Monday, 24 June 2013

Local Citizens discuss the state of roads and education sectors in Kyenjojo District on radio.

Local citizens from Katooke Sub County, Kyenjojo District held a live radio discussion on Better FM on 9th June 2013, highlighting their priority service delivery issues especially the deteriorating education sector and roads. The live radio program which discusses issues of accountability is held every Sunday (08:00 – 10:00pm) on Better FM, Fort Portal is called the ‘Listener’s Forum’ and is supported by ToroDev. The program moderator is Mukonyezi Wilfred.

The panelists on the talkshow were Muzoora Godwin and Hafusimana William who are members of Katooke Advocacy Forum – a rural advocacy forum operating in Katooke Sub County, Kyenjojo District whose initiation was supported by ToroDev. Listeners also participated using call-ins, SMS and the listeners forum facebook page.

One of the Classroom at Rubango Primary School
The panelists and listeners advocated for increased government support to Rubango Primary School which holds a total number of over 150 (one hundred and fifty) students with only six teachers and one toilet that was constructed by parents and is being used by both the teachers and the pupils. The school also has inadequate classroom blocks that are in a poor state.

“The performance of the school has totally declined because of the poor conditions in the school. Government has to allocate more funds and staff in the school to save the situation.” Said Muzoora Godwin, the Chairman of Katooke People’s Forum in Katooke Sub County, Kyenjojo District.

Members of Katooke Advocacy Forum also used the discussion to talk about the shoddy work that was done at Rubango Primary school. There was 5million that was allocated to the school for the construction of a new toilet. However, a substandard tenderer was used by the corrupt local officials who wanted to use some of the money for their own mutual needs, and the constructed toilet collapsed even before the pupils used it. “We are following up the people who were responsible for the construction of this toilet. We need accountability about how the funds were used, and the tender has to be cancelled so that the latrine is rebuilt.” Said Muzoora Godwin, the Chairman of Katooke People’s Forum in Katooke Sub County, Kyenjojo District.

Poorly constructed Toilet at Rubango Primary School
The rural monitors also raised the issue of the poor road that leads to Rubango Primary school. The road is swampy and becomes impassable during the rainy season.  The road has not been graded for the past fifteen years (15), and is only being maintained by the local community. “We are concerned about the poor state of the road which passes through a swamp and becomes floody in the rainy season. This road also attracts dangerous animals like snakes if not maintained well by cutting the bushes around it. We are appealing to the concerned local leaders to save the situation since this road leads to many places like Rubango Primary School and other five villages thus it is being used by many people.”

The local people also participated through call-ins and SMS and appreciated the work of the rural monitors and rural advocacy forum clubs in ensuring accountability and service delivery monitoring, “Am very happy about the work that the rural monitors are doing to follow up the poor services in our Sub County and share them on radio. This will help us in a way that all our local leaders will get to know about our sufferings and intervene to rescue the situation.” Said Byakagamba Francis from Mukunyu Trading Center in Kyenjojo District.

Documented by Kogere Rachael 

Monday, 17 June 2013

Kicwamba Sub County facing a problem of poor roads

People of Kicwamba Sub County, Kabarole district are still facing a problem of poor roads that is hindering transportation of products to markets in the sub county despite continuous engagements on the issues by the local citizens to the local leaders. The poor roads remain a challenge to the local people in marketing their agricultural products. Markets are down due to the high transport charges imposed on transporting the goods to the markets in the impassable roads that are full of potholes and mud.

ToroDev vehicle struggling to pass through Kicwamba road
Members of Kicwamba Forum for Development and Service Delivery have tried to approach the concerned leaders like the Chair Person LCIII and raised the issue but there has not been any intervention.

They also hosted the Chair Person LCIII, Mr. Businge Charles on Better FM on 30th May 2013 to clarify on the poor state of the roads. The LCIII promised that he was going to work on the roads but nothing has been done yet.

“As rural monitors, we have tried to approach our leaders and raise issues about the poor roads in our sub county. We have also invited the Chairperson LCIII Mr Businge Charles on Better FM to give accountability to the people and also explain to the people why the roads are not attended to. He promised that the roads would be worked upon but all has been in vain”, Says Rwaheru Gilbert, the Chair Person of Kicwamba Forum for Development and Service Delivery.

