Wednesday, May 18, 2016

ENSURING EVERY COIN COUNT: RWECO FINANCE OFFICE RETOOLING WORKSHOP

Governance and Accountability has a cost attached in form of training and equipping staff with the right tools and skills. While, its easy to fault other systems, at RWECO we have walked the talk by retooling and equipping Finance Officers with the current accounting packages. A seasoned Finance Consultant with background in  Law and Finance Officer of Rwenzori Anti-Corruption Coalition (RAC), Mr. Dan Katorogo accepted to share his knowledge and skills with the 5 RWECO Finance Officers from: KALI, GHFRD, RIDE AFRICA, RICNET & KGR. It was hands on training in Financial discipline, budget compliance and application of accounting soft ware.
Mr. Dan ( standing right in checked shirt) giving instructions on the next step
RWECO finance officers following the instructions to enter the figures in quick books and generating reports

RWECO

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

THE PRICE OF PEACE IS PEACE- PEACE IN UGANDA IS PEACE IN THE RWENZORI REGION

The price of peace is peace!! The Rwenzori region has been in the news following the post- election violence episodes that have left both citizens and government ask who is responsible for master minding the attacks. I will use this space to write about the need for peace and its relationship to development work.

In the academia and contemporary world, we all talk of peace and development, that has been witnessed in the Rwenzori Region, as we drew near the Easter Season, Kasese district usually celebrates such periods with the world read tourists are usually spotted in the district and that means money has exchanged hands right from the farmer of yellow bananas, dodo, tomatoes, mangoes, name it  to the Hotel operator, and equally entry to the national parks leaves a mark to the people neighboring the protected areas. Government gives back 20% of the gate collections to the communities, but all sectors lost at the height of the attacks as tourists both local and international cancelled their travel plans to the troubled region.

Some scholars argue that out of conflict we forge development, i will argue that its at a cost of loss of lives and property. People are tone apart even fearing their own shadows, conflicts in all its forms is bad; talk of inter state conflict or intra conflicts- the Rwenzori region presents a mix of inter tribal and intra tribal conflicts and print media have reported 40 lives lost. Where are  the children and women at that stage? we see hundreds of women and children in Bundibugyo district struggling for a living yet they have a right to live in a peaceful environment, where is development when thousands of coffee trees, banana plants and cocoa trees are cut down as anger boils to highest level.

As we journey through this hard times, the religious leaders have held ecumenical prayers to preach peace, the cultural leaders are calling on their subjects to live in peaceful co-existence, development practitioners are arguing government to assure them of peace since we need each other to existence as human beings, we need to identify ourselves as Ugandans. The price of Peace is Peace - peace will bread development, conflict will tear away development.

This piece of work is part of the work in progress about the Rwenzori region conflicts
Jimmy B. Odyek
Policy Analysts

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Let the beauty of what you love be what you do



Let the beauty of what you love be what you do:-Rumi
After finishing my university in science in Information Technology at Uganda Martyrs University in May 2015 I took my Internship at RWECO in order to match knowledge and practise of application o IT.   The five month internship period was very interesting with satisfying experience and a best place of its kind in practicing my IT knowledge and getting hands on skills. 
 
