Wednesday, 21 December 2016

ToroDev Held 3 Rural Radio Magazines in Kyenjojo, Kabarole and Kamwenge Districts to record voices of women, youth and leaders focusing mainly on health, education and entrepreneurship development.

On 15th, 16th and 18th December 2016, ToroDev held rural radio magazines/ debates in three districts of the Rwenzori Sub Region  to capture issues and concerns of rural women, youths and Duty bearers from hard to reach areas of  Myeri  village , Katooke sub county, Kyenjojo district, Katebwa sub county, Kabarole district and Kahunge sub county in Kamwenge district.

The main objective of holding rural radio magazine/debates is to amplify the voices/concerns of rural women and youth from very hard to reach communities who are also unable to appear on FM radio platforms for talk shows which are always aired late in the evenings yet women have other responsibilities in their homes the issues are later played on radio for the attention of duty bearers to respond”. Said Amanya Sheila M&E officer ToroDev, during the rural radio debate in Myeri parish  
Sheila added a rural magazine/debate is a concept that was birthed after realizing very few women were participating in live radio talkshows. There have been limited women, youth, local and technical leaders’ participation in the live radio discussions, and this has been a problem with capturing issues from women and youth who live in hard to reach areas.   During the debate, the main focus is put on women where women’s voices are captured and thereafter amplified on radio.

Shiela Amanya ToroDev M & E with some Women & Youth during the Rural Radio Magazine field visit
The focus areas where debates are held are mainly very remote areas with poor essential service delivery cases in all 7 districts were given first priority.  Participants selected are mainly 80% rural women and youth in those areas and 20% technical leaders (head teachers of government schools, in-charge of health centers, OCs of police stations, & local leaders are also involved in the debate”. Said Mukonyezi Winfred the coordinator of rural radio debates/ Magazine

Winfred added the recorded voices are amplified live on Jubilee Radio, articles posted online (listeners forum face book page & ToroDev blogs), Phone SMS, calls used for mobilization. Radio debate; topical issues are raised on radio where citizen engage the duty bearers.

A woman in Myeri village sharing her concerns with Mr. Mukonyezi Wilfred during the rural radio magazine
The people’s issues are amplified live on Jubilee radio on 18th, 25th   December 2016 and 1st January 2017 during the ‘Listeners Forum’ program that is aired live every Sunday 8:00-10:00pm for the duty bearers’ intervention.

 “Health workers come to health centers at 10am and leave at 2:00pm you can’t access them the whole day, the worst of all  they don’t attend to all the patients who come very early to be treated”. Said Mbabazi Saida during the rural radio debate in Myeri parish, Katooke Sub County, on 15th/12/2016

At Kibatee Health Centre 11 the nurses are 11 in number but they dodge serving us, they always absent themselves from work every single day and this affects the patients who come to seek medications from the health centre this is very frustrating because it has put women and children to a great risk of dying and walking miles to access medication elsewhere”.  Said Yoneki Kitahire from Katebwa subcounty

“There is only  one maternity ward in Myeri health centre, this can’t handle the big number of women who come to the healthy centre to give birth we request the leaders to help us and construct more  maternity wards for our women.” Said Kobugabe Abwooli From Myeri , Katooke subcounty Kyenjojo District  

“The number of pupils in classes is overwhelming and this has brought issues with poor quality education in UPE schools, one teacher is handling over 80 pupils, this teacher is over stressed, he /she does not get time to mark the class work of all pupils, pupils do not even concerate since they are very congested in class, we ask the government to help and support this our education system in Myeri villages health centre”. Said Kajumba Margaret from Myeri

“We don’t even have a secondary school in this parish our children walk miles to access secondary schools in Katooke town council and Kyenjojo district, they wake up when it I still dark at night and trek miles to get to their schools on time, the Government should help us and get us one secondary school.”.  Said Kembabazi Mary from Myeri.

 Mary added the Nurses refuse to work on pregnant women whenever they come without their husbands every single time they go for antenatal checkups , this is very disturbing to carry our men over and over instead of them being left at home taking care of the farms and family , they come with us every singe time we go for antenatal checkups, this is not really fair, I would suggest we go with our men the first time and the last time so that we don’t waste time both of us.  

“More still the roads are in sorry state, impassable with lots of potholes this causes transport to health centers to be very expensive and this has forced women to go away with visiting the health centers for checkup as required which puts their lives at risk and women shun to go to deliver from health centers. Said  Rwaheru James  of  Kahunge  Kamwenge District  during the rural radio magazine.

