after 6 months.

’ if we just did our core roles of representation, legislation, appropriation & oversight roles, development may not be realized hence need to take an extra step in our roles to change the state of service delivery in our constituents’’, said Hon. Margret Mugisa Muhanga.

During the 2 hours discussion, listeners participated through call –inn & Sms; ‘’ why can’t M.P’s lobby for increased salary of teachers other than planning for themselves to buy expensive vehicles worth 200 million?’’, asked Margret  a caller from Mugusu in Kabarole district, ‘’Can the members of parliament lobby to end corruption in courts of law/judiciary?’’, asked Patrick Byaruhanga a caller from Kyegegwa district, ‘’ how come the things supplied through wealth creation program are benefitting the rich other than the intended poor beneficiaries?’’, asked Kusasira a caller from Nyabweya in Kabarole district.

We are grateful to SIDA, NED, SPIDER, ICT4DEM, CIPESA & all other development partners for the financial and technical support to continue running these programs.