Friday, 18 September 2015

Appropriate ICT tools & Advocacy forums yielding to delivery of improved services to communities

Appropriate ICT tools especially radio and the formation of advocacy forums have helped improve service delivery through effective monitoring, advocating for improved service delivery and mobilization of the local communities to demand accountability.

ToroDev’s supported People’s Rights and Forum for Development (PRIFODE) through the use of ICT tools like phones & FM Radio Broadcasting as the most accessed media channels in the rural areas of the Rwenzori Region to demand for better services in communities has yielded to the repair of a water source in Mugusu trading centre having been not functioning for  a period of around five months living the trading centre without water yet we know that ‘water is life’.

‘’As a forum leader, we got complaints from community members on the issue. I got a phone and called a leader Hon. Ampaire Sedrack who is a sub county councilor representing Burungu parish who did not respond to my call then I sent him a message explaining how people were suffering without water yet water is life and told him if they are not able to rectify the situation they should let us know so that we mobilize the community on solving the issue’’, said Mr. Mukwano Senyojo the forum leader.

On 1st September 2015 the water source was repaired by the sub county authorities and now people are accessing safe and clean water in Mugusu trading centre.

A mechanic, Advocacy forum members & Community members witnessing the repair work going on
ToroDev realized that leaders were not visiting their electorates to ascertain the problems in communities and as a way to bridge the gap between leaders and the citizens, the use of radio programs, phone calls, sms platform like Trac fm were introduced to help people demand for improved services and accountability from their leaders.

‘’ ICT tools have helped us reach our leaders faster even when we do not meet them physically and the cost of moving from one place to another looking for them is reduced. We shall keep encouraging our citizens to use ICT tools to demand for improved services & accountability from their leaders’’, said Ms Tumuhairwe Oliver, a citizen of Mugusu trading centre.

 We thank ToroDev for having looked at this dilemma and coming up with a solution, from the training we got on ICT tools, no leader can now hide him/herself, if we call and he does not pick the phone, we send a message which will put them on pressure and they will respond positively to what is being demanded in order to improve the living conditions of our people in communities’’, said Mr. Kusemererwa Sam, a member of the forum.

We are grateful to our partners for the financial & technical support and the work of advocacy forums in the communities of the 7 districts in the Rwenzori region.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

ToroDev supported Nderema Grand Association Advocacy Forum advocates for improved health services

With the monthly support from ToroDev in partnership with SIDA, advocacy forums have been able to receive facilitation to help them carry their activities like monitoring services, holding meetings and mobilizing members to attend the forum meetings to plan and exchange ideas.
The advocacy forum has been in the past month of July monitoring three (3) health centres in Rwentuha sub count, Kyegegwa district.  Rwentuha sub county has 3 health centres; 1 health centre 111(Kazinga) & 2 health centre 11s (Migamba & Ruhangire). In the 2015/16 budget allocations, the health sector was allocated only 150.000/= & priority went to education, roads & production sectors.
The fact that there are issues at Kazinga health centre 111 like; lack of a senior clinical officer, lack of lighting system, lack of immunisation outreaches, no water services, no active health unit management committee,etc .
On 18th August 2015 with support from ToroDev, the forum held a dialogue meeting at Rwentuha sub county headquarters to discuss on how the health centres in the sub county can be allocated with enough funds in the next financial year 2016/201 7 to be able to handle the high increase rate of HIV Patients in the sub county, because in Kazinga HC III serves 40 -60 patients daily there was lack of  enough staff  which need quick intervention.

Hon Jolly T the district councillor giving opening remarks during community dialogue meeting at Rwentuha Sub County headquarters

“The health sector was not allocated enough funds during the last financial year but as leaders we shall lobby to see that in the 2016/17 sub county budget, the sub county council should give the bigger share of funds to health sector we shall work hand in hand with the council, the forum leaders to see that the councillors write to the district health officer (DHO) and ask for a senior clinical officer and a nursing officer to work at the Kazinga health centre 111”. Said Hon Jolly T the district councillor Kyegegwa district.
Hon Jolly added we shall work hand in hand with the sub county to allocate funds for fuel that will help to conduct immunisation outreaches and Kazinga health centre 111 and also to plan on how to put up gravity water scheme near by the health centre.