James added more still the roads are in sorry state, impassable with lots of potholes this causes transport to health centers to be very expensive and this has forced women to go away with visiting the health centers for checkup as required which puts their lives at risk and women shun to go to deliver from health centers”     said Happy Medius a resident of Biguli during the rural radio magazine.

“It’s very unfortunate that the nurses at Kibate health centre are absent today after even holding a meeting with them yesterday to question and warn them to stop absenting themselves from work, I will handle this urgently and visit the health centre to find out why the health centre was closed at 12:00pm”. Said Mwogere Eria the LC III Katebwa Sub County during the rural debate

Eria added we always encourage husbands to support their women during the nine months of pregnancy, this will help the ladies to deliver health kids without stress, so we thank ToroDev for supporting us and supporting of ladies from hard to reach areas.

 “I plan to visit the health centre of Myeri and find out why nurses come late and leave early, I will also find out whoever harasses the patients and talk to authority over the issues raised by the women”. Said Rebecca Muhindo Woman councilor Myeri Parish

The women who participated in the rural radio appreciated ToroDev for reaching them on ground to capture their issues and they pledged to continue listening to the radio talshows and contribute where necessary

During the 3 rural radio debates/ magazines over 95 women from hard to reach areas showed their outcry over the poor service delivery in health centers, education, roads sectors and entrepreneurship development and asked for support from their leaders. 

The rural radio debates/ magazines are supported by NED, ICT4Dem and SIDA/CIPESA on a project aimed at using radio and social media to improve the participation of marginalized population groups of rural youth and women in governance issues in the Rwenzori Region, Western Uganda.

We are grateful for this meaningful work.

Health Management Committees recommended for their roles in improving health services

Political leaders can be barriers or accelerators of existing health policies in any country depending on the way they disseminate information or do their advocacy. These were words from John Kyaligonza the Sub county chairperson Kabonero Sub County when he was hosted live in the studios of KRC Fm on 14th December, 2016 to discuss on ToroDev’s  supported ‘Manya Ekiragiro Kyawe’ program & set topic of discussion on ‘Influence of political authority on the existing health policies in Uganda’.

ToroDev will for the month of December, 2016 be looking at the health sector focusing on the policies governing it, political authority, awareness of citizens, etc every Wednesday 8:00pm-10:00pm on KRC Fm.

Hon. Kyaligonza  called upon political leaders to work with health management committees to improve health service delivery. He urged the health centre management together with the DHO to make sure all health centers have active  health management committees because of the roles they play in as far as health services are concerned.

He acknowledged that HMC’s have not played their roles as required for example monitoring drug stockout by checking what the health center has received and what has been used, monitoring health workers, etc. he said sometimes you find government drugs meant to be received free of charge in government health centers being sold in private drug shops and these committees just seat & watch.
Staff & HMC members meeting to plan for their health center in Kyegegwa district
 Hon.kyaligonza John said leaders should come in to supervise such challenges if we are to improve on drug stock-out, absenteeism of health workers, hygiene & sanitation around the health center, etc.
He said, some existing health policies in Uganda for example equipping health center 111 & 1v’s with maternity wards & other wards for admission and separating male wards from female wards, etc have not been effected because you find a full health center 1v not admitting patients and where it is done the beds are not enough and sometimes the male wards are not separated from female wards. This contravenes the policy hence need for leaders to play their roles of lobbying for these health centers in order for the citizens to access improved health services.

Patients queuing to receive drugs from a government health center
Hon. Kyaligonza called for collective effort from both political & technical people especially area members of parliament to lobby for the health centers in order to access enough drugs, infrastructure, health workers, & other health equipments. He urged the district chairperson, chief administrative officer, district health officer, etc to monitor drugs in these health centers something that will improve on the existing services in the region & country as a whole.

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

Rubona Sub county Chairperson calls for improved supervision of Government Projects

Hon. Musinguzi Peter the district chairperson representing Rubona subcounty & Rubona town council who also doubles as secretary for finance at Kabarole district local government has urged duty bearers  to improve on supervision of government projects if we are to get quality services in our communities.

He said government projects especially at sub county level are not fully supervised due to lack of enough funds and also proper planning which leads to sub standard or shoddy work done. ‘’I call upon citizens to develop positive attitude towards supervision of these projects that are being implemented in their areas & to develop a sense of ownership if our communities are to improve in terms of service delivery’’, said Hon. Musinguzi Peter.