However, members of the rural advocacy forum are still following up the leaders to work on the roads so that the hiked transport charges can go back down and people can freely market their products and hence improve on their livelihoods. “As rural monitors, we are determined to monitor our leaders and demand for better services for our people. We are not giving up on approaching leaders to work on the roads on radio programs, social media and meetings.” Said Rwaheru Gilbert, the Chairman of Kicwamba Forum for Development and Service Delivery. 

Documented by Kogere Recheal

Friday, 14 June 2013

Computer strengthens accountability and service delivery monitoring in Kyegegwa District.

Rural monitors in Kyegegwa district have strengthened their accountability and service delivery monitoring activities in Mpara Sub County, Kyegegwa District through more documentation and sharing of service delivery and accountability issues affecting their sub county using computer technologies, “as a Forum Group, we have improved our advocacy skills through sharing our service delivery issues with other members in the Rwenzori Region. The lap top has also helped us to document in an organized way issues affecting the community and send them to the concerned leaders.” Says Musana James, the Chairperson of Citizens in Action for Development Forum in Mpara Sub County, Kyegegwa District.

L-R: Musana receiving  a computer fromToroDev staff
Citizens in Action for Development Forum is a rural advocacy forum initiated by rural monitors In Mpara Sub County with support from ToroDev to monitor service delivery, demand accountability and improve the participation of local citizens in governance.
In May 2013, ToroDev with support from SPIDER gave the advocacy forum a computer to strengthen it advocacy activities in service delivery monitoring and accountability

In addition to monitoring service delivery, the computer has also helped local citizens in the sub county get computer skills and skills in documentation for advocacy, “The laptop has helped us to share computer skills with other rural monitors who do not have computer knowledge. We have also shared skills of using different web tools like Ushahidi, twitter and face book, and as I talk, six people are using the laptop to document stories that they get from monitoring service delivery by our local leaders.” Says Kagama Wilson, a member of Citizens in Action for Development Forum in Mpara Sub County, Kyegegwa District.

To scale up their advocacy campaigns in service delivery monitoring and accountability, local citizens are also using the computer to document and share their stories with local journalists for broadcasting on FM radio “We have been able to share our information with the local journalists and this has improved our advocacy. This has also improved our image as rural monitors as the rest of the world gets to know about the services that we are sacrificing to serve the community.” Says Twine Godfrey, a member of Citizens in Action Development Forum in Mpara Sub County, Kyegegwa District.

Documented by Kogere Rachael  

‘Orukurato’ analyzes President Museveni 2013 ‘State of Nation Address’

On June 8th, 2013 the ‘orukurato’ analyzed President Yoweri Museveni state of the Nation address focusing  on the major policy and governance issues which can ensure improved livelihoods for the local citizens. The Orukurato live talkshow held every Saturday (08:00 – 10:00pm) on HITS FM, Fort Portal and broadcasts issues of accountability is supported by ToroDev.

The program which is moderated by Gonza William, hosted Mr. Johnson Musana (Advocate of the High Court & FDC Chairman, Kabarole), Mr. John Byabazaire (Citizen/Businessman in Fort Portal), Mr. Gowan Yakubu (Lawyer & NRM PRO, Kabarole) and Johnstone Baguma Kumaraki (ToroDev).

Mr. Musana expressed dismay that, the president avoided, talking about real issues affecting the local citizens. He also said that the president also avoided speaking about the security thread of the country, including the current intrigue in the UPDF. Mr. Musana said that corruption was still a threat in Uganda and that the president chose not to speak in detail how his government is handling the scourge that is taking away 500 -700 Billion Shillings every year.

Mr. Byabazaire on the other hand, expressed dissatisfaction that the president has not accounted for the 10 trillion the parliament gave his government last year in budget. He said people in agriculture were still stranded without serious help and no market for their produce. He said programs like UPE and NAADS were becoming useless and that the next budget should focus on how to improve them.

