In the past year, ACFODE in partnership with the Governance, Accountability, Participation, and Performance (GAPP) Programme has been implementing a project titled: Empowering Local Citizens for Transformative Engagement in Local Governance. The overall project goal is to contribute to an enabling environment for government accountability in Uganda that fosters active participation and access of poor communities to government services.
As part of the project activities, community members, civil society and private sector actors in the project districts of Oyam and Kiboga were trained on their rights, entitlements and responsibilities and to monitor service delivery in the health and education sectors. A breakfast meeting was therefore held to share the findings-compiled into a position paper- from the monitoring exercises and the emerging issues to solicit commitment from key stakeholders in addressing them.
The position paper highlighted the challenges faced in the health and education sectors in the two districts and these included: lack of female teachers in schools, high rate of girls’ dropout, poor staff housing and mismanagement of UPE funds. In the health sector, the paper pointed out the unavailability of drugs in health centers, poor facilities and inadequate staff.
Ms. Helen Twongyeirwe presents the position paper
Speaking at the event, Mr. Mulindwa Ismael from the Ministry of Education, Science Technology and Sports pointed out that education is a decentralized service so it is handled at the district level, and therefore the issues that arose can be handled at that level. On the small number of female teachers, he said, “More women were trained as teachers, so where are they? As civil society working in the district, you need to do more research on this as it ultimately affects the numbers of female teachers in the schools.”
Ms. Margaret Rwabashaija, the chairperson UNATU contributes to the discussion
Ms. Margaret Kasiko from the Ministry of Education said there was need for more assessment, more research for example in regard to the high number of girls dropping out of school, she said the research could focus on whether they move to other schools or even get married, in that way the different stakeholders would understand the root causes of dropout of girls and put in place measures to address them.
A section of the participants were of the view that communities need to move away from ‘government should’ to ‘I/We should’ when it comes to service delivery, especially when it came to the running of schools. It is the parents responsibility to ensure that children are attending classes, have scholastic materials have a meal at school, “…the government cannot do that for you, we really need to change people’s mindsets” added Mr. Maxwell Kamanyire from the British Council.
Mr. Maxwell Kamanyire from the British Council contributes to the discussion
Ms. Joan Kilande from HEPS-Uganda said that the Health Unit Management Committees are almost defunct and these were essential in the day to day running of the health centers. There is need to work with them to educate them on their roles and responsibilities.
Ms. Nansamba Immaculate a community monitor from Kiboga district
As the meeting drew to a close, all participants present agreed that the provision of quality health and education services is a job that needs the collective efforts of all stakeholders including government, the civil society, private sector and most importantly the local citizens. Establishing regular spaces and platforms where duty bearers and the community interface for remedy of the challenges in these key social sectors is vital in enabling citizen participation in local governance and improving service delivery.
Ms. Regina Bafaki, Executive Director gives the closing remarks
Human Rights & Governance Department