Biblically noted that “do not give up the spirit of meeting together”, RWECO as well upholds this practice to strengthen collaboration between the partner organizations, create a platform for experience sharing about the different activities being implemented by partners and to help partners keep abreast/track on the progress of the project under implementation by the different partners (KALI, IWDP, RIC-NET and GoodHope Foundation for Rural Development.)
RWECO on 21.10.11 held her second staff meeting at Kasese SSD. The purpose of the meeting was to bring partners together to review the progress of the project and to also share on key upcoming activities; how and when they will be done.
During the meeting the partners shared reports indicating that a number of activities ranging from conducting staff meetings, radio programs, conducting of inception meetings and a baseline survey in the project areas, trainings, mobilization and selection of monitors, and in - putting to the production of the recently published RWECO Newsletter were some of the activities conducted.
Reports indicated that most of the partners had accomplished 90% of what they had initially planned to do at the inception of the ended quarter. Making her presentation the IWDP RWECO focal person Kahunde Erina revealed that “at IWDP we achieved all that we had initially been planned to do then”. According to Erina, amongst other achievements registered key among them was the establishment and strengthening of rapport between IWDP and the Local Governments in the project areas especially in Kyegegwa District, and the ability of the new RWECO focal person Kabasinguzi Margaret to cope and also perform her job so well.
In addition to this, RIC-NET also noted that she had been able to enhance her visibility locally, Nationally and Internationally, had built and also tested the Bulk Sms platform, enhanced staff capacity and skills in pro- poor budget analysis, revamped the functionality of the E-Society Center in Kasese and the D-group among others, while KALI also indicated that it had strengthened rapport with the District leadership in Kamwenge which even offered KALI office space when it effectively starts implementation of the project in the District and also been able to mentor 280 people in their different areas of operation.
In a related development GoodHope Foundation noted that it had been able to form/establish project structures in the areas of operation and to also strengthen rapport with Bundibudgyo District Local Government which recently invited them to attend the District quarterly NAADs meeting as key stakeholders in development. Finally, speaking for RWECO CU- Baluku Jimmy Odyek highlighted that the Coordinating Unit had also been able to maintain, sustain and strengthen the consortium and also enhance the Consortium’s Networks with other partners like Oxfam Novib.
A quick scan through the three areas under M&E; Weak institutional linkages within CSOs and LGs, Low and ineffective engagement of citizens and the LGs and Inadequate access to and utilization of reliable information by the citizens. It was observed that under linkages with LGs, RWECO had been able to work with 81 Sub Counties and 7 Local Governments. This is evidenced in the LG’s willingness to share District information/reports, offer office space, and also pledge provision of equipments to the initiatives started by the partners like the E-Society Center in Kabarole and Kasese.
About linkages with other CSOs, members agreed that the pledges from other CSOs to offer equipment to E-society Centers and to also jointly implement the project with them is an indicator of the established linkages with other CSOs. Some of the CSOs include Unite and Link in Kamwenge, Toro Development, RAC, KIC and KANCA in Kabarole District, Partnership with computers for schools Uganda, Aljazeera, UNICIEF, VSO, SNV, and CARE International in Uganda among others.
Commenting on the area, Citizen’s engagement of LGs, members reported increased Community vigilance on reporting of service delivery challenges.
However, members also highlighted a number of challenges which were encountered during the implementation of the activities; it was generally noted that some project Sub Counties were too large, distant and therefore hard to reach and adequately work in given the inadequate resource envelope and the difficulty in accessing secretarial services, and mobile phone network.
During the meeting a number of recommendations were made, these included;
1. More fundraising should be done by the Coordinating Unit to cater for the inadequacy that might hinder effective implementation of the project in the hard to reach sub counties.
2. Routine engagement with monitors should be considered to ensure full ownership and conceptualization of the project by the monitors.
3. Quick establishment of E-society Centers in the District where they are not should be considered to answer the impatience of the District officials and to also confirm the seriousness of RWECO towards working with the respective District LGs.
4. An official launch of the project should be done to cement the already established rapport.
5. RWECO should train District leaders in the project areas on issues of Social Accountability before effective implementation of the project begins, similarly radio programs should be conducted to introduce the project to the stakeholders in the project areas.
6. Finally, members agreed that in future T-shirts and Identity Cards should be made and given to the monitors for purposes of identification and motivation.