ToroDev Trains Rural Monitors in Online Advocacy for Improved Service Delivery

ToroDev trained rural monitors from seven advocacy forums in the Rwenzori Region in using online tools to monitor service delivery. The maiden residential 2 days training involving seven leaders of advocacy forums, the coordinator of Rwenzori Journalist Forum and ToroDev staffs was held on 2nd – 3rd September 2012 at ToroDev resource center in Fort Portal Town. The training which is supported by ToroDev in partnership with CIDA was facilitated by Moses Owiny from WOUGNET. The training was intended to improve the skills of on line documentation and using online plat forms like Ushahidi, twitter, face book, u tube, blogging, and Skype.

Participants during the training

During the training, participants were advised on the use of the training. “The online training will help us to improve our skills of reporting not only bad things but also good things. This means that there will be a lot of improvement on our reporting capacity. Many of you had also forgotten your pass words of the Ushahidi Plat form, this training will help you to get new pass words, so that you can be able to post your service delivery issues on the plat form”, said ToroDev’s Johnstone Baguma.

Participants were also advised on what is expected out of them after the training. “By the end of the training, we would like to see a lot of online engagements, with a lot of service delivery issues concerning your sub counties. There should also be a lot of engagements with our leaders concerning the issues, for easy advocacy”, said ToroDev’s Solomon Akugizibwe.
Meanwhile, rural monitors indicated how the training had improved their skills of online documentation. “The training has improved my skills of documenting on line. I had forgotten how to use some of the tools like Skype and Ushahidi, but the training has helped me to retain them. This is therefore going to help me to disseminate all the service delivery information concerning my sub county on line”, said Mukwano Ssenyonjo, the Chairperson of People’s Rights and Forum for Development in Mugusu Sub County, Kabarole District.
ToroDev’s Shilla Amanya also appealed to the rural monitors to make use of the acquired skills. “I appeal to all the participants to make use of the acquired skills and not leave them to die out. Since ToroDev gave you lap tops and internet modems, we expect to always get several stories concerning service delivery issues and success stories from your sub counties on your face book pages and blogs on a monthly basis. We also expect you to use these plat forms to engage your leaders to give you accountability and also improve service delivery”.
The online/Web 2.0  training was supported by SIDA/CIPESA on a project aimed at using appropriate ICT tools to promote democratic engagement and accountability for improved service delivery in the Rwenzori Region, Western Uganda.

Rural Monitors Launch Nkoma Advocacy Forum

Nkoma Advocacy Forum in Nkoma Sub County, Kamwenge District is one of the fourteen advocacy forums that are communities own initiatives formed by the 120 rural monitors who were trained by ToroDev in on line advocacy, monitoring service delivery using online social media/ ICT tools like Ushahidi plat form for on line documentation, visualization and mapping.
 On 20th August 2014, over forty members of Nkoma Advocacy Forum with support from ToroDev launched their forum, to get accreditation and recognition from their local leaders, and also to promote transparency and accountability among the local leaders in Kamwenge District.
During the launching, Miss Harriet Mujuni, the Chairperson of the forum indicated some of the activities of the forum. “As Nkoma Advocacy Forum, we advocate for better service delivery from our local leaders, do research concerning service delivery most especially government programs and projects,  lobby for better services from the government and also demand and promote public accountability in our district”
Miss Harriet further indicated the wide spread corruption in Kamwenge District that has hindered development. “Kamwenge District is lagging behind in development because of lack of accountability amongst the local leaders. Money that is meant for development activities has been diverted by the district workers, and no action has been taken against them due to lack of civil society to make engagements”.
The launching was also attended by Mr. Solomon Akugizibwe, the Media and Communications Officer at ToroDev, who encouraged the rural monitors to do advocacy and make their leaders accountable. “You should not stop on launching this forum but move on and advocate to making your leaders accountable. I also warn you against involving politics in your advocacy, because it may fail the forum and also divert your mission and goals”.
Meanwhile, the Kamwenge Resident District Commissioner appealed to the rural monitors to register their Forum at the District level, so as to encounter greater achievements in the district. “Forum members should register their Forum at the district and National level, so as to realize greater achievements in the district, and also have greater lobbying opportunities”.
The advocacy forums are supported by SIDA/CIPESA on a project aimed at using appropriate ICT tools to promote democratic engagement in the Rwenzori Region, Western Uganda.

ToroDev Engages Kyegegwa District Local Leaders on Service Delivery Issues

Description and Rationale of Meeting

On Wednesday, 19th September, 2012, ToroDev staff held a consultative meeting with local leaders in Kyegegwa District aimed at identifying gaps in service delivery and finding appropriate interventions for improved livelihoods since government services like roads, schools, markets, health centers, NAADS, etc. directly affects the livelihoods of the local people.This follows ToroDev interventions since 2011 aimed at improving service delivery in the seven districts of Rwenzori Region. The organization has been conducting lobbying and advocacy campaigns, training rural grassroots’ populations in service delivery monitoring and conducting live radio talkshows on HITS FM and Better FM aimed at improving the state of service delivery through engagement with local leaders and awareness creation.

Gaps/Challenges Identified

During the meeting, the local leaders identified a number of gaps affecting service delivery in the district like limited access to information by local politicians from the technocrats, ignorance of the local leaders on the local government laws and policies, political intrigue and divisionism in the district council. Others included limited participation of the local rural grassroot populations in local government planning and budgeting processes, rampant corruption among the civil servants and local leaders, ignorance of the local populations on service delivery monitoring and use of complicated technical languages in Bills of Quantities (BOQ’s) making it hard for the local people and local leaders to comprehend for effective monitoring of service delivery.

Proposals for Intervention

During the meeting, the local leaders proposed a number of interventions aimed at improving service delivery in the district like conducting community dialogue meetings involving local leaders to improve participation of rural grassroot communities in government planning and budgeting processes, monitoring service delivery and demanding accountability from their local leaders. The meeting also proposed conducting monthly review surveys on the performance of the local government councils in the delivery and supervision of public services and finally the orientation of local leaders in relevant local government laws and policies, information access skills, lobbying and advocacy and monitoring service delivery to ensure effective implementation of government services in the district.

The meeting held at Gilman Hotel in Kyegegwa Town Council was attended by Hon. Asaba Paul (District councilor for Kasule SubCounty in Kyegegwa district), Mr. Ignatius Agondeze (Councilor, Kyegegwa Town Council), ToroDev Executive Director Johnstone Baguma, Listener’s Forum Moderator Mukonyezi Wilfred and ToroDev Media & Communications Officer Akugizibwe Solomon. The two local leaders will also participate on the listeners Forum Live radio talkshow on Sunday, 23rd September, 2012 at Better FM to discuss the state of service delivery in Kyegegwa District. The Listeners Forum is held every Sunday (08:00-10:00pm) on Better FM to discuss issues of Public Accountability for Improved Service Delivery.

*The article was cross-posted from the ToroDev Blog