ToroDev to Increase Monitoring in Kyegegwa District to Improve Education Performance

The Executive Director ToroDev, Johnson Baguma Kumaraki has promised to further strengthen partnership with Kyegegwa Town Council Local Government and the local communities to strengthen education performance through support to increased monitoring and community sensitization on the importance of education among others.
Mr. Johnstone also promised to support more community engagements with both political and technical leaders in the education sector through holding regular accountability meetings/workshops and participation on the live radio discussions.  This was revealed during a stakeholders education conference held in Kyegegwa Town Council held on 30th July, 2014.
ToroDev has been supporting Kyegegwa district local government in the use of appropriate ICT tools like local FM radios to give accountability to the local citizens for improved service delivery. Many local citizens in the district have also been trained to use appropriate ICT tools to monitor service delivery and participate in government planning and budgeting processes.
Other areas of support identified to uplift the performance of the education sector in the district were organizing annual education review meetings, lobbying for improved budgetary allocations to education sector by both local and central government leaders, regular capacity building trainings to school management committees, teachers and other education stakeholders.
              Participants discussing during the conference
The education conference organized by Kyegegwa Local Government in partnership with ToroDev and other civil society organizations like KRC, RIDE-Africa and RICNET among others also identified the critical barriers to education performance in Kyegegwa Town Council as poor attitude of the community towards education, failure to provide children with school lunch, limited career guidance and counseling of children.
Other critical barriers to improved education performance in Kyegegwa Town Council identified were failure to promote physical education, declining morality in the community leading to high levels of indiscipline and other policy challenges like high pupil to teacher ratio, poor teacher’s welfare, poor infrastructure among others.
This activity was supported by NED, SIDA/CIPESA on a project aimed at using appropriate ICT tools to improve service delivery and accountability in the Rwenzori Region, Western Uganda.

“We Fought The War of Liberating This Country”, Kinuge John

On 9th August 2014, the Chairman of War Veterans of Burahya County and Fort Portal Municipality Mr. Kinuge John indicated how they fought in liberating Uganda. “From 1963, there was no peace and ownership of property in Uganda, unless one belonged to the army.  In 1981, we started a war in Katebwa Sub County that went up to 1986, when Uganda was liberated”. Mr. Kinuge was discussing on ToroDev’s supported live radio discussion called ‘Orukurato Program’, a 2hr weekly radio program that discusses issues of accountability every Saturday (08:00 – 10:00) pm.

The live radio discussion was also attended by Mr. Kahuma Andrew a builder in Fort Portal Municipality, Mr. Mukwano Ssenyonjo the Chairperson of People’s Rights and Forum for Development in Mugusu Sub County, and Mr. Happy Steven, a youth from Kibiito Sub County all in Kabarole District.
During the program, Mr. Happy Steven indicated how he started a program of sensitizing his fellow youths on development programs. “We started up groups/SACCOS for helping the youths to get loans most especially those who are carrying out farming.  We sensitize youths in these groups and also give them skills of how they can develop their businesses. We have done this in Kasunganyanja zone, Buheesi, Njarayabana, Kyamukubu, and Nyabusesa Sub Counties”.
Mr. Kahuma also indicated the challenges that are faced by builders. “As builders, we are facing challenges like exploitation by our employees. This is caused by the nature of our work that lacks employment letters, which has led to poor or no payments after accomplishment of work. We also don’t have any forum that can unite us to protect our rights”.
Meanwhile, Mr. Mukwano also participated in the live radio discussion by appealing to the local citizens to monitor their services. “Local citizens have to understand that it’s their role to monitor services being delivered by their local leaders.  There is also a campaign of signing a petition to parliament against the new proposal of taxing agricultural inputs. This campaign is meant to protect local citizens who will be at a risk of food security in case prices of agricultural products hike”.
Local listeners also participated in the live radio discussion through call ins and using the SMS plat form to raise their issues and concerns. “The builders have to work with the ministry of works, so that laws and policies are improved and strengthened”, said Richard, “The money that the government is proposing to give to the war veterans is too little”, said Bashir from Mbarara District.
The live radio discussion was moderated by Mr. Kasigazi Willy Donanto and issupported by SIDA/CIPESA and SPIDER/Stockholm University on a project aimed at using appropriate ICT tools to promote democratic engagement in the Rwenzori Region, Western Uganda.