While appearing live on ToroDev sponsored ‘Orukurato’ program on 14th December, 2016 on a weekly program that is aired live every Saturday 8:00pm-10:00pm on HITS FM, the district water engineer Mr. Mugabe Pius, his assistant Mr. Mugabe Nathan & the secretary for finance said the district has received 250 million shillings for road fund and expect 267 million shillings and priority will be given to road development in town councils.

Hon. Musinguzi called upon the youth to organize themselves in groups to benefit from the youth livelihood program which is remaining with a year to close. He reminded the youth on the objectives of the program like fighting poverty, unemployment and skilling the youth in a number of sectors.
As a district we have received funding from French development agency to extend electricity to our people and areas of Rubona, Mukabata, Kitebi, Buhesi, Katebwa, Rwimi towncouncil and other surrounding places will benefit from a project that has reached procurement process, said Engineer Mugabe Pius.

On water sector the district engineer and his assistant said there is an on-going water project covering areas of Rwaihamba and tanks have been secured for reservoirs and within a period of three months from now people in these areas will be accessing piped water. Karago town council design is complete and now we are planning to set up a water system to help our people with issues of safe and clean water.

Citizens are entitled to safe & clean water 
 During the 2 hours live discussion, listeners participated through call-ins; ‘’we really need the water in our areas because we are now approaching dry spells and it is normally worse accessing water, let the district officials help and speed up the process’’, said Ms Katusiime a caller from Karago, ‘’we have not had water for the last two weeks, can the district engineer tell us what the problem is and how are they prepared to help us solve this water issue?’’, said Phiona Amanyire, a caller from Kasunganyanja in Bunyangabu county Kabarole district.

We thank all our partners; SIDA , NED, SPIDER, ICT4DEM, CIPESA & Hits Fm for the financial & technical support to run these programs live on air.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Leaders called upon to improve on monitoring & supervision of the health sector.

The Uganda national roads authority (UNRA) health & safety officer Mr. Kagaba Steven has called for a collective responsibility in the monitoring of health centers in the country as the only way to improve services in the health sector especially government programs/ projects. Mr Kagaba who is also the former Kabarole district health educator (DHE) was hosted live on KRC FM to discuss the existing health policies in Uganda. ToroDev in partnership with KRC FM for the month of December, 2016 will be discussing health as a sector and have identified experienced panelists to discuss the selected topics and these panelists include; district health officer, district health educator, community members, leaders at different levels, etc.

While discussing live on Torodev supported ‘Manya Ekiragiro Kyawe’ program that is aired every Wednesday 8:00pm-10:00pm on  KRC FM, Mr. Kagaba said health management committees have not done their roles as expected together with local leaders in the district of effective monitoring of health centers in the country. On 7th December, 2016 while in the studios Mr.Kagaba said, management committees supervise drugs availability, access & use, monitors performance of workers and also it is a responsibility of the leaders to see that citizens are getting services whenever they access these health centers. He said once these play their roles of monitoring & supervision, we are likely to see improvement in the health sector. These together with other challenges like drug stock outs, inadequate infrastructure, absenteeism of health workers, etc can be reduced if duty bearers changed their attitudes towards positive development of the sector.

Women waiting for health services at one of the health centers
He called upon health workers, leaders, and health management committees to play their roles well to improve the sector. The VHT which is health center 1 in Uganda, health center 11’s at every parish, health center 111’s at sub county level are supposed to have in-charges whose work is to monitor the drugs that have come in, how they are used, allocation of funds & how it is being used and also are supposed to play a big role of treating minor illnesses in order to avoid congesting referral hospitals.

The two hours live radio discussion had participation of listeners through call-ins & Sms platforms; ‘’our government health centers have totally failed to perform because you can hardly access a service even of minor illnesses like malaria, doctors are not there, nurses work when they want, we are really challenged and not sure of how we are going to improve this sector’’, said Omugurusi Augustine from Kanyambeho in Kabarole district, ‘’the district leadership should avail us with a platform where we as community members will be reporting issues happening in our health centers because we  just see things happening and fail to get where to report, also inspections are not regularly done which makes the services difficult for citizens, please help us’’, said Afande Omani a caller from Buhesi in Kabarole district, ‘’when we visit VHT’s we get drugs that have expired or about to expire, can responsible people look into this issue to save people’s lives please’’, said Julius Mugisa a caller from Kihura in Kyenjojo district.

We are grateful to all our partners SIDA, NED, SPIDER, CIPESA, ICT4DEM  for all kinds of support that have kept our programs on air as we sensitize our citizens.

