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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS CALLED UPON TO DEFEND THE RIGHTS OF PWDS

Most people regard disability to be a curse, said the chairperson of NUDIPU, during a workshop that took place on 15th Dec 2011 at hotel Africana.
The workshop was a follow up of another workshop that took place in May for human rights defenders and activist on how they have mainstreamed disability within their work.
He called upon all represented organizations to come up and defend the rights of PWDS.
A number of presentations were made during the workshop one of which was on understanding the best practices in mainstreaming disability .This was presented by Mr.Lukabwe Fred from Enhance initiative, he gave a highlight of the best practices in mainstreaming disability as;
•Need for an organization to Recognize disability
•Non discrimination,
•Equity and fairness, in terms of service delivery accessibility and information sharing.
•Care and support, an organization should give most utmost passion for disabled people
•Health working environment
•Social dialogue: when addressing PWDS, one should avoid talking to but should talk to.
He also went ahead to give processes of mainstreaming as engagement, access, resources and enforcement.
By the end of the training participants were called upon to form a coalition which will act as an umbrella to promoting the rights of PWDS.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

CITIZENS OF RWENZORI REGION VOW TO FIGHT CORRUPT CIVIL SERVANTS.

Citizen Representatives of the Rwenzori region aired out their views on the on-going corruption in the country. This was during the Launching of Anti-Corruption week organized by Rwenzori Anti-Corruption Coalition [RAC] at Kagote SDA hall in Fort-Portal Municipality under the theme “A just and corrupt free society” with mission “to contribute to poverty reduction in the Rwenzori region by empowering citizens to expose and cause action against corruption”. RIC-NET is part of this fight against corruption through the program of Social Accountability.

The citizens showed their dissatisfactions on how; police fuel corruption by taking position in some cases, that even some cases in the community are not investigated for example the case in BUFUNGO sub county kyenjonjo where a couple killed each other, in some circumstance investigations are just minimal giving ground for the court to throw out cases, and police investigation favour the rich.
Similarly; the Judiciary favour special people e.g. Anti-corruption cases,

Government also have been supportive of people close and or related to government officials or the president. Yet “Mr. Museveni talks about zero tolerance to corruption. Later when he went to Rwanda, he declared that his Government was surrounded by thieves”

“Justice delayed is justice denied”, the judiciary is no longer independent from the Government. This is evidenced in the cases the IPP or the IGG have taken to court and later withdraw cases due to lack of sufficient evidence. Why are the people involved in gross corruption left unpunished but those with cases of 1000 or less punished? Why is the government siding with the people engaged in mass corruption e.g. Hon.Muhwezi, Hon.Mbabazi? Other cases like Uganda Vs Mugabi Pius and two other Ref.IGG FP/CF/03/09.Does the government understand the citizen manifesto about combating corruption?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

RIC-NET STAFF PARTICPATES IN CAPACITY BUILDING WORKSHOP ON TSA IN NAIROBI




Technology for Accountability and Transparency (TSA) initiatives are increasing becoming common in East Africa.
several CSOs are having initiatives that creates a platform for citizens to voice their concerns and demand improved service delivery.
In Kenya, SODNET has created an action that is already creating a lot of impact in getting leaders and government officers.The initiative dubbed HUDUMA, is a citizens’ initiative of Social Development Network (SODNET) in partnership with USHAHIDI. www.huduma.info

The goal of the strategy is to contribute to the improvement of service delivery by providing simple technology/media based tools and channels to amplify citizens concerns, displeasure, complaints, or suggestions on their perceptions on service delivery by duty bearers.

Huduma intends to nurture more vibrant a more vibrant citizenry that is able to make demands for improved service delivery, more accountability and robust democratization process through increased grassroots participation.


The channels allow citizens to report a number of issues or complaints e.g. lack of water, medicines, potholes, lack of teachers, to an Huduma channel, mostly an SMS number (3018). The conversation, including feedback, are managed through the Huduma channels

The initiative initially focused on six counties, namely Nairobi-Langata, Muranga, Bungoma, Kisumu and Pokot, but it has now expanded to other areas of Kenya and is currently being scaled up in other countries. In each country, the action will work with professional groups as a means of verifying citizens’ demands.

The initiative has already began to create demands for improved service delivery and has been attracting participation from different areas of the country from citizens who are keen to voice concerns. This has been witnessed in Langata in Nairobi and in other regions where those in authority have been able to respond to citizens queries.