ToroDev/RJF Holds Another Press Conference

On 8th August 2014, ToroDev in Partnership with Rwenzori Journalist Forum held another regional press conference in Fort Portal town, Kabarole District. The regional monthly press conference initiative aims at improving service delivery through advocacy and promoting timely accountability in the seven districts of the Rwenzori Region. The press conference was attended by Hon Alex Ruhunda, the Member of Parliament of Fort Portal Municipality, Hon Mugisa Herbert, Chairperson South Division in Fort Portal Municipality and members of Rwenzori Journalist Forum.

During the conference, Hon Alex appealed to members of RJF to act as a tool in marketing the Rwenzori Region. “Media is the strongest weapon that we have in our region. The media should therefore market our region and also take part in realizing peace in this region, through joining hands in solving the current cultural differences so that peace is stabilized in the Rwenzori Region”.
Hon Alex further gave accountability concerning Fort Portal Municipality. “Over 96% power average has been attained in Fort Portal Municipality, places like Bulyanyenje, Kyabukonkoni, Mukubo, among others have all received power. We have lobbied six billion from the central government to work on our roads, and this money is already on our bank account to also construct a bypass that will run through Kataraka-Kyegobe-Kasese Road”.
Hon Mugisa also highlighted the achievements from his office to the local people of South Division. “We introduced the bursary scheme that is meant to support vulnerable children who cannot manage the costs of higher institutions of learning. We pay half of their tuition until the course is accomplished. In the past three years, ten students have been supported, and some have already finished school”.
Hon Mugisa further gave accountability concerning the NAADS and Health sectors. “Under the production‘s office, twenty two homes received agricultural in puts, and eighteen heifers have so far been distributed since 2011. Under the health sector, two health center III’s were constructed in Mucwa and Kasusu, and a water tank was also constructed at Kasusu Health Center III”.
Meanwhile, Hon Alex appealed to members of RJF to always engage local leaders in giving accountability to the local citizens. “As RJF, it should be your mandate to always engage leaders in giving accountability to local citizens and also be a voice to the voiceless. You should also monitor services being delivered by your leaders. Leaders should also know that citizens elected us to serve them, therefore, we need to guide them on how to fight poverty and not keep them in poverty”.
The Press conferences are supported by NED, SIDA/CIPESA on a project aimed at using radio and social media to improve service delivery and accountability in the Rwenzori Region, Western Uganda.

ICT and Governance in East Africa: Methodology

By Varyanne Sika.

Our study on ICT and Governance in East Africa which is made possible by the generous support of SIDA and SPIDERexplores the ways in which ICT tools can/have successfully facilitated or hindered two way interaction between government and citizens towards reducing the cost of delivering public services, curbing corruption and increasing transparency and accountability. We are also looking into the innovative ICT initiatives that have facilitated the interaction between citizens and governments, as well as the (de)motivations for utilizing ICT tools among the various stakeholders (citizens, governments, civil society and the general public).

AN INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY CAN BE FOUND HERE.

his study is a qualitative audit of ICT initiatives and tools used in governance in East Africa. We are particularly focussing on the following four areas of governance:

–       Access to information

–       Service Delivery by Government

–       Tracking Corruption

–       Civic Participation (transparency and accountability)

A DISCUSSION ON THE STUDY SITES CAN BE FOUND HERE.

Our study began with an exploratory study to gather data on which ICT tools and initiatives exist in East Africa and categorized them according to the stakeholder behind or driving the initiative, the purpose of the tool and the country in which the tool is found. This was done through crowdsourcing on social media and online spaces, and within the iHub networks as well as the ICT4Democracy East Africa Network. The matrix below contains the tools and initiatives we found in the exploratory study.

Matrix

CLICK HERE FOR A PDF VERSION.

Note: These tools and initiatives were identified through crowdsourcing. We will share the final matrix of tools and initiatives that we will have identified in this study in our final report. If you know of more tools that we should look into, please share with us through this form.

The findings from the exploratory study informed our collection of primary data from the three East African Countries.

We are using semi-structured interviews to collect information from both CSOs and Government institutions or departments that are running some of the ICT tools and initiatives we identified both through crowdsourcing and desk research. In each country we aim to conduct at least 10 interviews with CSOs and at least 3 interviews with Government institutions. Further, we are conducting at least 2 focus group discussions of at least 8 participants each in each of the three East African countries.

Findings from this study will be disseminated to the East African governments, Civil Societies, developers and citizens. Recommendations based on the findings will be drawn and shared with relevant stakeholders in ICT for Governance in the region.

Having successfully conducted our first round of fieldwork in Uganda (Kampala, Apac and Lira), we will soon be sharing our preliminary findings from interviews and focus group discussions with Ugandan citizens.