The dialogue meeting was attended by sub county district councillors, Nderema forum members, Sub county health workers and some community members from Rwentuha Sub County.
An action plan was set  by the leaders present and people responsible to follow the activities were selected to rectify the health situation in the sub county at least by March 2016 something targetable should be seen on ground”. Said Ndahura  Phenehance  the leader  of the forum.

Discussions during community dialogue meeting at Rwentuha Sub County and in Purple shirt John Bosco Tumusiime, youth representative, Nderema Grand Association.

Mr Ndahura added as a forum we are grateful to ToroDev for the monthly support given to us which has helped the leaders of the forum to reach on ground and hold meetings with different leaders to lobby for improved service delivery in all sectors.   

The meeting was held in partnership and support from ToroDev, SIDA, NED, CIPESA, SPIDER, and Nderema grand association advocacy

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Social accountability towards good governance and service delivery

  Kakabara advocacy forum in partnership with ToroDev organized an accountability meeting on 1st September in Migogwa Parish Kakabara Sub County, Kyegegwa district. The accountability meeting aimed at giving a room to both political and local leaders of all levels from Kyegegwa District to come and give people accountability and also allow local citizens to come and ask leaders for accountability, and demand for better services.

A total number of over 300 local citizens and political leaders attended the meeting and the attendance was at least 40% youth, 40%Women and others were leaders.

We are much interested in women and youth because most times don’t get time to come and share their issues on radio, women don’t get the chance to meet their leaders and we have now started organizing the meetings at the parish level so that our women can find it much easier to attend and talk to their leaders in person, so taking the meetings at the parish level will enable  so many women to be part, to openly speak in public and they will present their problems to their leaders “. Said Amanya Sheila M&E Officer ToroDev.

The Leaders who attended included the Woman Area Member of Parliament for Kyegegwa District, Hon Flavia Rwabuhoro, District Councilors for women and youth Kyegegwa Distruict, the LC III Chairman, LC II, LC I Kakabara subcounty, youth leaders, Sub county technical team, opinion leaders and Police.

We organize such meetings with an aim of providing a platform for the local leaders and political leaders to give accountability to the local citizens and it’s the only way the local citizens can demand for accountability from their leaders. We are now organizing meetings at the parish level so that we can get many woman and youth share their issues.” Said David Kugoza, Documentation & Communication officer, ToroDev. 

ToroDev Communication & Documentation Officer David Kugonza explaining the ToroDev advocacy model during the accountability meeting
  “As a forum we have been partnering with ToroDev for more than three years, we have been trained on issues of advocacy, using ICTs and how to hold leaders accountable. The main objectives of the forum is we hold political and local leaders accountable,  we demand for accountability for improved service delivery , we protect and defend the rights  of the people, we advocate for the voiceless especially women and youth.”Said Ahebwa William, the Leader of  Kakabara Forum.

Williams added accountability meetings have equipped   us the members of the forum and local citizens with skills to demand for accountability and demand for improved service delivery in education, water, health, road sectors,etc. We appreciate ToroDev for the support towards organizing such meetings as they have given us the freedom of speech and association with the hard to reach leaders.

 Mr Ahebwa Williams the leader of Kakabara Advocacy forum giving the opening remark and sharing the objectives of the Accountability meeting.

“Special thanks to ToroDev for organizing this meeting and am ready to give my accountability of what I have done in the past four years, I have mainly focused on 3 key issues education improvement, support for women and health. I have been able to lobby over 100 bursaries for the students who perform well in senior six exams to go to the university, and do presentable courses which can help them find jobs after their studies”. Said Hon Rwabuhoro Flavia the woman MP Kyegegwa District.

 Hon Flavia added I have put up a school in Kyegegwa district which gives bursaries to the orphans to study for free and I have done this to promote education to the vulnerable children especially the girls.  I have been visiting and supporting every government school that performs well every year in the primary leaving examination

Hon. Flavia Rwabuhoro, the woman MP Kyegegwa District giving her accountability during the accountability meeting.

Action points were put in  place  and presented  them to the leaders especially the poor roads in the sub County, roads in Migogwa, Kyatega  parishes , also poor sanitation in primary government  school,  issues of land as a forum we shall keep on following to see that a change happens and there is improved service delivery in the subcounty of Kakabara.

