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WOUGNET Accountability and Governance Projects implemented from 2011-2020

Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) implemented   Projects in Northern Uganda and Eastern Uganda that promoted good governance, transparency, and accountability through the use of ICTs to improve service delivery in communities.  The projects were supported by partners that included the Swedish Program for ICT in Developing Regions (SPIDER), Indigo Trust, and the Swedish Program for International Development (SIDA).  The projects were a response to poor service provision that was being experienced at the local government level in governance, administration, and implementation of various projects that led to misuse and misallocation of resources, resulting in poor service provision. The projects complemented the local government in monitoring government projects and programs by providing a platform where the citizens (rights holders) would engage their leaders (duty bearers) and hold them accountable for the services provided. Monitoring poor service delivery was done by citizens at the community level who were structured into small groups called Voluntary Social Accountability Committees (VSACs) located at the Parish level. 

In 2011 WOUGNET received her first funding from the Swedish Program in Developing Region (SPIDER) to implement a project titled “Empowering Local Women to demand for improved service delivery through ICTs in Northern Uganda.” The project was implemented in five districts Apac, Kole, Oyam, Gulu, and Amuru. The project sought to strengthen the capacity of local grassroots people to enable them to monitor service delivery and fight corruption through exposure to poor services provided. The project had three objectives; 

  1. Create awareness of the need for good governance and effective service delivery
  2. Build capacity in ICTs for information gathering, packaging, and dissemination
  3. Document and disseminate grassroots voices on corruption and poor service delivery.  

The project was implemented for two years and has notable results in advocating for improved service delivery in the communities. The project in 2012 received a World Democracy Innovation award that was presented at the World Forum for Democracy by the Council of Europe. The project was upscaled in Eastern Uganda in a new Project called “Strengthening Citizen Participation and Demand for Accountability in Public Service Delivery” taking the applied approaches, methodologies, and lessons learned from the previous project to a new area. This was a one-year project supported by SPIDER in 2014. The project’s overall outcome was local people especially women empowered to monitor district service delivery through the use of ICTs.

Activities implemented included:   

  1. Awareness raising of the need to have good governance and effective service delivery.
  2. Capacity building of the public and community-based organizations (CBOs) in ICT skills in collecting, reporting, and information dissemination using different platforms such as websites, social network platforms, radio talks, face-to-face meetings, print materials, and documentaries.
  3. Partner with other Civil Society Organizations in addressing good governance to share information on lessons learned.

In 2016, SPIDER supported another project titled “Strengthening effective use and efficient use of ICTs and Women Socio-economic Empowerment to promote accountability and transparency for improved service delivery”.  The overall project goal was to promote accountability and transparency for democratic governance through Effective and efficient use of ICTs. The project was implemented for two years in six districts in Uganda i.e.  Oyam, Gulu, Amuru, Busitema, Tororo, and Pallisa.

The project objectives were:

  1. Strengthen the effective and efficient use of ICTs to promote citizen participation in exercising their human rights to demand  for accountability  and transparency for democracy and good governance
  2. Enhance in-depth community engagement for improved duty bearer’s responsiveness to community concerns over public service delivery
  3. Promote research-based project interventions into the use of ICTs for democratic governance
  4. Instigate Women socio-economic empowerment strategies within the project intervention program

The project activities implemented included;

  1. Conducting an inception meeting with local district leaders and a baseline study
  2. Reporting poor service delivery issues through the SMS platform, mobile phones, and meetings
  3. Training leaders and Voluntary Social Accountability Committees (VSACs) on how to use ICTs to report poor service delivery
  4. Conducting quarterly VSAC meetings, community meetings, and district engagement meetings 
  5. Conduct radio talk shows 
  6. Conduct socio-economic empowerment training in entrepreneurship, and product-making skills   for women   entrepreneurs 
  7. Monitor progress and assess results

More funds were received by WOUGNET from Indigo Trust UK to support 4 projects that were implemented for one year each in Northern Uganda in the districts of Apac, Kole, and Oyam from 2012-2018.  The project’s main purpose was to improve service delivery through ICTs by promoting good governance and accountability.

The projects were:

  1. Strengthening citizen capacity to monitor and report for improved service delivery using innovative ICTs (2012)

The main objective of the project was to strengthen the Voluntary Social Accountability Committees to demand for improved service delivery.

The specific objectives were:

  • Strengthen the capacity of VSACs to effectively monitor and report poor governance issues in communities
  • Document   and disseminate voices of grass root communities so as to raise   awareness and advocate for improved service delivery
  • Build engagement with local authorities and other stakeholders in governance issues and service delivery
  1. Enhance civic engagement and accountability for improved service delivery   using ICTs (2014)

The main objective of the project was to strengthen civic engagement and accountability for improved service delivery through use of ICTs.

