Building capacity of rural monitors to promote transparency and accountability

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In July 2011, Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) received funding from SPIDER to implement a project entitled empowering local communities to monitor district service delivery using ICTs. The SPIDER project led to the formation of a committee named Voluntary Social Accountability Committees (VSACs) in the five districts of Apac, Oyam, Kole, Gulu and Amuru all in northern Uganda. SPIDER project however ended in July 2013 but the committees has continuously involved themselves in monitoring, reporting and demanding for improved service delivery from their local leaders in their respective districts.

WOUGNET has yet received grants from SIDA to support the work of the rural monitors in the five target districts. SIDA grants is a one year governance project supporting WOUGNET to build capacity of the voluntary social accountability commitees in the five target districts of Apac, Oyam, Kole, Gulu and Amuru to effectively monitor, report, demand for effective and improved government programs.

The project facilitates VSACs’ quarterly meetings – quarterly meetings is a forum where respective VSACs and the WOUGNET field staff sit to discuss issues of good governance, service delivery, accountability and transparency among others that the respective committee monitored and reported during the course of the quarter under review.

SIDA  grants will also support two radio talk-shows every quarter during the project period. One radio talk-show will be held in Apac and Radio Apac FM (92.9) will host while the second radio talk-show will be held in Gulu and Radio Mega (102) will host. The two radio stations have been chosen due to the past collaboration that WOUGNET and the two radio stations developed and because of the wider coverage and high number of listeners the two stations have in the region.

Other activities that will be implemented under SIDA include district engagement meetings on a quarterly basis. During this forum, the key district leaders that will be involved include the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), District L C IV, Resident District Commissioner (RDC), District Education Officer (DEO), District Engineer and District Health Officer (DHO) among others in the respective districts. This forum will create a platform where the respective invited district leaders will respond to some of the governance issues the VSACs monitored and reported during the period under review and how and when they will address the raised concerns.

Under this project, the VSACs will also be equipped with mobile phones – 30 mobile phones will be distributed to the respective VSACs. Each district will receive around six new mobile phones that has camera, audio and video recording program and internet function to support their effort during monitoring and reporting of poor service delivery and bad governance issues in their respective parishes.

In a nutshell, SIDA activities has kicked off this month – February 2014 with  quarterly meetings covering the districts of Apac and Kole while for Oyam, Gulu and Amuru will be conducted in the months of March and April 2014. Update of how SIDA project activities is being implemented and the governance issues reported by the VSACs will posted shared on KIC and WOUGNET facebook page and WOUGNET twitter account.

 

By

Egwel Gilbert

Project Assistant at Kubere Information Center, Apac District