Ms Twikirize a citizen of Migongwe Parish presenting her concerns to the leaders
 The meeting was supported by ToroDev in partnership with SIDA, NED, SPIDER, DRT, CIPESA and Kakabara Advocacy forum.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Kabarole People are enjoying safe and clean water due to improved advocacy by rural Advocacy Forums

Kabarole People are enjoying safe and clean water due to improved advocacy by rural Advocacy Forums using appropriate ICT tools especially radio discussions.

People of Kiboha parish Nyabatahi Village Mugusu Sub county have been surviving on dirty and unsafe water for  over 8 months after the only borehole  in the community broke down and no one seem to have interest to work on it, the leaders were informed but no one took positive action. The problem affected the women and children who could walk for over two hours to fetch water from the wells the borehole was serving over 130 households in that village.
As a forum we received the complaint on 5th May 2015 and we arranged a community meeting to see how we can mobilize the resources to work on the borehole.  We went on site and proved that the borehole was not working. The forum leaders called for a community meeting with an aim of setting ideas on how to raise the required for funds and where to get the resources from, community members suggested that Red Cross should be approached to see if they can provide the community with the spare part, as a forum we got a starting point after the meeting”. Said Mukwano Ssenyonjjo, the chairman of people’s rights and forum for development in Mugusu Sub County, Kabarole District.
Mukwano adds individuals were selected during the meeting and given a duty to go to the offices of Uganda Red Cross to lobby for spares which were needed to fix in the borehole good enough the Red Cross agreed to provide the spare parts but the community was told to raise funds for transport to transport the spares from Fort-portal town to the site and to pay for the labour.

On 29th June 2015 as a forum we took a lead to start looking for the funds for transporting the spares and to pay the workers who were to fix the borehole, we approached individuals and a good Samaritan and a concerned local citizen Mr. Businge John supported the activity with one hundred and fifty thousand shillings (150, 000/-) the bore hole was fixed on 3rd/ July 2015 and now people are enjoying clean as safe work due to the efforts of the   advocacy forum”. Said Tibenda Stephen the secretary of people’s rights and forum for development in Mugusu Sub County, Kabarole District.

ToroDev staff with Mugusu Advocacy forum members verifying the water sources 

Children & community members fetching water from one of the water sources

Stephen adds after the first borehole was repaired another community of Mpora village approached us and complained about their borehole which was producing little water and the handle had broken down for over a hear, this was becoming a problem because people could line up  for over 5 hours  to see that they get a jerrycan of water, we used the same procedure, we approached  Uganda Red Cross Fort-portal for spares  and  mobilized funds from the community and the borehole is now working very well thanks to ToroDev for giving us monthly facilitation which enables us to move and mobilize communities for improved service delivery.

Bufunjo Peoples forum advocate for the construction of Bufunjo Seed Secondary School

Appropriate ICT tools especially radio and the formation of advocacy forums have helped improve service delivery through effective monitoring, advocating for improved service delivery and mobilization of the local communities to demand accountability.

ToroDev has so far initiated 16 advocacy forums in the 7 districts of the Rwenzori Region. Most of the advocacy forums have been formed by the 120 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 an ICT tool for “convergence or hub” since it is the most accessed media channel in the rural areas of the Rwenzori Region.

As  Bufunjo people’ forum in Bufunjo sub county, Kyenjojo district,  we  worked hand in hand with the head teacher of  Bufunjo Seed secondary school Mr. Byaruhanga Sylvester to advocate for improved infrastructure  of  Bufunjo Seed secondary school the only secondary school in the sub county. We were hosted twice on radio in October 2014 and in February 2015 to discuss, lobby and Inform Leaders  about the poor Infrastructure that the  school had and we are glad that the  leaders at the district responded and this year in May  2015, One Hundred Million 100 was given to construct two class rooms”. Said Andrew Tumwesigye, the leader of the Forum

Before the construction of the classrooms

After the construction of the classrooms
I was hosted on Better Fm  with the members of Bufunjo People’ forum  in October 2014 and we discussed about lack of class rooms and desks in the school, we appreciate the advocacy Forum for always informing the leaders about the poor status of the school which had no class rooms, no desks  and  I thank ToroDev for giving us airtime to inform leaders about the school status and we are happy that leaders started responding immediately after the radio talk show and in March 2015 we were given a grant of 100m to work on two class rooms,”.Said Mr. Byaruhanga Sylvester, the head teacher Bufunjo Seed Secondary School.