ToroDev held capacity building training of district councilors from Kabarole district

The two days capacity building training was held on 10th & 11th November, 2016 at the district head quarters in Kabarole District.  The training was facilitated by Local Government Consulting Group (LGCG) based in Entebbe-Uganda and a member of Uganda Local Government Association (ULGA). Forty four (44) out of fifty two (52) district councilors from 30 sub counties of the district attended where 17 were female & 26 were males.  

ToroDev team first held several engagements and consultative meetings with the District speakers, district chairpersons and clerks to council before the trainings were held to discuss issues/challenges that could be hindering councilors to articulate their roles very well, the core roles of representation in service delivery and legislation in the council, monitor government projects and programs, full participate in district budget processes, debating, male councilors dominating the floor during council sessions, lack of advocacy skills, etc.
Facilitators sharing with participants during the training

During the consultative meetings with the district team it was noted that new councilors are not well versed with local government systems and yet they are working with government technocrats who are more versed with the systems which if not taken into account may result into poor service delivery and poor working relations between the political leaders and technocrats, hence need for capacity building. A concern was raised by the district officials to equip district councilors with skills on representation in line with service delivery and legislation in the council since it is their core mandate.
The main aim of this training is to strengthen the capacity of the district honorable councilors to effectively play their role of representation and legislation which is aimed at improving priority service delivery in the Rwenzori sub-region within the next 5 years. This induction was reached after ToroDev held several engagements & consultative meetings with the district speaker & clerks to council to ascertain the gaps faced by councilors while playing their legislative roles”. Said Johnstone Baguma, ED ToroDev while giving opening remarks during the training.
Johnstone added honorable councilors we are also here to share skills and knowledge specifically in social media use for advocacy and citizens engagement, blog usage & internet access/searching on relevant government websites like, public policy and effective legislation materials, etc and to strengthen councillors’ ability to respond more efficiently and effectively to citizen demands, and to ultimately improve public service delivery.

‘’I thank ToroDev for supporting the government because the truth is that the government has limited resources and low budget allocations to execute all the activities like training the councilors, paying for the radio talkshows but we thank ToroDev for bridging this gap, as councilors let’s embrace the use of ICTs, like radio Talkshows, Phones, Facebook, Whatup, emails to disseminate information to the citizens and amongst ourselves to save transport cost”. Said Hon Richard Rwabuhinga the District chairperson Kabarole District during the training.

A participant making his contribution during the training
From this training we shall get to learn issues concerning council legislation, planning & budgets interpretation, advocacy, monitoring and evaluation of government projects & programs, leadership code of conduct, accountability & transparency, communication skills, roles of specific committees of the council, laws in relation to local government and key local government Act”, etc said Norman Birungi, one of the facilitators of the training.

This training has helped us to understand our roles and responsibilities since 80% of us are new in the council the induction will effectively help  us  to play our  role of representation and legislation well which at the end of the day improve service delivery, so we really  needed this training, thanks to ToroDev ”. Said Hon Kiiza Clovice, a district councilor representing Kisomoro Sub County in Kabarole District.
We requested ToroDev to induct our newly elected councilors to empower female councilors to fully participate in raising motions and general council proceedings other than being dominated by their male counterparts, this training will awaken and strengthen the female councilors to actively debate during the council meetings and participate in radio discussions to air out their views”. Said Hon. Kyorampe Stella the Kabarole District speaker.
The district speaker Hon. Kyorampe Stella making her contribution during the training
I have been provided with knowledge and skills on good working relations between government technocrats, fellow councilors, other political heads & electorates and to acquire knowledge in local government systems & their operations”. Said Rwakyaka Mary female councilor representing South Division in Kabarole district.

Action points were put in place which included; encouraging female councilors to fully participate in raising motions and general council proceedings other than being dominated by their male counterparts, to fully participate in planning and budgeting processes, to use ICT to lobby and advocate for better and improved services, to  hold internal meetings and plan for their citizens, hold meetings on ground to share with their communities on how best they can fight poverty, attend Radio talkshows  and plan with their citizens. 

We are grateful to all our development partners SIDA, NED, SPIDER, ICT4DEM, CIPESA, and WOUGNET, Kabarole district local government for the financial and technical support. 

