Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Ms. Peniana from Sodnet demonstrating how the HUDUMA platform works 

  I have worked with civil society in Uganda for a while and engaged with different development partners on topical issues of poverty resource monitoring, but to be sincere it was all about paper work i.e. get a printed tool, go to the field, collect data and analyze, write a report and disseminate. Imagine all the time spent while processing  data would have been saved on my time sheet. Waiting for a miracle to happen, I was introduced to HUDUMA when I attended a workshop organized by CEWIT in Kampala. As you might guess, I was amazed by what HUDUMA meant on this planet earth. To save my time on cracking my head, I was introduced to HUDUMA on Thursday 17th May, 2012, by Ms. Peninah  from Sodnet- Kenya  This lady just said HUDUMA was a Swahili word meaning ‘service delivery’ and that Sodnet had development a platform to engage leaders with the citizenry to monitor service delivery and report on the platform. HUDUMA is a multi-media platform- using Facebook, Twitter, blogs, flicker, skype,  emails and the phone. For which CEW-IT had secured a code -6030. 

                                                                      Mr. Emma Oluka, demonstrating HUDUMA on the smart phone
 What made me more interested in this HUDUMA word was that even my phone can be used to report. Look, go to the shop, ask for a smart phone and pay  and business begins. Now what about those with Kabiriti? I asked Mr. Oluka CEW-IT ICT Officer who had introduce the participant to ICT based monitoring tools. My dear, with Kabirit, you can only send your message to 6030, but with a smart phone, he said, he would install the tools, your work will be only to fill in the template while in the field, send the filled template and a report would  be generated instantly. Look how much time  would  I  have saved by  using a smart phone in poverty resource monitoring.    Adopting to ICT is the way to go in order to save on time and get instant reports that have feedback from the service providers. HUDUMA will move CEWIT to the next steps in getting updated information that is reliable, specific and timely compared to the paper work that I had previously used without back of the locations.

Mr. Eddie Kayinda (Standing) facilitating at the CEW-IT workshop ( 17-19, May, 2012

My experience did not end with HUDUMA,   the workshop had other packages of Participatory Expenditure Tracking Surveys that were delivered by Mr. Eddie Kayinda and Mr. Henery Muguzi of Governance Associates. These guys made the link between PETS and the Local Government planning processes which I had formally not bothered to explore. It was interesting when the facilitator Mr. Muguzi  introduced us to the overview of the Budget Formulation and Implementation where he emphasized that one of the mechanisms of monitoring social accountability is to build strong networks in the Country and building internal capacity of CSOs in understanding how government operates at different levels. CSO therefore, have to acquaint themselves with the tools of social service delivery, and also know the different social service delivery programs so that advocacy is on an informed perspective rather than rumors. It was interesting to learn what a budget is, how it is formulated and the Local Government processes. Also important to note was that one has to clearly understand the social goals of service delivery, the roots of service delivery problems, social services provision framework, and the mechanisms in budget and service delivery monitoring if advocacy is to be effective.

Ms. Lucy Den Teuling (right) and Mr. James Mwirima (left) addressing the participants

 On another note,  Lucy Den Teuling a representative from Oxfam  Novib mentioned  CEWIT was a special CSO that was integrating ICT within its work. That ICT can not work alone without the other aspects of development.  She urged the participants to utilize the knowledge gained and apply the skills from the training. 

Who was who in the workshop:
1. Rwenzori Consortium for Civic Competence (RWECO) with its members from Karambi Action for Life Improvement, Good Hope foundation for Rural Development, Rwenzori Information Centers Network and Integrated Women’s Development Program (RIDE-AFRICA)
2. ACORD- GULU with its partners from Northern Uganda
3. CEFORD- with its partners from West Nile
4.  PAC-Uganda from Teso Region, and FHRI from Central Uganda. A team of 55 participants were present and fully engaged for three days at Eastern Route Hotel, Kireka. 
My take from the workshop on ICT based poverty resource monitoring was that HUDUMA and the smart phones if used properly will enable the citizens to interact with their leaders since the HUDUMA planform will be linked to the service providers in the Local Governments and the line Ministries in Uganda.