Miss Babra Masika Arinaitwe during one o her IT training sessions
At RWECO  I was place at the Kasese district E-society resource centre. Waking up every morning to the thought of sharing knowledge and learning something new is exquisite especially when it involves hands on. During my time at RWECO I learnt more about networking, computer maintenance, soft and hard ware. Like my supervisor normally say, being an Information Technology (IT) specialist is like being a medical doctor, you can’t say you know it all and very perfect because each day is a new learning experience since we face different computer related challenges.
RWECO (Rwenzori Consortium for Civic Competence) is a consortium of four organisations namely: KALI, Good Hope for Rural Development- Kiburara and RICNET, RIDE-AFRICA. RWECO and all the four member organisations were accredited by the electoral commission to observe the presidential and parliamentary elections on 18th February, 2016 and the local government elections that followed. RWECO applied ICT tools to report on the election observations that were done by telephone SMS and the online platform. Where both short term and long term observers reported post-election violence through SMS to 0788929022 and plotted on http://hrcp.or.ug/main. The on line platform also allows reports of any human rights abuse and conflicts in Rwenzori regions.
THE ACTIVITIES PARTICIPATED IN.
On 11th march 2016 I participated in a one day training workshop on ICT-enabled access to information and government accountability by Kasese District Local Government (KDLG) in partnership with Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and South Africa (CIPESA) at Verina Gardens hotel Kasese municipality  
During the training we had different facilitators presenting on issues like; how KDLG promotes access to information, access to information law in Uganda, how ICT is used for citizen participation elsewhere in Uganda.
The power of one, if fearless and focused, is formidable but the power of many working together is better: - Gloria Macapagal
I participated in group work where different questions were discussed in a participatory manner and thereafter presentations were made to the rest of the participants.  Thus: presentations were very impeccable
On 18th March 2016 I participated in a field visit to Kakindo women’s group in Maliba sub county Kasese district with one of the donors of RWECO from the East African children’s Fund. The field trip was led   the coordinator RWECO Mr Baluku Jimmy Odyek with some staff members from RWECO, RIDE Africa, Guide radio. While in maliba we visited Kakindo women’s group demonstration gardens and Nkaiga Primary school.
At Kakindo women’s group we were welcomed and briefed about their activities and objectives which include, but not limited to: creating public awareness on HIV/AIDS through drama and radio talk shows, practising kitchen gardening, involvement in savings and credit scheme and sensitisation against domestic violence.   They conducted a neighbouring  assembly presided over by a speaker where different stake holders in the community like the LC1, police, parents, and other members of the community participated by addressing issues about causes of violence against children at household and community level, how to prevent it and where to report forms of violence against children.
One of the members of Kakindo women group explains how they prepare and plant crops in the kitchen garden using ridges.
They also demonstrated how to make local reusable sanitary pads. The main leading cause of school drop outs among the girl child in Maliba Sub County is due to lack of sanitary pads to use during their menstrual periods since most of the people in the sub county are low income earners or peasants and can’t afford a packet of sanitary pad of shillings 3000 per month especially in circumstances where you find parents having like five girls in need of sanitary pads. Kakindo women’s group was taught how to make local reusable sanitary pads by RIDE Africa, and of which sanitary pads are given to the girl child in schools and in the community.  They train some girls in making local reusable sanitary pads for themselves and that has increased the accessibility of sanitary pads among the girl children in the entire community in the area.
The Kakindo women’s group members later took us to some of their demonstration gardens where they prepare nursery beds and kitchen gardening. They were given seeds by RIDE Africa, and each member took a different species of seeds to plant in a nursery bed, and thereafter the seedlings are supplied to other members so that they all plant in their respective kitchen gardens.

We later visited Nkaiga Primary School in the same sub county. The staff members welcomed us and the pupils sung, recited a poem and acted a play about violence against children.

In the afternoon, RWECO staff led by their Coordinator, together with the Executive Director of East African Children’s Fund Mr Fassil Mariam visited Agape of Hope in Nyamwamba division, Kasese Municipality. Agape of Hope main goal is to empower the youth and the young mothers with knowledge and skills in hair dressing, tailoring and hand craft.  Agape of Hope works with schools and community to address issues of youth reproductive health and menstrual hygiene management.
Gratitude to my supervisor Mr Mumbere Samuel Mkamba and the entire staff of RWECO in particular the Coordinator Mr Jimmy Odyek , the E-Society staff, I thank you for the help you have rendered to me during my stay at RWECO.

BABRA MASIKA ARINAITWE
Bsc IT (UMU)
   





Monday, February 29, 2016

PRESS STATEMENT ON THE POST ELECTION ENVIRONMENT IN THE RWENZORI REGION, WESTERN UGANDA




29th February, 2016
PRESS STATEMENT ON THE POST ELECTION ENVIRONMENT IN THE RWENZORI REGION
RWENZORI CONSORTIUM FOR CIVIC COMPETENCE (RWECO) & the members : KALI, GOOD HOPE FOUNDATION FOR RURAL DEVELOPMENT, RIDE AFRICA AND RICNET were accredited  as election observers during the Presidential and Parliamentary  on 18th Feb, 2016 & local council elections on 24th Feb. 2016. RWECO and her members deployed a team of 150 as short term observers and long term observers in Bundibugyo, Ntoroko, Kabarole, Kyenjojo, Kyegegwa, Kamwenge and Kasese districts of Western Uganda. RWECO also deployed online platform where comments from observers were remitted through  SMS and plotted on  http://hrcp.or.ug/main .  From 17th Feb, to 28th Feb, 2016, 164 messages were verified and viewed on the online platform.  We commend the Electoral commission that accredited RWECO and her members during the elections.
However, as Ruwenzori region based observers, we note with concern the post -election violence that ensured during and after the elections on 18th and 24th Feb. 2016.   RWECO condemns the post- election violence that were reported  between   18th  -19th  Feb, 2016 at Kasese district Electoral Commission tally center at Kasese district Multi-purpose Hall, located in Nyakasanga, Kasese-Fort Portal Road.  RWECO also condemns the post- election violence that was observed and reported in Bundibugyo District between 24th -27th Feb, 2016 after the election of district chairpersons and district councilors.  These acts are either driven by personal egos and not accepting the outcome of the elections.  Uganda is a democratic country for which we embrace both national and international standards of election observations and democratic processes for which citizens should welcome the out- come of the electoral process. We wish therefore to state that:
1.       All acts of post- election violence be condemned by all actors and Uganda Police take the necessary steps to ensure that peace prevails  in the region and country at large;
2.       RWECO and her members also appeals to the candidates who lost the elections to use peaceful and lawful means to address their demands not by inciting  violence in the community;
3.       We also appeal to all stakeholders including, Police, state organs, Religious leaders, Cultural leaders and the media to join hands and give the citizens a message of hope that beyond elections, there is a life to live;
4.       Police bring the perpetrators of post- election violence to face the law of the land.
Thank you