Mr. Gowan Yakub said that the president has a mandate to address the nation at the close of every financial year and that that duty is given to him by the constitution of Uganda. He must account for the nation. He said however, that the president has a choice to speak about the issues that he feels are important to the nation to hear, as his wisdom directs him.

Mr. Baguma on the other hand, appreciated the governments increased investment in energy and infrastructure sectors and ensuring peace and security which are critical areas necessary for the growth and development of the country.

Baguma appealed for more reforms in certain government projects like the Students’ Loan scheme for tertiary education since it will be hard to pay the loans back since unemployment rates are hight in Uganda with statistics showing that 40,000 graduates every year and only 8,000 get employed. He also appealed to the president to reform the government Sponsorship and State House Scholarship Scheme to cater for the poor students since most of the beneficiaries are from the well-to-do families who study in prestigious schools like St. Mary’s Kisubi College, Kings College Buddo, ST. Mary’s Namagunga, St. Mary’s Kitende, etc.

On Agriculture, Baguma said that Uganda is still under average in budgetary allocations to the sector. It is allocated less than 5% yet 80% of Ugandans depend on the sector. He also said the Maputo Declaration urges African governments to allocate 15% to annual budgets to Agriculture sector development. Lastly, Mr. Baguma agreed with Mr. Musana that the president did not thoroughly address the problem of corruption in his speech.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Radio programs improve service delivery in Kabarole District.

Accountability radio talkshows supported by ToroDev on Better and HITS FM Radio stations have improved service delivery especially in agricultural sector development and policy in Kicwamba Sub County, Kabarole District. The two live radio talkshows are broadcasted on HITS and Better FM every Saturday and Sunday for two hours.  

During their participation on the live radio discussions since January 2013 by ‘rural monitors’ and local citizens from Kicwamba Sub County organized under their local rural advocacy forum called Kicwamba Forum for Development and Service Delivery Advocacy Forum, they have lobbied for better service delivery. “We lobbied for better services for the NAADS program from our leaders through the radio programs and the accountability workshops and later, goats, banana seedlings and coffee seedlings were delivered to the people.” Says Rwaheru Gilbert, the Chairman of Kicwamba Forum for Development and Service Delivery Advocacy Forum.
During the live radio discussions, panelists also advocated for increased budget allocations to the agricultural sector and improving the quality of seeds and animal breeds supplied to the rural farmers.

During the call-ins and SMS discussions from the local participants on the radio talkshows, it was also proposed by the talkshow listeners that a meeting be held to enable more engagement between the local leaders and local citizens to improve service delivery which was held in May, 2013. The meeting was attended by local leaders and local citizens discussing their priority service delivery issues and demanding accountability from local leaders.

During the meeting, the Sub County Chairperson promised to improve the quality of the NAADS service delivery. The chairperson also promised to extend the NAADS program to areas where it doesn’t exist and also increase the number of beneficiaries, “We are trying to lobby for money from the district so that we deliver quality NAADS services such as goats and seedlings to the local people. We also hope that the NAADS program will be extended and beneficiaries increased.” Says Mr. Businge Charles, the Chairperson Kicwamba Sub County.

Documented by Rachael Kogere

Monday, 10 June 2013

Bufunjo local citizens sensitised on government procedures when lobbying for service delivery

Local citizens of Bufunjo Sub County, Kyenjojo district have been sensitised on government procedures to follow when lobbying for improved service delivery especially through the local government planning and budgetary processes during an accountability workshop organised by Bufunjo People’s Forum on 15th April, 2013. Bufunjo People’s Forum is a rural youth and women advocacy forum whose initiation was supported by ToroDev. The forum is operating in Bufunjo Sub County, Kyenjojo District.

“To benefit from NAADS, one must know what NAADS is, have a registered community based group for farmers, attend parish level NAADS meetings by community facilitators and follow the requirements when informed of the available opportunities, work hard when supported with NAADS and always seek technical assistance and guidance from the different service providers at sub county level.” Said Mr. Akugizibwe Lawrence, the Bufunjo Sub County NAADS coordinator.

