In Oyam and Kiboga, like most districts in Uganda, local citizens continue to struggle to access quality health care and education. Hospitals and health centers still grapple with drug stock outs, small numbers of staff, poor equipment and facilities. Schools still contend with poor facilities, limited and unmotivated staff, and inadequate funding yet this has had an adverse impact on the performance of the school. For instance, only 86 pupils and 106 pupils passed in division one in the 2015 Primary Leaving Examinations in Oyam and Kiboga districts respectively.
As part of the activities under the Governance, Accountability, Participation and Performance project (GAPP), 60 civil society and private sector actors were identified and trained. Subsequently, they conducted monitoring visits to document the state of service delivery in health and education sectors in their respective districts. The findings from these monitoring visits revealed a lack of female teachers in schools, poor staff housing and absenteeism in the schools, the health centers were inadequately staffed and poorly equipped. These emerging issues informed engagements with key stakeholders and community members both at district and national level.
Building on these activities, ACFODE conducted mentoring and follow up sessions for the civil society and private sector actors. The mentoring and follow up sessions aimed at measuring progress, improving the capacity of the civil society and private sector actors to monitor, document issues in the health and education sectors in their communities.
Helen Twongyeirwe, an ACFODE member taking participants through a session in Oyam District
The Civil society and Private sector actors in the two districts highlighted the monitoring activities carried out, achievements and challenges that continue to face the health and education sectors in their sub counties.
In Kiboga district the monitors reported increased community awareness on available health services. This is evidenced through increased number of pregnant women who seek antenatal care, increased – immunization of children and improved nutritional status of children.
There is also increased number of cases testing for HIV/AIDS, women seeking and utilizing family planning methods and improved hygiene and sanitation in the community. “…previously, people only went to the health center when they had serious health complications, but now more people go to the health center for services such as immunization, HIV tests; the community is better informed”-Arinaitwe Christine CS Actor Lwamata s/c.
Community members are more aware about the importance of education and thus many children are being sent to school. “I now understand why we fail to get first grades in primary seven; one reason is the laxity of the head teachers, teachers and parents, but after several engagements with ACFODE I realized that it is my responsibility as an actor to sensitize parents through civic education sessions the importance of keeping girls and boys in school.”-Bulamu Josia, CS, Kibiga s/c Kiboga District.
Kiboga Civil Society and Private Sector Actors in a group work session
In Oyam district, the monitors reported that the health center has seen more pregnant mothers delivering at the health centre. The health center also offers immunization services for all children from 0 – 5 years of age which was not the case before. “I used to move from Lira to Aboke to immunize my child but now the services are near…”-Akello Eunice–CS Actor, Aleka Sub county.
The parents and teachers were reminded that they each had a stake in the school and therefore needed to support both the school and the pupils for better performance. “Before the meeting, the poor performance of my child was always the teacher’s fault, I’m now able to understand the challenges teachers face and I will contribute the PTA activities more willingly”-Atala Lillian, Ngai s/c.
The Civil Society and Private Sector Actors have developed confidence thereby being able to monitor and report to the sub county and district leadership including other relevant stakeholders. The monitors have also earned the trust and support of the district leadership especially when it involves matters concerning community well being. “Our voices are respected; the community members know that when we speak the leaders will listen…”-Kiva Nelson, Radio Kiboga
A number of the community monitors have gone a step further to stand for elective positions in the upcoming General Elections. “After several engagements with the citizens through the civic education sessions- I have realized that local leaders play a huge role in service delivery and I’m now contesting in the General Elections to be a LC V councilor Aleka sub county…” -Munu Daniel Douglas, CS Actor, Oyam District.
The monitors also reported a change in their attitude towards monitoring service delivery and an increased appreciation for their role as civil society and private sector actors in improving the lives of people in the community. “Following the information on the budget tracking website- I go to the sub county to review the implementation vis-à-vis the amount allocated to the sub county, I understand that it is my responsibility.”-Raymond Ouma, CS Actor Kibiga Sub County, Kiboga District.
As a way forward, the monitors noted that there was still great need for continuous sensitization of the communities on matters of health and education including their rights and responsibilities. To that end, there would be more concern and active participation by community members as these sectors greatly affect their lives.
Human Rights & Governance Department