As part of the efforts to upscale it in Kenya and in the Eastern Africa Region, SODNET has recently organized a capacity building workshop which drew participants from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Ethiopia at Nairobi's Methodist Guest House , on December 2-3, 2011 to which the John Silco from RIC-NET and Emanuel Oluka from CEW-IT and Mugisha Celestine participated. RWECO- RICNET team shared with other participants the Uganda TSA initiatives in Uganda and platforms as Uchaguzi -Uganda, Rwenzori peoples voice and Citizens voice. www.citizensvoice.ug




Friday, December 2, 2011

INFORMATION SHARING CAUSES ACTION TOWARDS SOCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY.

Information is any relevant news or data or facts gathered, processed and analyzed and shared with other stake holders who include among others; the farmers, health officer, political leader, teachers religious leader and members of Public. The role of information officers is to identify such silent issues in the society that can be amplified. The training took place on 28th November at RIC-Net head office in fort Portal.

The focus of the training was how the information we gather can speak out and influence change in the communities where we work. The main facilitator Ms Alice Mushenene Mbayahi mentioned that “what makes good information is the 5W’s”. Information should have content, evidenced based, having facts and based on the community are facing. Information should be shared and should emphasize on a single issue for action to be realize.

She emphasized on the methods of gathering information as observation, discussions, interview and dialogue. Information officer should easily identify the sources, monitor the project or issues in the community, share with other stakeholders, and identify the local government development project cycle.
In doing all this, it was realized that the entry point is important in information sourcing. Create a good social relationship with people, write a simple description of the issue, make follow-ups’ and if no action is done then engage the community in the issue before a dialogue with the authority can be organized.

By the end of the training, the information officers agreed that in order to cause change in the community, there is a great need to develop interest in serving the community, share timely information, improve the means of communication, improve our resource centers with timely information and engage our leaders to practically be accountable to the community they are serving.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

ARUA TOWN,A PLACE TO BE

It was a bright sunday morning that the RIC-NET team led by the Executive Director, set off for a journey to Northern Uganda to conduct a training in e-platforms and maintenance at CEFORD offices in Arua . A night in Arua was so enjoyable at Heritage Courts where there was a Karaoke night and on top of that it was also a comedy night, despite language barrier we managed to pick few words through the help of an interpreter.
Having had a tremendous night at heritage hotel, early Monday, the team headed to CEFORD office where the training was to take place. The training kicked off at 9:30am with ICT Emma taking members through Uchaguzi ,citizen voice and RIC-NET ED,John silco took  members in skype,blogs,how to operate a projector  where as Betty took them through computer maintenance tips  . CEFORD team was one of the active one as everyone was mesmerized in gaining ICT skills.The training ended late in the evening with Ricnet ED  handing over a projector  to Ceford Executive Director madam Jean.
 

TODAY IS WORLD AIDs DAY,WHAT CAN WE CHANGE

CHILD HIV BECOMING A GROWING PROBLEM
Over 150,000 Ugandan children below the age of 14 are infected with HIV/AIDs according to a study by UNICEF. Pediatric cases are becoming a growing problem in Uganda where mother- to -child transmission is still a concern, and medical facilities struggle to provide adequate treatment throughout the country.
A major issue is that HIV progresses much faster in children than it does in adults. If a positive infant is left untreated for two years they face a 50% mortality rate, making early testing vital to an infant’s survival if caught early and treated immediately the child is likely to live a normal life.
“All care and treatment can only be given if they are first tested. Testing is the only entry point for care”, says Dr. Peter Elyanu, program officer pediatric HIV care and treatment at the ministry of health.
Six weeks after birth is considered the ideal time for testing because the DNA PCR test, which looks for particles of the virus in the blood, is almost effective at this time. The six week point also coincides with the child’s first set of immunizations.
Although cases are considered pediatric, until the age of, children are able to give their consent for testing at the age of 12 and the ministry of health encourages parents to tell their children the status by the age of 10. In the case that results are positive, there are special counseling methods used for children that differ from the one-on-one basis consultations given to adults. “Children easily communicate their emotional status through activities like drawing “said Elyanu
They don’t respond well to direct questions so we use methods like storytelling and play.
All hospitals, health centres IVs and health centers IIIs can test children.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS VIEWS ON THE IMPLICATIONS OF OBSERVANCE OF RIGHTS FROM OIL EXPLORATION IN UGANDA