Friday, 9 December 2016

ToroDev in Partnership with Kyenjojo district education department carried out capacity building of SMCs and PTA members from 19 UPE schools in Bufunjo & Nyankwanzi counties

ToroDev held a two days capacity building training of 183 School management committees and Parent Teachers Association Members from the 19 sampled UPE schools in the above sub counties, the training came after ToroDev team holding several consultative meetings with the District education officers (DEOs), Inspector of schools and the secretaries of education of Kyenjojo District to discuss issues and challenges affecting education department. It was realized that there was need to train the school management committees (SMC) & Parents Teachers Association (PTA) members since majority were serving their first term on board. 
Participants listening to the facilitator during the workshop
The DEO Kyenjojo District Ms Tibakanya Gertrude together with Torodev team identified challenges that affect the SMCs and PTA which needed serious interventions, some of the challenges were; many times the School Management Committees are bulldozed by head teachers who make them simply sign drafts they have not discussed and understood this issue, so orientation and training was to help them address this challenge.

ToroDev research team went further and carried out a baseline survey on the status of UPE schools in 10 sampled schools of Bufunjo and Nyankwanzi sub counties in Kyenjojo district, the findings indicated that; schools located in hard to reach areas face a bigger challenge of lack of enough teachers who deliberately refuse to join the school due to lack of transport, lack of accommodation, inadequate water accessibility, impassable roads which makes transport costly, luck of lunch for pupils to feed on and many other factors were identified to be affecting performance of these schools.
The other key finding indicated that School management committees and PTA members needed to be trained on their roles & responsibilities since some newly elected members on board do not know them. They needed training in management, decision making, planning, and advocacy, lobbying, budgeting and fundraising. 

This training session has been organized to transfer knowledge to SMC members and PTA members in matters of UPE policy, advocacy using ICT, (online/electronic) on status of UPE schools in their areas Inspection and capitation grant procedures”. Said the DEO Kyenjojo District during the training

Gertrude Tibakanya DEO Kyenjojo district facilitating during the worshop
The DEO added good governance requires the School management committee to adapt to the distinctive characteristics of an academic environment and act so as to exemplify and reinforce the school’s core values to oversee all aspects of the School, including its control and accountability systems, and approve the expenditure and capital budgets,  to appoint, review and remove the Principal and provide ongoing support and supervision, to develop and maintain healthy relationships with key stakeholders and develop effective communication channels , to ensure a strategic approach to the school’s future by setting major goals, policy frameworks and strategies, set the tone and the ethical standards of the school and monitor adherence to them, to review plans and budgets established by school management, to approve all material expenditure outside the budget among other roles.

The orientation & training involved a fruitful discussion and action points on ways of retaining the female learners in UPE schools and reducing the annual drop-out. We promise by next year each hard to reach school will have a female teacher who will serve as a senior women and help our girls.  Stella Kabanyoro the District inspector of Schools Kyenjojo District.

The inspector of schools added that the training will provide 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.
She further explained that Parents Teachers Associations have a bigger role to play to facilitate parental participation in a school.  A parent-teacher association (PTA) is  composed of parents, teachers and staff that is intended to take an active role in developing programs, advocacy and training, operating at the school building, district, state and national levels and working on policy that supports the educational needs of children and promotes family engagement and strong partnerships between schools and the communities they serve.

 “Am happy that after this training I have got more skills on how I will do my monitoring role as a chairperson of the school management committee, my mind has changed now and am very ready to execute my roles very well”. Said Rev Mutabanura J Chairperson SMC Kyamutunzi Primary school

I was not doing my role very well because I did not know what I am meant to do but this training has equipped me with knowledge & skills especially on the roles am meant to do like being part of planning and budgeting, monitoring and supervision and  this training will help me to do my roles well to the expectation of the school”.  Said Mugisa Faraho Chairperson Igongwe Primary school
Faraho Mugisa Chairperson SMC Igongwe P/S contributing during the workshop
I am happy that since we were elected none of us had ever been trained so we were not much versed with our roles and responsibilities thanks to ToroDev for this training and we promise to cause a change in schools, we had gaps in networking, lobbying and advocacy but now we know what to do”. Said Businge Margret vice Chairperson Igongwe P.s

Some of the action points put in place included; following up  girls who drop out of schools due to early pregnancy, cooperating with police to arrest men who defile them, improve the monitoring role of the SMC, to visit schools more times in a term, lobby for better facilities  from duty bearers and NGOs, use Radio talk shows to advocate for improved service delivery in schools, use their phones to  improve communications and networking and also to lobby from the duty bearers and NGOs , exchange visits to better performing schools to  know how they do their work and networking with better performing schools, advocating for provision of lunch for our pupils in school, etc
A participant making her contribution during the workshop
The training was facilitated by the District Education Officer, Inspector of Schools, Deputy District education officer, education officer- special needs and Education officer in charge of sports in the District.

We are grateful to SIDA, NED, SPIDER, CIPESA, ICT4DEM, Kyenjojo district local government & all our partners for the financial and technical support.