Jimmy Baluku Odyek
Coordinator

Friday, January 15, 2016

RWECO ROOTS FOR EMBAALE YA NYABAGHOLE

Violence against children manifests in many ways among which is denial of education as a result of lack of sanitary towels for the girl child as was reported by the girls who participated in the baseline survey conducted by RWECO in Nov 2015. To bridge the gap, RWECO has partnered with EMBAALE YA NYABAGHOLE to train 100 girls and boys in making local sanitary pads. That was agreed upon when a team from RWECO met with Nyabaghole of Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu on 7th January 2016 at Buhikira Palace, Kasese Municipality. The RWECO team was led by Ms. Margret Kidima, other participants were: Ms. Evelyn Kenyana Abwooli (RICNET), Ms. Benedate Mulibanda (KGR) and Gilbert Masereka (KALI) and Samuel Masereka (GHFRD).

Nyabaghole Agness Ithungu Asimawe ( 3rd from left), and RWECO team led by Ms. Margret Kidima (2nd left)

Nyabaghole Agnes, welcomed the RWECO team for choosing to join her in the struggle of training the youth the cultural values and other integrated aspects of life. The Nyabaghole explained the purpose of the "EMBAALE YA NYABAGHOLE" to the team as a family parliament where the family members discuss and share about the family values, education and other development concerns. Nyabaghole Agnes also said that, children are at a loss if they are not guided right from the young stage and that nobody would wish to see his/her children being in a violent environment, "The Obusinga bwa Rwenzururu is built on the strength of the people, whose rights must be protected especially the children- these are the vanguards of our future" RWECO and Nyabahgole Foundation will be training the youth in making local sanitary pads on 19th January 2016 and Nyabaghole has pledged to be  present during the training. She called upon RWECO to work with the cultural institution in order to foster development and peaceful co-existence in the region.






















RWECO team presenting their profiles to Nyabahgole at Buhikara Palace, Kasese Municipality, 7th January, 2016.



RWECO
Ms. Margret Kidima
Ms. Evelyne Kenyana
Ms. Benadate Mulibanda
Mr. Gilbert Masereka

Monday, December 7, 2015

THE TASKS AHEAD AS THE 2016/17 BUDGET TAKES SHAPE IN UGANDA

December 1st was another big stride in the Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) in Uganda when the Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development budget desk team sat together with  CSBAG team to defend the CSBAG budget proposal in the 2016/17 FY. RWECO as a member of CSBAG was represented in the round table discussion that were held in the MoFPED board room and chaired by Mr. Kenneth Mugambe the Director Budgeting, while the CSBAG team was led by Mr. Julius Mukunda.
 
CSBAG team and MoFPED team after the meeting on December 1st, 2015 at MoFPED board room, Kampala.
 While the  rest of the world was commemorating the World Aids day,   CSBAG team was also busy defending why government of Uganda should create an HIV/AIDS Fund to ensure proper planning and service delivery in the sector. The Director budgeting applauded the CSBAG team for their tireless efforts in ensuring budget monitoring and going ahead in participating in the budgeting process. Mr. Kenneth also alluded to the fact that CSOs are mandated by law to participate in the budget formulation but most often others have stayed away by only critizing other than being part of the budgeting and planning processes right to the local government level.

CSBAG budget priorities were: Education sector  and critical focus on the school enrollment at primary and secondary, hygiene and sanitation,  while in Health the priority was functionality of health centers, in Agriculture sector was extension services which was suspended after government shifted from the NAADs model to the operation wealth creation model. 

