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.
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.
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