ToroDev’s Johnstone Kumaraki gives a Press Release on the Launch of the ToroDev/RJF Monthly Press Conference & Tracfm Polling Initiative on June 26th, 2014 at ToroDev Office, Fort Portal

ToroDev with support from National Endowment for Democracy & the Swedish Program for ICT in Developing Regions (SPIDER) supported the initiation of the Rwenzori Journalists’ Forum in 2012. This broadcast and print media forum has been, since two years, re-organizing itself to become a viable, relevant and independent institution to champion the voices of local citizens in the Rwenzori region.  Also to note is that, ToroDev, in partnership with Rwenzori Journalist Forum (RJF) ToroDev has also been training radio journalists selected from the 13 FM radio stations based and broadcasting in seven districts of the region on promoting public accountability for improved service delivery broadcasting.

Moreover, with support from SIDA and the ICT4Democracy Network in East Africa, ToroDev visited Northern Uganda Media Club (NUMEC) and were able to learn some of the initiatives NUMEC uses to improve knowledge and information sharing for development. NUMEC conducts regular press conferences at regular intervals attended mostly by local leaders to give accountability and this has proved successful in ensuring good governance through proper accountability at regular intervals. ToroDev has also decided to borrow a leaf and initiate a monthly press conference for this region. It will be attended by local and central government leaders (Ministers, MPs, LCV’s Councilors, LCIII’s, Technocrats, etc) and local citizens for giving updates and receiving accountability for improved service delivery, respectively.
ToroDev, in partnership with Rwenzori Journalist Forum (RJF), have the pleasure to launch this Regional Monthly Press Conference Initiative now, June 26th 2014, to improve service delivery through advocacy and promoting timely accountability in the seven (7) districts of the Rwenzori Region. This press conference will be held on a monthly basis. Leaders at all levels and leaders are all invited to attend every month on a specific date that we shall be announcing. Today, we have held this maiden event here at ToroDev Offices at Plot 46 Mugurusi Road. In future as demand may arise, we might change the venue of this monthly event and communications on radio and other channels would be made in due course.

Today also, we have a great opportunity to launch the Tracfm Polling Initiative in partnership with Tracfm, a non-profit ICT for Development Organisation based in Kampala and The Netherlands. This initiative will allow local citizens to interact with their leaders on issues that really matter to then as far as service delivery is concerned. It is totally a cost-free Citizen-leader interaction on the side of the local population. ToroDev and Tracfm are responsible to meeting the cost of this interaction. What the local person needs to do is to listen to a local FM radio station every day and get the issue/topic/question being discussed, and then send his opinion/comment to ToroDev and partners. They will collect this data together; publish this information and what the majority people in a community/district/sub-county will be saying will be forwarded to the specific leaders for attention.

Local leaders in Kasese District Trained in e-Governance

This month, the Collaboration on International ICT Policy in East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) and the E-Society Resource Centre Kasese trained local leaders in Kasese district in the use of ICTs for improved governance and service delivery. During the March 20-21 2014 workshop, local leaders of the western Uganda district were also trained in using ICTs for information sharing and promoting citizen participation.

Speaking at the workshop, District Information Officer John Thawite urged local leaders to break away from the culture of secrecy and work in accordance with the 2005 Uganda Access to Information Act. “Meaningful participation in democratic processes requires informed participants hence the need for increased access to information,” he said.

However, Mr. Thawite noted some challenges to better access to information: poor facilitation for information officers, lack of ICT tools to process information requests, the Official Secrets Act of 1964 which bars public servants from releasing certain information, and poor coordination of information systems between departments.

During introductory sessions, participants were introduced to the basic elements of computer use, the internet and information security. Later, they were introduced to the concept of e-governance and its role in improving service delivery. The training included an interaction with the district e-government tools such as the district portal (www.kasese.go.ug), district discussion group (https://dgroups.org/iicd/kasese), E-library for district e-resources (https://elibrary.kasese.go.ug) and the district news portal (https://kasesenews.blogspot.com/).

The workshop also sought to enhance the leaders’ capability to engage with citizens through social media, and illustrated how this engagement could contribute to improved services delivery. According to Alexa.com, Facebook, Twitter, blog post and youtube are among the top ten accessed websites in Uganda and their potential in catalysing citizen participation in governance was emphasised.

Leaders were further encouraged to use the Rwenzururu facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/nokasesesplit/) created in 2012 by community members in Kasese during a CIPESA citizen journalism training to discuss prevailing issues in the region..