CEW-IT is a consortium of RWECO, CEFORD, ACORD, PAC-Uganda and DENIVA/FHRI
Sheila K

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Ntoroko District Councilors Speaker out on the CM Agenda

Working with the grassroots people has always been our driving force but since we have challenges of funding our development partners come in to bridge the gap” ( The Vice District Chairperson, Ntoroko  asserted at the leaders meeting held at Karugutu TC hall, 25th April, 2012)

Rwenzori Anti-Corruption Coalition (RAC) together with Rwenzori Consortium for Civic Competence (RWECO) organized a roundtable meeting with the district leaders of Ntoroko whose major aim was to present the Citizen’s manifesto agenda for the leaders to adopt and buy in. During the meeting that was attended by the RDC and DISO Ntoroko who applauded RAC and RWECO for bridging the information gap between the leaders and the citizens reiterated the governments  support to the CSOs to deliver services to the people . On her part, the RDC Ntoroko, said “I support this initiative by RAC and I remember during the presidential and parliamentary campaigns leaders were tasked by the CSOs to buy in the citizens manifesto, now I see these CSOs coming back to make follow up with the elected leaders, I will use my Office to pass on the citizens manifesto message to the people of Uganda” after the comments by the RDC the participants at the Karugutu round table meeting challenged RAC on how this same CM could be taken to the public and other district leaders that had not attended the meeting. The District Vice chairperson, while reacting to the issue raised by RAC, asked RAC and RWECO whether they could attend the district council meeting in May, 2012. This RAC and RWECO followed by writing a request letter to the Speaker of Ntoroko district council. The golden day was scheduled on Friday 11, May, 2012 the year of our Lord.
The way to Ntoroko District headquarters. RAC and RWECO were in constant exchange of emails regarding the best package to present in the district council on Friday 11, May. Oh my God, checking the achieves, the presentation made during the leaders roundtable meeting and the CM popular version was retrieved and Ms. Jackline Aturinda equipped with these instruments headed to the council hall in Kibuku, Ntoroko district headquarters. The speaker announces those invited to present and waiting my name to be mentioned, I heard “ we have a presentation on the citizen’s manifesto from RAC” excited on how I will do my homework, but trust, I had all the tools given the grooming I went through at RAC and RWECO on the CM agenda.
Honourable speaker madam, was my opening word… “ I have come to present to this august house the CM agenda as agreed upon during the leaders round table meeting………, the CM is a tool that will help council to achieve its mandate and deliver on the government manifesto” did you know that I for got to say I beg to ‘move’. In unison and being mentored  ( Jackline) to be the next speaker of “Parliament”, the speaker received the presentation of RAC and noted that  she would first study the CM agenda and allocate the document to committee of councilors to scrutinize the document and give the feed back to the council before it can be adopted as a working document of the council. That the feed back of the council resolutions would be given to RAC thereafter.

The lessons I learnt from the  two activities in Ntoroko were so touching and I  now believe that working with the policy makers can take the CM agenda reach the communities given that each councilor who attended these activities pledged to work to make the CM agenda part of his/her community work. What can RAC and RWECO do to popularize the CM in partnership with the local leaders. Right from the words of the RDC Ntoroko, and the DISO, CSOs are better placed to mobilize resources to make the Local Governments deliver on their mandate but only needed guidance to appreciate government operations.
I therefore call upon other CSOs in the region to join hands and support the call by the Ntoroko leaders to organise a meeting  for all CSOs working in Ntoroko as resolved in the leaders meeting of 25th April, 2012.

I welcome you to our CM day in Kibito subcounty, Kabarole district on   24th May, 2012

By Jackline Aturinda
Rwenzori Anti-Corruption Coalition (RAC)


Computers for schools (cfsu) and RWECO through RIC-NET have successfully completed a four days training of English teachers in improving effective teaching-learning processes through ICT enabled innovative methods. The training that started on 7th - 10th May 2012 attracted secondary school teachers from Kabarole and Kasese Districts involving schools of St.Leo’s college, Kyebambe Girls Rutete S.S and St.Charles Voc SS, St.Thereza Girls’ and Kilembe SS respectively. Bwera teachers’ college from Kasese also was presented for the work of preparing teachers who provide a foundation for learners in secondary schools. The training was facilitated by Stella Nekesa, staff computers for schools [CFSU]. Lydia Kamba,staff computers for schools EPP project, John Silco ED RIC-NET ,in charge of general administration and implementation of the project and project spokesperson. Yosia Baluku,ICT officer RIC-NET and Charles Kaliba Outreach officer in charge of research and documentation.
The training was focusing on how to integrate the traditional methods of teaching English Language [chalk and talk] with use of ICT. [Focus on developing the skills of Teachers with ICT innovative methods of teaching that is expected to yield more results, at least 2 teachers of English from each selected School attended. The projects are being piloted in 6 schools and 2 teacher training colleges in Kasese and kabarole Districts. ICT based tools allows to create, store, display information in its form. Group discussions on the situation in schools as far as teaching English is concerned were conducted in the course of the training. Issues discussed were; problems faced in the teaching learning of English, methods of teaching English and how to handle the different abilities in class. A discussion on the 4 skills and how they’re applied in the teaching process [reading, speaking, listening and writing] were discussed whether they’re achieved at the end of the lesson? To be good teachers, it was discussed that one should possess the following; Exploratory, Assessment, competence, interactive and passion
The alternative approaches of teaching English language. Learning station method, Lexical approach, English circle method. Think-Pair share method. Grammar translations, Practice presentation and product, Phonic, Direct approach, Notional-functional approach. Task based learning, [from the traditional methods that have been used] ICT integration by using ICT tools which included [digital storytelling, teaching using pictures and cinema education]. Mr. John Silco took the participants through Cineduc [using movie and videos in education]. This is video education of about 15-30 min. the video can be stopped in between to allow discussion [stop video discussion]. The teacher may assign students certain characters in the video and allow each participant follow the video. The video can be used to test the 4 skills [listening, speaking, writing and reading].