As CSBGA did not only present budget proposals also a look at the tax/revenue was presented which prompted the budget desk team to proposal a a committee to look at the revenue proposals presented by the CSBAG.

While was  good for citizens to participate in policy formulation, engagement with policy makers has remained minimal and for the urban elite, the rural citizens are not bathered with policy formulation but at the end they are the most affected people given that they depend on government services. RWECO has changed the trend by engaging with top government policy makers in collaboration with the Kampala based partners.

At RWECO we believe that through participating in the budgeting processes, our aim for a pro-poor budget shall be achieved as our voice is being reflected in the budget priorities.

Keep watching this space

Jimmy B.O
RWECO

Monday, November 9, 2015

RWENZORI REGION INNOVATES IN PREVENTION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST CHILDREN

We all believe children are innocent thus should be protected by the community but gone are the days while society looked at children as sign of wealth instead society has looked at children as agents of getting rich thus the increased violence against children and adolescents evidenced in the Rwenzori Region since the conflicts of 1996 emanating from the attacks by the ADF rebels now based in DRCongo.
RWECO staff and Board at the EACF inception meeting on 5th Nov. 2015 at Virina Gardens, Hotel, Kasese Muncipality

Civil society has not looked as children are abused, Rwenzori Consortium for Civic Competence (RWECO) with support from the East African Children's Fund (EACF) has launched a project on community-led mechanism to prevent violence against children and adolescents in Kasese district targeting 16 schools in 8 sub counties. RWECO is a membership organisation of KALI, GHFRD, RIDE AFRICA & RICNET. RWECO has also partnered with Kasese Guide Radio (KGR) to deliver on the media component of the project. A total grant of Ugx. 300m has been extended to RWECO and her partners for a period of six months. Practically, Violence against children is on the increase due to the changing society values including lack of economic empowerment by the women, increasing informal crossborder trade, family breakdown, high population pressure on limited resources land in particular, single parenthoods, salt mining and lack of information gaps, early marriages and drug abuse among the adolescents in Kasese district.

The project will apply community-led mechanisms and innovations to engage with women and the youth at community and schools levels, local leaders and also use radio drama as a means of reaching out to the wider public.

The project will share information concerning child rights and responsibilities, speak to the children, encourage participation of children in school activities like debating, organise a first ever children's parliament in Kasese district that shall be attended by all odds of children from all corners of Kasese district.

RWECO and her partners shall keep you updated on this platform

Compiled;

Margret Kidima
RWECO


Friday, September 18, 2015

PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE: DIGNITY FOR ALL



A UN resolution established the International Day of Peace in 1981 to coincide with the opening of the UN General Assembly. The first Peace Day was celebrated in 1982 and was held on the third Tuesday of September each year until 2002, when September 21 became the permanent date for the International Day of Peace. The assembly decided in 2001 that the International Day of Peace should be annually observed on September 21 starting from 2002. By setting a fixed date for the International Day of Peace, the assembly declared that the day should be observed as a day of global ceasefire and non-violence.
Based on the above, RWECO together with the member organizations have joined the rest of the citizens of Uganda to commemorate the International day of Peace under the theme of: Partnerships for Peace, Dignity for All. The week long events begun on Monday 14th- 21st Sept, 2015 when the climax of the events will take place in Mbarara District. 
Let us talk peace with leaders of Cultural institutions in the Rwenzori Region 17th Sept. 2015 at virina Gardens Hotel, Kasese Municipality.

The Prime Minister (OBR) in blue neck tie and Kasese district vice chairperson ( yellow neck tie) front line pose with the OBR cabinet during the meeting at Virina Gardens 17th Sept 2015
Peace building is a process and requires a multi sectoral approach involving all stakeholders which was a motive for RWECO and KALI to meet with leaders from Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu to dialogue on how Cultural Institutions have ensured peace building amongst  their subjects and national building. In the Rwenzori region, three meetings will be held targeting the Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu, Obukama Bwa Tooro and Obudingiya Bwa Bwamba. 
The Prime minister (OBR) Rt. Hon. Nzaghale was the main presenter at the meeting with other OBR ministers contributing to the discussions. The participants came up with a seven point action plan among which were: Training of the OBR peace committees, Setting up a peace committee to handle post election activities, Holding a cultural gala in April 2016, Language promotion and research on culture, promotion of co-existence, inducting appointed leaders and Sensitising communities on the cause of OBR. At the same the Kasese district vice Chairperson Mr. Tadeo Muhindo echoed the government commitment on peace building and conflict management as enshrined in the 1995 Constitution of Uganda.

RWECO Team:

Jimmy B.O
Margret K
Dolice K