Local Citizens at the meeting
The meeting which was attended by the sub county political and technical staff and other district local government leaders was mobilized using the live radio talkshows, mobile phone technologies of SMS and calls and online tools of emailing and facebook.

During the workshop, the local citizens also got a platform to engage with their local leaders on their priority service delivery issues, “I raise my concern over the shoddy work of Kifuka-Mbale-Karukujenge road especially on River Kahombo, there is no difference between the way it has been constructed and what local people have been doing. I also raise my concern about the site supervisor who does not want to listen to the local people about their concerns of the road and also is blocking us from accessing the BOQs of the road; such a contract should be withdrawn.” Said Mr. Kizungu Rasulu of Batalika parish, Bufunjo Sub County.

The local government leaders also encouraged local citizens to participate in monitoring and implementation of the local government work to ensure sustainable development, “the local community should be stakeholders in implementing, monitoring and evaluating programmes of the government to ensure sustainability.” Said the sub county chief, Mr. Businge Dan.

Bufunjo People’s Forum is one of the so far eleven (11) advocacy forums initiated by ToroDev in the Rwenzori Region districts, most of the advocacy forums have been formed by the 90 rural monitors so far trained by ToroDev since August, 2012 in online advocacy, monitoring service delivery using online social media/ICT tools like Ushahidi platform for online documentation, visualization and mapping.

The advocacy forums also use FM Radio Broadcasting as a “hub” for improved service delivery monitoring and accountability. The advocacy forums are community’s own initiatives meant to sustainably monitor and advocate for improved service delivery and demand accountability from local leaders.

Bufunjo advocacy forum members appointed on school and health management committees

Members of Bufunjo People’s Forum have been appointed on the health management committee of Bufunjo Health Centre III and board of Bufunjo Secondary school by Bufunjo Sub County Council due to their efforts in advocating for improved service delivery in Bufunjo Sub County, Kyenjojo District.

The two members of the advocacy forum are Tumwesigye Andrew and Tibeha John Bosco who were appointed by the RDC as Chairperson of the Health Management Committee of Bufunjo Health Center III and Board member of Bufunjo Secondary School respectively.

Bufunjo People’s Forum has been instrumental in advocating for improved service delivery in Bufunjo Sub County using appropriate ICT tools especially mobile phone technologies, online tools like emailing, facebook and ToroDev supported live accountability talkshows (

L-R: Tumwesigye and Tibeha
The advocacy forum has since November 2012 helped improve health service delivery at the Bufunjo Health Centre III through advocating for the provision of more medical staff and medical equipment. Bufunjo Peoples Forum through their advocacy work using appropriate ICT tools also helped re-instate students of Bufunjo Secondary School on USE program; the students were removed from the USE program illegally by the school management. 

The two members were appointed by the RDC following a meeting with the members of the advocacy forum and local communities on 8th April. The meeting was aimed at monitoring service delivery since the office of the RDC is mandated to monitor service delivery in the district.

“The meeting with the RDC helped us to get more trust from the community. The RDC was very happy with our work of monitoring services delivered in our Sub County and he entrusted us with the powers to serve our people.” Said Tibeha John Bosco, the secretary of Bufunjo Peoples Forum.

Despite all efforts by Bufunjo People’s Forum in advocating for improved service delivery, people are still facing problems of poor roads which have increased accidents and affected the livelihoods of the rural communities since its affects access to markets and other vital services like health and education.

“We have lost a man who fell off a motor cycle because of the high hump, we have tried to approach our leaders to help us fix the pipe in the ground so that this hump is removed but there has not been any response from them.” Said Tumwesigye Andrew, the Chairperson of Bufunjo Peoples Forum.

ToroDev hopes that the appointment will improve service delivery at Bufunjo Health Centre III and Bufunjo Secondary School since the two members will directly be involved in decision making for improved services at the two government facilities.

ToroDev has since 2012 been supporting the initiation of such rural advocacy forums in the seven districts of the Rwenzori Region. So far, eleven (11) rural advocacy forums have been initiated by rural monitors (youth and women) who were trained by ToroDev in online advocacy.