LEGAL AND HUMAN RIGHTS DIMENSION OF OIL AND GAS IN EXPLORATION IN UGANDA.
Is oil and Gas “curse” in Uganda, or we suffer from the “Dutch Disease”. These were the words of the participants at the workshop to understand the link between the Oil and how the community rights can be realized and protected and how CSO’s can create awareness about Oil in the community. The workshop was organized by HURRINET UGANDA. Participants were from different CSO’s operating in the Ruwenzori region.Ric-net staff to attended and share the following as observation from a one day workshop.
Introduction of Oil exploration in Uganda.
The exploration begun in 1920 up to 1952. In 1983 Oil exploration resumed and led to the creation of Petroleum Unit of 1985 and the subsequent petroleum Act. During this period a lot of survey was done about Oil but little realized. In 1993, regulations were passed to regulate petroleum activities and later Government started to market these resources. This has led to the current exploration activities taking place in Uganda.
The areas having Oil in Uganda are; the Albertine Graben, the Hoima Basin, the Kioga Basin,kadama area,L.Wamala basin and Victoria basin. High potential of Ugandans Oil is embedded in the Albertine Basin which stretches from West Nile towards Kisoro.It borders DRC through the several ecosystems.
The status for licensing of Oil in Uganda as; Block 1 Pakwach basin to Heritage Oil and Tullow ,Block 2 Albert Basin to Tullow, Block 3A Semulik basin to Heritage-Tullow and Block 4c to Dominion.62 wells have been drilled and 58 are having Oil, this make it 92%success rate. The quality of Ugandan Oil is Medium value in solid state with low Gas ratio and about 2.5 billion barrows discovered. Uganda Plans to build the refinery in kabala-Bullisa districts.
Legal and Human rights frame work in Uganda as far as Oil is concerned.
The constitution of Uganda talk about the ownership as provided in the Article 26 (constitutional provision and amendment) “all mineral and petroleum in, on or under any land or water in Uganda are vested in the Government on behalf of the republic of Uganda”. Why the government of Uganda and Republic at the same time brings concern that it belongs to the Ministers and the President.
But Article 26 of the constitution guarantee the right to own property and land being part, but the same land can be taken by the Government for the purpose of Public use. This same Article has been used in Bullisa to evict the people from their land. Section 5/3 of the land acquisition Act requires a person having an interest in such land to “state the amount and the particular” and their claim for compensation of those interests. But such have been challenged by Ignorance of the local people, land grabbing, and low value of money on the side of the peasants above all the payment taking time to be realized.
The grazing and cultivation rights seem not taken into account especially Article 37 which talks about the right to practice and cultural practice as grazing. But the concern was how the cattle in the grazing community were taken into consideration during this eviction process. The petroleum Act Section 39 talks about the same.
The environmental Impact Assessment especially section 20(I) entails the company to carry out study and submit a statement to NEMA. The statement shall be Public document which may be inspected which could be done through public hearings, meetings interviews
Right to clean and health environment should be taken into consideration. Article 39 of the constitution and the petroleum Act section 31 obliges a licensee to mitigate and prevent damages that may harm the environment or its inhabitants
The transparency matters were taken into account as outlined in the right to access information as one way to be transparent. Article 41 of the constitution is cognizant of one right to access information. Also the Access to information Act of 2005, but it was realized that the PEP Act of 1985 contravene the above and some of the by-laws in the contracts between Uganda and the Oil companies make some information to be taken as classified thus denying he citizens the right to free access to information.
Other legal rights observed were the right to work. This is seen from Article 7 of the International Covenant of Economic social and cultural rights. It talks about the right to favourable conditions of work, safe and health working conditions. Article 40(2) of the constitution provides for right to work and is in conformity with the above.


………………………………To be continued

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS TO BOOST AGRO-BUSINESS ENTREPRISES



Financial institutions have revealed the opportunity available for farming groups and Agriculture cooperatives to improve, develop and modernize Agricultural production. This was revealed by most Micro-Finance and Bankers representatives during the Agri-Finance market place meeting that took place at Kagote Hall from 24th -25th November 2011.

The meeting was organized by Agri-Pro focus Uganda to address the information gap that exists among farmers on the financial products and services available in the market. The aim of the event was to support the development of smallholder agri-business by supporting access to financial services and credit.

