Friday, 30 November 2012

Rwenzori journalists trained in mentorship to improve public accountability broadcasting.

Thirty one radio journalists from the Rwenzori Region based FM radio stations have been trained in mentorship so as to improve broadcasting for public accountability. The three days residential training held between 26th to 28th November, 2012 attracted journalists from Better FM, Voice of Toro (VOB), Gold FM, Life FM and Hits FM in Fort Portal, Guide FM and Messiah FM in Kasese, Voice of Bundibugyo (VOB) and Bundibugyo FM in Bundibugyo district and Kyenjojo Development Radio (KDR) and Kyenjojo FM in Kyenjojo district.

The training which was organized by Toro Development Network (ToroDev) in partnership with Rwenzori Journalist Forum (RJF) was facilitated by Lucy Ekadu from Uganda Journalist Union, Henry Tumwine from Uganda Pentecostal University and John Matovu from PANOS Estern Africa.

John Matovu of PANOS training radio staff in mentorship
The mentorship training was intended to identify challenges and good practices among radio staff through sharing experiences on public accountability broadcasting for learning purposes, to improve mentorship skills of radio journalists and to strengthen journalist forums for improved advocacy on public accountability and service delivery broadcasting.

The participants who included news editors, program directors and public accountability program moderators were encouraged to use the skills to mentor their junior staff so as to improve public accountability broadcasting.

ToroDev in partnership with RJF will encourage mentors to submit monthly reports sharing their experiences regarding activities, challenges, success stories on public accountability broadcasting. Their experiences will be shared on  to enable improved advocacy and learning. In addition, RJF and ToroDev will also conduct media conferences, field tours and exchange visits all aimed at sharing knowledge and empowering radio journalists on public accountability broadcasting.

The mentorship program will help improve participation of rural people in government planning and budgetary processes, monitoring service delivery, demanding accountability because the radio journalists have been empowered with skills to mainstream the voices of multiple stakeholders including the civil society, rural youth and women in governance processes.
ToroDev focused on empowering radio journalists in public accountability broadcasting because FM radio fits well with the lifestyle of many rural people in the Rwenzori Region, Western Uganda since it can easily broadcast in many local languages, people can listen to it while walking or working. Radio is also a popular media channel accessed by over 90 percent of the rural people.
The mentorship training follows another training earlier this year on public accountability broadcasting

Monday, 26 November 2012

New radio advert to improve women participation in governance.

A new radio advert encouraging women participation in governance has started running on HITS FM in Fort Portal. The advert will be running everyday for 2 months and ToroDev hopes the message in the advert will improve women participation in public accountability radio programs, service delivery monitoring in their local areas, participation of women in local government budgetary and planning processes, etc.

The advert which runs a minimum of five times a day calls for improved women participation in demanding accountability from their local leaders, monitoring service delivery since they are the most affected when government services like roads, health services, improved water are not fully provided due to corruption by leaders.

ToroDev Staff  (Left) with HITS FM producer, DJ Mingo making the advert
This follows continued minimal participation of women in governance especially in the rural areas of Uganda like the Rwenzori Region, Western Uganda. ToroDev has been struggling to improve women participation on its public accountability live radio talkshows on Better FM and HITS FM in Fort Portal despite being given first priority on all the live talkshows and transport support to participate on public accountability radio programs. 

Women continue to play a minimal role in governance like participation local government budgetary and planning processes, monitoring service delivery and demanding accountability from their leaders despite a number of initiatives like affirmative actions by the government of Uganda and civil society organisations to improve their participation in governance.

In the implementation of its service delivery monitoring and public accountability programs, ToroDev’s primary stakeholders are the marginalized population groups of women and youth because ToroDev understands that without them, development can never fully be realized.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Ntoroko and Kicwamba advocacy forums hold service delivery monitoring and accountability workshops.

Kicwamba Forum for Development and Service Delivery Advocacy Group located in Kabarole District and Ntoroko Concerned Citizens advocacy forum held knowledge sharing workshops on service delivery monitoring and accountability in their respective areas on 15th and 16th November, 2012. The knowledge sharing workshops attracted local leaders from Kicwamba and Kanara Sub Counties in Kabarole and Ntoroko districts respectively to give accountability.

Chairperson of Kicwamba S/C giving accountability.
In Kicwamba, the meeting was held at the Sub County Headquarters and attracted the area sub county chairperson, the Community Development Officer, the Chairperson of the water board, the sub county speaker, the sub county production secretary and the area district councilor among others. The local leaders gave accountability and sensitized the participants on the roles and mandates of their offices. The issues raised included ensuring transparency in the procurement process in the NAADS program in the sub county to avoid provision of substandard crop and animal varieties to the local farmers, improved monitoring of the health center III staff to avoid absenteeism and late reporting and improved information access by local citizens especially as regards information on road contracts to ensure improved monitoring.

In Kanara Sub County, the knowledge sharing workshop attracted the area sub county chairperson, the sub county speaker, the fisheries officer, the chairperson of the Rwebisengo landing site, the education inspector, the District Internal Security Officer for Kanara Sub County and the local councilors.

The issues raised included transparency in revenue collection in the fisheries department, repair of the Rwangara – Rwebisengo road which is in a bad state, improved support for Rwangara Health Center II especially with malaria drugs, construction of more health centers in the sub county to meet the increasing demand for health services by the increasing population, improved information access by the local people from the local leaders for improved monitoring of government services and extension of safe clean water to the sub county among others.

Assistant DISO Kanara Sub County Stressing a point.
During the meeting the District Internal Security Officer for Kanara Sub County expressed interest to be a member of ToroDev to scale ToroDev efforts in ensuring improved monitoring of service delivery in the sub county. Previously, ToroDev faced threats from security agents especially in Kabarole districts for hosting members of one of the advocacy forums to demand accountability on the “Listener’s Forum” radio talkshow on Better

During the knowledge sharing public accountability forums, ToroDev staff empowered the participants with knowledge and skills in monitoring service delivery, demanding accountability, rights to information access and broadcasting for improved public accountability. A founder member of the Mugusu Forum Development, Mukwano Ssenyonjo who heads one of the model advocacy forums attended the two meetings and made presentations to share knowledge and skills in service delivery monitoring and accountability with the two advocacy forums.

ToroDev supported the initiation of the above advocacy forums and is continuing to support the initiation of other advocacy forums in the Rwenzori Region districts through trainings and support to service delivery monitoring. ToroDev is currently involved in the strengthening of the advocacy forums through training of its members in online advocacy tools in all the seven districts of the Rwenzori Region.