Challenges that were raised as likely to affect the innovation were; Teachers may ignore the innovation after the training since it will be involving double preparation of the lesson. Teachers may fear challenges of students who may have a lot of skills in ICT than them. Ability to continue practicing may be hampered by scarcity of tools in schools. Attitude of teachers towards change.

CFSU Uganda also promised to offer Generators, Laptops, projectors, projector screens, speakers and also technical back up in case it is needed and also a continuous follow up and trainings at schools.
The training ended on 10th May 2012 and teachers appreciated this initiative. They designed work plans for individual schools on what is going to be done as soon as the schools open and promised to be cooperative whenever called upon.

Monday, May 14, 2012


 A team of 15 primary head teachers sitting on 20th April 2012 at Virina Gardens in Kasese Municipality  committed themselves to end the poor performance in the district. That was during a heated round table meeting  that was organised by Rwenzori Consortium for Civic Competence (RWECO) in partnership with Kasese district Local Government, department of Education. The chief guest at the function was the Kasese district Education Officer Mr. George Mainja, who in giving his remarks quoted the 3rd President of America  Thomas Jefferson  who said  “ in matters of principle stand like a rock but in matters of test swim with the current’’
Mr. George Mainja, DEO-Kasese launching the EPP
 project in Kasese on 20th April, 2012 at Virina Gardens,
Kasese Municipality. Recieiving the Education Act is the headteacher Mulongithi Primary school, Ms. Businge Mary Provia

The DEO reiterated the district commitment in improving English literacy in school. He noted that both the political and technical wing in the district had taken note of the concerns raised by RWECO in their concept paper that was presented to his office. He however, challenged the head teachers to take serious the efforts of the partners who come to work with them. The DEO was concerned about the use of English in co-curricular activities and that debate in most schools had slowly died out. He applauded RWECO for investing in documentation referring to the documentary of children’s debate during the International Women’s week events.
On their part, the 15 headteachers, after singing  the teachers anthem vowed to fight the poor performance in English  we shall do our best since the Non Governmental Organisation working in Kasese have also realised that Education is a key aspect of development, it was indeed our cry that one day we shall append our signatures to welcome these development partners. As a senior head teacher, i will dedicate my efforts towards improving communication skills in  Kasese at all levels” Mr. Pascal Kilolo, Head teacher, Katiri Primary School   
Leading the discussion on the possible causes of low illiteracy levels in the district, the Education Officer, Kasese Municipality Mr. Monday Bwambale summarised the causes as  in the following categories:
Knowledge gap , low  reading culture amongst the community (sic) parents , inadequacy practice of English language by the pupils and teachers  thus transferring the burden to the pupils, dependency on buying exams rather than teachers setting their own exams based on the curriculum, poor skills in  interpreting the English curriculum, lack  of creativity and innovation to improve on the teaching-learning process.
The head teachers immediately resolved  the following Action points
  • Separation of lower classes from upper classes during debate periods ;
  • Refresher courses for teachers of English that are school based;
  • Use of resource persons like retired teacher and coordinating centre tutors to compliment the already;
  • Competent,  experienced and skilled teachers to take up lower  classes;
  • Strengthen our debate clubs in schools through writing articles;
  • Effective supervision at school level;
  • Generating of good motions like on agriculture, gender issues , environment and HIV/AIDS related issues;
  • Mobilise and sensitise parents about reading materials at household level;
  • Peer to peer supervision by teachers and pupils;                                                                            
  • Strengthen English departmental meetings through availing local resources;
  • Spirit of ownership and shared responsibility for which a schedule of PTA meetings was agreed upon  whereby headteachers shall rotate and attend meetings of neighbouring schools to give a voice of solidarity as espoused in the Teachers Anthem;
  • Need for citizen education watch was given greater importance.          
By Patrick  Bwambale -EPP FOCAL  PERSON [RWECO]
and   Margret Kidima  (GHFRD)-20th April 2012

