With funding from United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Governance, Accountability, Participation, and Performance Programme (GAPP), Action for Development launched a new project in Oyam and Kiboga districts. The project: Empowering Local Citizens for Transformative Engagement in Local Government, aims at contributing to an enabling environment for government accountability that fosters active participation and access of poor communities to government services in Uganda.
Targeting Civil Society and Private Sector actors in the two districts, the project will be implemented in partnership with Recreation for Development and Peace (RDP Uganda) in Oyam while in Kiboga the partner is Action for Rural Women’s Empowerment (ARUWE).
Speaking at the Project Launch in Kiboga District, the Local Council five Chairperson Mr. Yiga Israel welcomed the project to the district. He said health, education, water and roads are key areas which needed a lot of effort and that he was glad that the project is focusing on mainly education and health. He noted that Kiboga had for the last three years realized an improvement in the academic performance of students and pupils; namely; in 2010 Kiboga had 34 first grades, 2011 had 81 and in 2012 186 and that Kiboga used to be in position 95 country wide but today its number 50 which showed progress in the education sector.
A cross section of participants pose for a photo at the Project Launch in Oyam
Participants agreed that community sensitization is very important; “the people that we think are oppressed, oppress themselves for example when we go for school inspection; the school authorities do not tell us exactly what is happening. They only say transfer the teacher which doesn’t help”, said Mr. Ogwal Simon Peter, Inspector of schools.
“Before we can ask what Government can do for us, before we ask what ACFODE can do for us; we should ask what we can do for our communities…” advised Ms. Atto Connie Ogwang a civil society actor district in Oyam district at the launch of the project in Oyam District.
Ms Josephine Kasaija, Board Member Action for Development in her remarks said that she was glad to be in Oyam district, at the launch of this project. She noted that this project was particularly important because it involved citizens’ participation in the education and health sectors-sectors which affect everyday lives of all people in the community. She added that when we talk about local governance, we are specific to gender; that is we want to see how women are participating, and most importantly benefiting their involvement in this project.
She requested the participants to use the project to take governance as their collective responsibility and reminded the stakeholders to reflect the key contributions to the district and to the lives of the people in Oyam district and beyond.
In Kiboga District, while ACFODE was appreciated for politically empowering women and engaging in governance processes, a request was made to introduce topics on economic empowerment for women leaders (current and aspiring). This was suggested in light of the current monetization of politics which has negatively affected the full participation and representation of women in politics.
It was also observed by one of the stakeholders that community members in Kiboga especially the youth generally have a negative attitude towards meetings and development initiatives. Alternative methods such as radio talk shows and related programmes were thus suggested as ways of getting the message across to the youth.
Participants pledged to support and actively, participate in the project activities and hoped that in future, ACFODE and USAID Uganda would consider extending the project to more sub counties and even opening a field office in Kiboga District.
Human Rights and Governance Department