AN OVERVIEW OF THE PROJECT ENTITLED “STRENGTHENING CITIZENS’ CAPACITY TO DEMAND FOR ACCOUNTABILITY IN PUBLIC SERVICE DELIVERY”
The Project Overview
Project Title: Strengthening citizens’ capacity to demand for accountability in public service delivery
Project start/End date: 1st October 2013 – 30th June 2016
Funder: Democratic Governance Facility (DGF)
Total Amount: 818,985,604/= (Eight hundred & eighteen million, nine hundred & eighty five thousand, six hundred & four shillings only)
Districts: Apac, Kole & Oyam (indirectly Lira, Dokolo, Amolatar, Alebtong, and Otuke districts)
Sub counties: Akokoro, Ibuje, Chegere, Apac, Aduku, Chawente, Nambieso, Inomo, Abongomola, Loro, Aber, Kamdini, Myene, Abok, Minakulu, Ngai, Otwal, Aleka, Acaba, Iceme, Ayer, Aboke, Alito, Akalo and Bala Then Apac, Aduku, Kole and Oyam Town Councils.
- 65 Local CSOs & Member organizations of TAACC
- 216 Independent Budget Monitors (IBMs) from all the 29 sub counties & town councils of Apac, Kole & Oyam districts.
- Approximately 900,000 women and men in the target area.
Project goal: Strengthening local accountability mechanism for effective service delivery to the people of Uganda.
Project purpose: To ensure that the target community operationalise Article (1) & (17) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda (which enshrine the sovereignty of the people & duties of citizens)
- Empowering the citizens from the project target area to access information, monitor and engage duty bearers to provide better services to them.
- Strengthening the capacity of local activists and anti corruption agencies in the project target area to provide effective oversight roles on public service delivery for sustainable development.
1. Project Launch
This is to explain and publicize the Project, solicit for support, map stakeholders and buy them in the project. Unless stakeholders are involved right from the beginning and urged to own and sustain the project, implementation of the Project becomes difficult.
2. Training 216 monitors in Public Expenditure Tracking (PETS).
TAACC has used community monitors in pilot Sub Counties of Apac and Oyam districts before with good impact. It has in built sustainability. The community monitors are change agents / watch dogs that oversee accountability on public projects. They are equipped with tools, skills and mentored for a period to deliver. The community structures have monitored, reported & petitioned leaders with evidences on the ground and caused positive change. TAACC uses the community structures evidences for further advocacy. Reviews of TAACC programmes have recommended scaling up this approach.
3. Facilitate Monitoring of Public Expenditure and Service Delivery in public sectors.
This is a constitutional requirement which has not been properly performed by the citizens, yet it generates the needed accountability deficit evidences for further advocacy. It promotes ownership of service delivery processes by service users and provides checks and balances. Experience has shown that supervision by Local Government technocrats is insufficient. Monitoring keeps service providers on their toes hence reduces the risks of lack of accountability.
4. Public/Citizen Education through Forum Theatre groups, local media and Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials
Experience has shown that lack of information to the public is a major cause of accountability problems. Forum Theatre approach helps to educate the public in an interesting way and enables the community to discuss and resolve issues. IEC materials help those with little interest get messages in a snapshot. It strengthens identity and helps to publicize accountability in a project. TAACC’s IEC ideas and messages will come from accountability issues generated from the community monitors.
5. Holding monthly 1 hour accountability radio talk shows on Radio Devine FM & develop Radio spots messages and play to educate listeners
This is for mass education since almost every household in the target area owns and listens to radio Devine. Phone call in time is allotted to give chance to the public to contribute to the accountability issue being discussed. The issues reach the leaders direct through the radio from the community. On top of generating way forward, callers do whistle blowing at the same time causing the leaders to know hidden issues and to act on them.
6. Organizing monthly rural community debates on governance issues, recording and airing for the attention of leaders
TAACC used this approach “kimeeza” before and the impact was very good. The approach helped to generate issues from the ground, promote participation, expose issues from the ground and trains the local community to articulate their problems to duty bearers. TAACC partners to the activity will be: (a) Radio Devine FM: They will go with TAACC to the field, record the debates, edit and air. The trained moderator will respond / clarify issues. They do the DJ mention of the identified accountability issues within programmes. (b)The communities: They agree with TAACC on the issue of concern and debate the issue freely. The wider community listeners make contributions through phone in to the radio station when the programme is aired. (c) Other stakeholders: The other stakeholders are the elites, local councilors and technocrats, the Private sector / NGOs and duty bearers. They are invited to mentor/guide/explain issues/answer questions and, or inspire weaker citizens to cause change.
7. Facilitating quarterly District Integrity Promotional Forum (DIPF) meetings
Every district in Uganda is supposed to have a functional DIPF where stakeholders discuss and resolve issues. Currently most districts lack funds to run the DIPF yet it is very important. TAACC will ensure that stakeholders meet, discuss, agree and resolve critical accountability issues in the forum. This will strengthen operation and avoid malfunctioning of institutions.
8. Holding a 3 days residential training for the Local Government Public Accounts Committees (LGPACs) to equip them with skills for their work.
All districts have LGPACS. The members are appointed by local politicians. Experience has shown that most members lack the skills needed to address issues of accountability. LGPAC report of Apac district was not discussed by the Council for a full 5 years term. The planned training is to impart skills to members, strengthen networking and re-strategise the LGPAC members to work effectively.
9. Hold a 2 days residential training for media practitioners to equip them with skills for moderating / investigating and reporting accountability issues.
This is to improve interest and bring the media to accountability work. The media plays a very important role to mobilize, inform and correct the society. Currently, the local presenters lack the skills of accountability investigation and reporting. Experienced resource person will be sourced by TAACC to give them the skills.
10. Networking, linkages & reporting on accountability issues, web site design & hosting
This is for synergy and seeking redress from key responsibility bearers. Experience has shown TAACC that some local leaders don’t act and need to be forced by their supervisors to act. Networking also spreads risks and helps in tapping external skills.
The methods of implementation
- Social mobilization: This is to form a team of activists to champion change right from community level. TAACC has used this method before with partners like ACCU, TI – U, media houses and got good results.
- Capacity building: This is to impart the skills needed to address accountability problems, majority of citizens are weak with limited skills needed to address accountability issues.
- Conducting PET and public Service monitoring: TAACC has used this method in some pilot Sub Counties and found effective. TAACC has already developed monitoring tools for education and health sectors in partnership with TI-U and ACCU. They are simple enough and, have been used successfully.
- Sensitization through Media and Forum Theatre: To pass information to the masses and reach leaders. This methodology has been successful in exposing corruption, naming and shaming the corrupt and leads to deterrent results.
The project aims to mobilise and build the capacity of the target communities in Apac, Kole and Oyam districts of Lango sub region to understand, monitor, expose and address accountability issues at local level. The emphasis of the project is on strengthening the local capacity of the community, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Activists, and Institutions to address accountability deficits that have affected the socio economic development of Uganda in general and the project target area in particular.
The project is directly targeting community beneficiaries and structures and indirectly those who listen to local FM Radio stations working in partnership with TAACC. During the project implementation, special interest will be put on gender to ensure that the marginalised voices are heard and acted upon. Community ownership and participation will be encouraged so that a critical mass of citizens to hold leaders accountable is created. Special efforts will be put into networking and linking the local issues to the national level fight against corruption.