National Conference on Good Governance and Accountability Through use of ICTs
Uganda currently stands at a population that shoots to over thirty million people, and it has become seemingly okay that more than half of these are utmost ignorant about even the minimum service delivery standards in their country.
During the recently concluded National conference on good governance and accountability through use of ICTs, organized by Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) on 2nd October, 2014, an over view of Uganda’s service delivery standard was first priority by Geoffrey Okullo of The Apac Anti Corruption Coalition. Geoffrey set the mood for all the attendees with an explicit presentation on the Minimum standards of service delivery in Uganda.
The conference was graced by the presence of government representatives, participants from various organizations such as I-Network Uganda, Toro Dev, WOPA-U, CEEWA-U, ACCU, and NACWOLA among others. Different media were also a witnessing part of the conference, and all these had their eyes out on the different activities done by WOUGNET in partnership with Collaboration on International ICT policy in East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) on the move to change the face of governance and state of accountability in Uganda through the use of ICTs.
Brenda Akite Otiika, the Rural Project Manager of WOUGNET gave an overview of the different projects undertaken by the organization in a bid to ensure good governance and accountability. These projects are as named below;
- Promoting and strengthening citizens’ participation and demand for accountability in public service delivery through use of ICTs-Busia, Palisa and Tororo.
- Monitoring good governance and service delivery-Apac, Kole, Oyam, Gulu and Amuru
- Strengthening citizens’ capacity to monitor and report for improved service delivery using innovative ICTs-Apac, Kole, Oyam.
- Taking the applied approaches, methodologies and lessons learnt from the previous project-empowering local people to demand for improved service delivery through ICTs.
Miss Bukare Agnes, the project officer Eastern Uganda from WOUGNET then zeroed down to particular findings, achievements and challenges of the project: Promoting and strengthening citizens’ participation to demand accountability and transparency in public service delivery through the use of ICTs.
Mr Johnstone Baguma from Toro Dev then stole the show with his presentation on their (Toro Dev) experience on Gender and Citizen Engagement. He capitalized on the aspect of mainstreaming issues in service delivery and also encouraged the use of social media as a means of citizen engagement since it provides for instant feedback during the communication process.
In a steadfast move of events, Nalwoga Lillian the representative of CIPESA gave a quick presentation of the works done by the organization towards achieving good governance and accountability in the country. This was followed by demonstrations of online platforms used in good governance and accountability which was done by the Program Manager – Information sharing and Networking at WOUGNET, Mr. Owiny Moses.The conference was characterized by plenary discussions in between sessions which birthed a number of ideas, questions, comments and suggestions some of which are as pasted below;
- A concerned member inquired on what can be done about girls cooking during class time and late coming.
- Another member encouraged that the community people should be mobilized to collect resources to solve some of their problems E.g. borehole repairs. He cited an example and thanked WOUGNET for awakening citizens.
- A particular member sought assurance about the fact that the VSACs are directly in charge of resources collected by natives in order to minimize corruption. This is because VSACs have become trusted agents in their communities.
- A participant complained about the unrealistic policies in some health centres. Eg the prohibition of coming with more than one mat in some health centers.
- A participant from I-Network advised that the VSAACs could also go ahead and visit people in their homes where it is convenient for them (natives) to tell the truth without fear. This could help the VSAACs ensure improved service delivery.
All the above was capped by closing remarks from Mr. Jimmy Okello of Apac Radio who thanked participants for gracing the third National Conference organized by WOUGNET and also called upon increased participation in the future conferences. A closing prayer from one of the participants put the icing to the cap of the conference.
Written by Watsemba Miriam.