Monday, November 28, 2011
On a Monday morning the RIC-NET team visited Public Affairs Center (PAC)-Uganda where we had a session of training with them in as far as the e- platforms are concerned.
Betty-ICTO RIC-NET led the participants through the Uchaguzi (http://www.uchaguzi-uganda.blogspot.com ) platform that was used during the election process. This was a review.
She was later joined by the Executive Director RIC-NET who also took the participants through a number of other online platforms like the Rwenzori Peoples' voice blog (http://rwecovoice.blogspot.com), CEW-IT (http://cewit.or.ug ), http://wwww.uchaguzi.co.ug and more blogs.
He also took participants through other information sharing platforms like the use of skype. Members signed up and started using this. Twiter was yet another communications media introduced to the members.
This was a long session characterized by practicals, questions and answers. The team carried along with them a dell projector that was officially handed over to PAC by the Executive Director RIC-NET. He took them through its procedures of operation.
ICTO-Yosia also ran some Networking maintenance for the PAC Network and made sure their wireless internet was enabled and security protected and more security issues for their router were done.
The session ended at around 3:15 pm and the team set off for Gulu at around 3:45 pm.
22nd November 2011 was yet another day of great work at ACORD-Gulu. The session that attracted a number of participants started at around 9:30 am with Betty-ICTO taking the participants through a review of the Uchaguzi platform that was used during the elections by CEW-IT.
The ED RIC-NET led the participants through a number of other ICT online platforms. Twiter , skype were too taught to the participants. This was for nothing else other than timely information sharing among members.
They (participants) signed up and they started using these tools. This was a successful tour because nearly everybody picked up the ideas.
As it is for RIC-NET to continually give ICT support the ICTO-Yosia led participants through a session of computer repair and maintenance tips.
It is believed that most computer users take small things for granted and that is why they have always had technical issues with their computers most often. So these were emphasized for members to take care of their machines just like one would clean his house or office daily so are the computers.
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Information as opposed to strength has over time proven to be a more effective and necessary tool for causing action and facilitating positive change and development in the Community. In most cases when a person is well equipped with evidence based information, it’s easier for them challenge, influence, or effect change in the community. Geared at establishing a strong and empowered “army’ of social accountability activitists in the Rwenzori region, RWECO has organized a 3 days training at RACA Resort for her CPFs on Social Accountability.
The training that started today 22.11.11 will run till 24.11.11 and aims at deepening participants’ understanding on social accountability issues, and on how services are delivered in Local Governments.
Opening the workshop, the RDC Kabarole Mr. Biryabarema Elijah expressed gratitude to RWECO and the participants in particular for coming out bravely to facilitate positive change in Rwenzori region. He encouraged them to engage and also work closely with the leaders at both District and Sub County levels in all their work, saying these leaders too share the same objective of improving service delivery and fighting corruption in the region. He added that working closely with the leaders will make social accountability work a lot easier and fun for them.
During the training, participants will be taken through various topics, ranging from concepts and definitions like governance, accountability, service delivery, data and information, citizenship and constitutionalism among others, information sourcing and utilization, Good Governance in Local Government, Monitoring service delivery in Local Government, Civic engagement to mainstreaming of cross cutting issues.
Emphasizing the purpose of the training, the RWECO Coordinator Mr. James Mwirima noted that the training is intended at empowering the participants with practical skills on social accountability such that they can be able to monitor service delivery and to engage the leaders in their localities.
In his presentation on HOW TO USE INFORMATION TO CAUSE ACTION, the facilitator Benson Ekwe Ocen cautioned the participants to always source and share only verified/evidence based information, and to always be committed, and brave enough to challenge the duty bearers with the information gathered. Benson equally tasked the participants to pick interest in familiarizing themselves with the different laws and provisions that empower the citizens with the right to access information and to participate in social accountability, like the Access to Information Act and the Constitution of Uganda; Art. 1, 41, among others.
Over 100 participants (RWECO staff and CPFs) are attending this training.
To be continued! (Watch this space!)
Monday, November 21, 2011
E-SOCIETY KASESE GOVERNING COUNCIL MEETING HELD, ORIENTATION OF DISTRICT EXECUTIVE ABOUT THE E-SOCIETY OPERATIONS DONE
In the bid to prepare for future sustainability and governance of the E-society resource center in Kasese District, RIC-NET spear headed the E-society Governing council meeting. This was held at Rwenzori the Gardens Hotel in Kasese Municipality on 16th November 2011.