Participants welcomed the training with one saying that he would henceforth be able to get access more information about various operations of the government through the various e-governance platforms shared. Another participant asked the e-society Resource Centre to work with heads of departments so that they always send their budgets, minutes of meetings, work plans and other communication to the e-platforms.

CIPESA has since 2011 spearheaded the iParticipate Uganda project. Through grassroots based ICT access centres in Eastern, Western and Northern Uganda, CIPESA creates awareness and builds the capacity and skills of citizens, media and local government to leverage ICTs to catalyse civic participation, democracy monitoring and access to information in Uganda. The E-society Resource Center Kasese is CIPESA’s western region partner. The centre provides support, promotes ICT literacy and the use of ICT for transparency in the Kasese local government.

Article complied by Mr. Samuel Mumbere – E-Society Resource Centre Kasese and Ms. Lillian Nalwoga – CIPESA 

Project Results and Lessons Learned 2011 – 2013

We are pleased to share some of our partner project results for the period June 2011 – December 2013. For purposes of communicating the results from these projects as well as The Swedish Programme for ICT in Developing Regions (Spider)’s own experience with working with catalytic seed funding modality, evaluations of all partner projects are under way.

Three partner  evaluations subjected to theoretical readings have been finalized and we are pleased to publish these reports for the purpose of furthering the growth of the field of ICT4D.

  1. Results and lessons learned iHub Research December 2013
  2. Results and lessons learned Kenya Human Rights Commission December 2013
  3. Results and lessons learned Women of Uganda Network December 2013

More reports are in the pipeline.

New Spider Research Publication on ICT4D in East Africa

The publication “ICT for Anti-corruption, Democracy and Education in East Africa” is the first product of the Swedish Programme for ICT in Developing Region (Spider)’s Research Related to Projects initiative which was devised and first implemented in 2012.

Connecting research directly to Spider supported projects aims to establish a closer connection between ICT4D research and ICT4D practice. The support allows ICT4D researchers in Sweden, in collaboration with researchers and practitioners in partner countries, to carry out research on ongoing ICT4D projects. This has generated research that can contribute more directly to development work, and provide a substantial contribution to poverty reduction and other development goals. The publication covers three thematic areas: anti-corruption, democracy and education. The six contributions span from ethnographic descriptions and analyses to explorations of collaborative design and evaluation of the achievement of set capacity building goals from the capability approach.

The volume is edited by Dr Katja Sarajeva, Program Manager at Spider.

Download the publication here.

ICT4Democracy In East Africa Newsletter August 2013

Read about how The Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRAGG) in Tanzania takes SMS to the citizens to strengthen human rights. The newsletter also includes articles on “Health Service Delivery”, “Empowering rural communities through ICTs”, and “Fostering community empowerment through ICTs for service delivery and community participation”, among other things. The Spider ICT4Democracy in East Africa Network is premised on the recognition that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) enhances communication and the right to freedom of expression, as well as the right to seek, receive and impart information.

In this respect, ICT has the potential to increase citizens’ participation in decision-making processes, thus strengthening democratisation. The network is facilitated by The Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA), based in Uganda. Participating project partners come from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

Download the Newsletter here.

 

 

WOUGNET Conducts awareness raising for New Upscale Project in Tororo, Eastern Uganda

WOUGNET with financial support from the Swedish Program for ICT support to Developing Countries (Spider) conducted awareness raising meetings in the District of Tororo and Busia in Eastern Uganda from the 23rd -27th of September 2013. The awareness meetings was aimed at introducing the new project to the district and mapping stakeholders and partners to be involved in the Project.

The Senior Program Officer, Gender and ICT Policy Advocacy, Ms. Goretti Z. Amuriat met a number of District leaders including the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) and the Chief Administrative Officer of Busia, Mr. Okumu Christopher and briefed them about the SPIDER Upscale project in their offices last week. Mr. Okumu said that he believes that it will be one of the best projects in his district and since it is targeting mainly women, he is so happy about it and welcomes it to Busia

Chief Administrative Officer, Busia speaks to the WOUGNET Program Head in Eastern Uganda

Meanwhile, the Resident District Commissioner, Tororo decried the state of Corruption and mismanagement of public resources in the district as well as poor active engagement of local people in holding their leaders accountable and welcomed the new project with open arms.

WOUGNET received financial support from Spider to implement projects aimed at promoting Citizen participation for improved social service deliveries through use of ICTs. This Project was originally piloted in Northern Uganda districts of Apac, Kole, Gulu, Oyam and Amuru/

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