The specific objectives were to:

  • Build capacity of duty bearers in the use of ICTs to effectively engage with citizens
  • To strengthen citizen engagement with duty bearers at the Sub-county, district, and national level for improved service delivery
  • To document and disseminate   voices of the grass root communities on corruption and poor service delivery so as to raise awareness and advocate    for   improved  service delivery
  1.   Strengthening use of ICTs and social media for citizen engagement and improved service delivery (2016)

The main objective of the project was to deepen civic engagement and improve social service delivery through use of ICTs and social media.

The specific objectives were to:

  • Adapt an existing SMS   platform called   M-Omulimisa and integrate it with Ushahidi to strengthen community engagement with duty-bearers in addressing poor service delivery
  • Strengthen use of online media platforms for advocacy and civic engagement 
  • Document and disseminate voices of grass root communities on corruption and poor service delivery
  1.    Enhance effective use of ICTs and social media for citizen engagement  with leaders for improved service delivery in Northern Uganda (2018)

The specific objectives were:

  • To strengthen the use of SMS platforms and social media to report and advocate   for improved service delivery
  • To provide a forum for citizen engagement with their leaders for accountability   and transparency in service delivery provision
  • To document and disseminate voices of the grass root communities in corruption and poor service delivery using ICTs  for wide coverage

WOUGNET received more funds from the Swedish Program for International Development (Sida) to implement projects in Northern Uganda and Eastern Uganda “Promoting citizen engagement with leaders for Accountability and Transparency and service delivery”.  This was a two-year project from 2015 to 2016.  The project’s overall goal was to improve leaders’ responsiveness for accountability and transparency in public service delivery.

The project objectives were:

  • To empower the community to hold leaders accountable and transparent in public service delivery through civic engagement with leaders
  • To improve leaders’ responsiveness to community concerns over public service delivery
  • To document  and publish poor service delivery issues and actions for public debate to improve   service delivery

The second Sida funded Project was called “Promote effective use of ICTs for citizen engagement with leaders to improve accountability and transparency in public service delivery in Eastern Uganda in the districts of Pallisa, Tororo, and Busia.  The project was implemented for  5 years (2017-2021). The project objectives were to:

  1. Grow the capacity (access, skills, and knowledge) of civic groups (women PWDs, PLWAs) Voluntary Social Accountability Committees (VSACs), and the media to use ICTs effectively   for accessing and sharing information, advocating and raising   awareness    on service, equality, the right to information and free speech
  2. Foster transparency and accountability through interactive citizens and leaders’ engagements using a mix of ICT tools   and traditional media
  3. Improve stakeholders i.e. media, CSOs, and duty bearers understanding of the commitments to democratization and human rights towards sustainable development and improved livelihoods

  Project activities included:

  1. Administering an SMS platform called M-Omulimisa that was used to document poor service delivery reported by citizens and disseminate poor service delivery issues to their leaders.
  2. Built capacity of ICT skills among the leaders and citizens to enable them to effectively report poor service delivery through the use of ICTs.
  3.   Provided a forum through   community meetings, and district meetings at the parish and district levels where citizens engaged with their leaders on poor service delivery issues   in their communities and the need to address them
  4. Disseminated poor service delivery issues through radio and social media (Facebook and Twitter)
  5. Training of civic groups: VSACs, CSOs, community radio representatives on existing laws on democratization principles and human rights, citizen journalists, lobbying advocacy, and public service delivery.

Impact created by the projects/achievements

The projects were implemented in 8 districts in Uganda and some   of the notable project achievements were:

  • Improved monitoring of community development projects by the local people (VSACs)
  • Sharing and reporting of poor service   delivery issues   to leaders and technical   officers improved, resulting in addressing poor service delivery in communities
  • The projects led to the increased and embracing use of ICTs, use of SMS platforms, use of mobile phones, use of cameras, and radios to report, document, and disseminate poor service delivery issues.
  • There was increased advocacy for accountability and transparency in utilization of public resources from community members to leaders in all engagements made and through radio talk shows and social media
  • There was improved general understanding of government planning and budgeting of government projects
  • There was an increase in legal awareness among the citizens, especially the VSACs
  • There was improved performance by the leaders (duty bearers) as they played   their roles and responsibilities in delivering services to communities, hence resulting in improved service provision such as road constructions in communities, rehabilitation of broken water sources and bridges
  • There was improved performance in the education sector, with reduced teacher absenteeism and improved performance in Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE).
  • There was socio-economic empowerment of women, as they acquired   entrepreneurship skills and legal literacy skills that enabled them to generate income by setting up income-generating activities and be able to defend their rights in communities
  • There was improved mobile banking by women entrepreneurs through mobile phones, those who acquired skills in ICT use and application
  • The government officials/local leaders adopted the project’s approaches and lessons and applied them in implementing their activities e.g. providing forums such as  Barazas where community members and leaders would meet and discuss service delivery.

Compiled by

Goretti Zavuga Amuriat – Program Manager

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