The meeting attracted all parties that compose the ESRC Governing council. Among these were representatives from the Civil society and Local government staff (civil servants) headed by the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Kasese Mr.Asaba Wilson.
The meeting that was chaired by the A.C.A.O started at about 11:00 am with a word of prayer led by one of the RIC-Net staff.
The ACAO welcomed all members who had turned for the meeting and having responded positively towards the invitation. He also said that meeting was as a result of a previous meeting that was held at the District that came up with a resolution of orienting the Governing council about their responsibilities towards the E-society resource center.
He later gave time to the Executive Director RIC-NET to highlight a number of issues about the E-society resource center.
The ED RIC-NET started by thanking the members for having honored the call and immediately outlined the composition of the governing council as follows;
· CAO Local Government to present three members chaired by the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO)
· District Heads of departments atleast three with District Information Officer (DIO) inclusive
· Four members from the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) with the District Network
· RIC-NET was to remain as a member but not permanent also for technical back up
The ED also lamented that the CAO was to choose two other private sector partners working in the district to be part of this governing council.
He (ED) also highlighted the roles of the Governing council. Among others were;
· Governing council be the body proposing the policies in terms of governance, sustainability and operation of the E-Society center.
· Look at future plans and recommend the kind of direction that would be suitable
· Financial management
· Ownership of the E-society
· Governing council to look at how to expand and when to expand the ESRC
· Proper maintenance of documentation of the ESRC (minutes and other documents)
The District information Officer (DIO) later sited that a number of policies were already outlined by the ED and that therefore there would be need to translate these policies into a document that would go through the Governing council for approval, discussed to the District Technical Planning Committee and later signed by the Chief Administrative Officer to be a Governing document.
He (DIO) said the document would look at the;
· Objective s
· To describe membership and the tenure of membership
· It’s operations in terms of maintenance
· Resource mobilization
· Need for partnerships among others.
Later a number of reactions were raised by the participants and action points were drawn. Among others were;
Technical sub committees be formed
At least two;
Policy and business plan committees.
The session was adjourned at around 1:00 pm.
Later in the afternoon the District Executive joined led by the District Vice chairperson Hon. Naome Mbambu to have lunch with the Governing Council E-society. The group later moved to the E-society resource center for inspection.
The ICT Officer RIC-NET took the District Executive through the District online resources that is the District website www.kasese.go.ug, kasese e-library, CSOs portal, the Kasese news portal and the D-group. They appreciated all efforts right from the beginning to date.
As RIC-NET in partnership with RWECO try to improve social accountability and information sharing among the community and the leaders, D-group training was held on the 15th Nov.2011 at the E-Society resource center in Kasese District.
The D-group or simply Discussion group is one of the online platforms administered by RIC-NET. It allows members who have signed up with it to initiate, respond and receive messages or discussion topics. The training attracted a number of participants from Kasese and Kabarole Districts Local Governments, members of the CSOs and all RWECO focal persons.
The training started at 10:00 am being facilitated by the ICT Officer RIC-NET who introduced members to web browsing terms since these terms were to be used most often later in the practical session of the training. He explained a number of web terms to the participants.
He was later joined by the Executive Director RIC-NET who also went through the practical session of how one can sign up or join the D-group, and advantages of this discussion group. Participants signed up with the D-group and were approved as members to this group. They (participants) were challenged not to stop at that but go ahead and initiate discussion topics and respond to those that they receive. Members were also briefed that these discussion topics would automatically get to their e-mail inboxes as long they could have been approved by the administrator and that a member would be free to reply to that message just as he/she would reply to other e-mail messages.
Participants were also informed that they could initiate a discussion topic by sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org which would later be approved by the administrator and then sent to the rest of the members. The administrator of the group reserves rights to reject a topic in as long as it may not be genuine.
The Executive Director later led participants through some other online platforms like the Uchaguzi platform, and informed them another platform has been designed called the huduma that is going to monitor service delivery. Blogging was yet another issue that was explained thoroughly.
He also informed members about the U-report that UNICEF is running. He told members to join this by sending join to 8500 and that every message sent is free of charge.
The training was successful and it was adjourned at around 2:00 pm.