Friday, May 11, 2012

What it takes to pass Propoor Council resolutions

Friday 4th May, shall remain a land mark in the Kasese District Council sitting at which 66.6% of the nominations made by the district chairman were women. Lt.Col. Mawa Muhindo (Rtd) stood to present a motion to fill the District Executive Committee positions. The Chairman filled the District Executive Committee position with Hon. Tadeo Muhindo, Hon. Pelucy  Kabagenyi and Mrs. Anna Muhindo as member of the District Service Commission.

The house was full to capacity during the district council session held at Rukoki, members of the civil society organizations were invited to attend but as usual  they kept in the gallery watching how the honorable councilors presented and discussed motions to determine the future of Kasese district. It was joy and ululations when the Chairperson mentioned the name of Hon. Pelucy Kabagenyi, I observed almost all the women in the council stood up in recognition of the ‘unsung heroin’ being nominated  as a member of the DEC. What does it take for RWECO to attend the district council session: witness whether the resolutions made were pro-poor and if they would drive the district to implement the citizens manifesto.

Does the number of women matter or representation? I will zero on Hon. Pelucy Kabagenyi (PWDs), given her position in society and the long stand she has had on speaking for the people with disabilities, gave hope that indeed sections of the citizen’s manifesto were catered for during the council deliberations. I also witnessed  two other motions that were moved in the house. One on land and landlessness  in Kitsamba sub county, and the threat posed by Kilembe Mines Limited to the people of Kasese. While responding to the landlessness debate in Kasese, the District Resident Commissioner Capt. James Mwesige reminded the honorable councilors to sensitize the community about the value of land, the RDC scoffed at the  people who were resettled in Bigando but over 80% had sold off the land. It was thus resolved that a working committee  be constituted to look at land cases in Kasese, the threats posed by Kilembe Mines and a report presented to the next council.

I was partly concerned by the RDC’s revelation that over 80% citizens who were resettled in Bigando had sold off their land? what does it take for the leaders to be mindful while debating on such matters. Kasese district is predominantly an agricultural hub without proper guidance of the council, land conflicts has a long  history of  in the district: ‘we have lost  lives and property, I beg this house to take immediate action on the absent landlords  evicting the citizens in Kitsambwa Sub county’ Hon. Asimwe Mbakania moved. As a concerned citizens it’s a pity that the poor or the underprivileged are loosing land. One of the top ten concerns in the Rwenzori region is declining  fortunes of Agriculture- but where is the problem. It lies within the institutions that are supposed to mobilize the people and guide them to make proper use of the available resources. The Kasese district Council should rather make a bye-law to stop all those people who were resettled from selling any piece of land in those gazetted  areas.

My next concern was the participation of women during the council deliberations. For the four motions that I witnessed being moved, all the movers were ‘men’ where were the ‘women’, stumping, seconding the motions or murmuring! Save for one Hon. Naume who stood on the floor of council  to deliberate on several  motions . I was perplexed by the positions that women took in the council hall.  What exactly happened? The deliberations were in English and what does the law say.. I am not sure, but an honorable councilor may deliberate in a language he/she feels would  express him/her self better. That did not happen in Kasese district council session of 4th May, 2012. I believe if the speaker had guided the house on the use of the Queen’s language many more women would have participated in the discussions. Look  the  Secretary for Finance Hon. Matayo Bwambale laid on table the budget estimates for the F/Y 2012/13 of about UGX 36.6BN, but it took  him courage to withstand the Queen's language.

Therefore, the call for a national language as demanded by the CM is gaining momentum in the Rwenzori region and the rest of the regions in Uganda.

I believe, the Citizen’s manifesto has a message that should be taken by the honorable councilors and the Members of Parliament as Uganda prepares to celebrate 50 years of independence. As citizens lets fully participate in the planning of our resources at all levels right from Local Council one through to LCV to Parliament.

Watch this space!!!!!

Jimmy Baluku Odyek
Ag. Coordinator RWECO