Over 15 financial institutions in Rwenzori region represented at the meeting and shared their financial obligations to Increase agricultural productivity by rendering financial services and credit to agro-business enterprises at affordable interest rates, and in different categories ranging from farm in puts like; seeds and fertilizers, post harvest infrastructure and storage Facilities for the produce among others. According to Isingoma John Baptist officer in charge of Agriculture Centenary bank , the accepted security for acquiring an agriculture loan include; Land titles, Land agreements, animals, Households, and any asset like cars and Moto cycles.

The most cited challenge that affects the relationship of micro-finance institutions with agricultural practitioners was the seasonality of agriculture products with high risks of production that diminish the profitability of agriculture, in turn affecting the payment of farmers credit to MFIs. It’s on this argument that Hon. Aston Kajora minister for Investment encouraged farmers to form or Join Agro-Business cooperatives and Farming groups to broaden their capacity to secure and finance credit easily, increase on productivity, storage and marketing of their agricultural products.

Product display was one of the activities of the meeting. Cocoa from Bundibugyo groups, Coffee from kasese (Bukonzo Joint Cooperative), tea from Mpanga tea growers association, among others were displayed. Centenary Bank and Hofokam were awarded as the greatest financial service providers and supporters to farmers and agricultural groups at the closure of the meeting on Friday 25th November 2011.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

RIC-NET TRAINS PAC AND ACORD IN E-PLATFORMS


The journey started on a bright Sunday (20th Nov.2011) after noon from Kampala through the east to Soroti District where we arrived late in the evening.
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.

Bright morning of work in Gulu


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.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

RAKAI, A PLACE OF MANY SIGHTS IN UGANDA

On the 17th -18th November 2011, a team of RWECO, which is a consortium of four organizations, Rwenzori Information centers Network RIC-NET, Integrated Women Development Program IWDP, Karambi Action for Life improvement KALI, and Good Hope Foundation for Rural Development GHFRD, along with the CSOs from DENIVA, PAC, CEFORD & ACODE visited the Neighborhood assembly for learning purposes in kasensero landing site Rakai District


Through the Kansesero peoples voice a neighborhood assembly (N.A) takes place every two months to discuss the key development concerns with the guidance of a speaker and a composition of the elected members from the various villages referred to as members of parliament and ministers representing the thematic areas The neighborhood assembly is the first of its kind in Uganda being promoted by DENIVA in Rakai


through the existing community based organizations, during the visit, the N.A in kansensero deliberated on how to improve on the standards of Education for their children as presented by the minister of education in the N.A, whereby out of 1500 children of school going age, only 800 children were in school, being a fishing community the minister of Agriculture also presented the status of the fishermen and the challenges they were facing like poor sanitation and hygiene at the temporary stall where they had been relocated in a nutshell the community members called upon Government to act fast on commission the completed stall.
Going through Rakai the learning team enjoyed the different sights of maramagambo forest, kasensero landing site, River kagera, pastoralists communities and most of it all was the excitement in the towns of Kyotera, Kalisizo as the crowds waited to receive the kabaka of Buganda during his official visit to the place.

Delivery of ICT equipments to Kamwenge Communities Information Center

On 22nd of November 2011, Kamwenge Communities Information Center (KACOICE) was one of the beneficiaries in receiving ICT equipments for a community to be equitably served with relevant and timely information for sustainable development and improved livelihood of people in Kamwenge District. The equipments were delivered by Asiimwe Emily Office Administrator and Kiiza Joy ICT- Volunteer on behalf of Rwenzori Information Centers Net Work.

On behalf of staff and board members of KACOICE, Mr. Busingye Asaph the chair man appreciated the support of Rwenzori Information Centers Network for the delivery of ICT equipments. Among the equipment received was an orange modem which will enhance information sourcing, sharing and dissemination in Kamwenge District. It was noted that they have farmers voice programme on Voice of Kamwenge Fm but it is usually short for them to share information with the community.
“Information is power” it is now a slogan in KACOICE Kamwenge District.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

KASESE E-SOCIETY RESOURCE CENTRE GOVERNING COUNCIL ORIENTED


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 (Orientation). 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;
• Mandate
• Vision
• Objective s
• Goal
• To describe membership and the tenure of membership
• Management/Administration
• It’s operations in terms of maintenance
• Sustainability
• 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.

RIC-NET CONDUCTS D-GROUP TRAINING

As RIC-NET in partnership with RWECO try to improve social accountability and information sharing among the community and the leaders,a 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 I.C.T 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 in boxes 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 dgroups@kasese.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.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Farmers in Kisinga sub county appreciate having plant clinic.


“Healthy plants for a healthy future” is now the motto in Kisinga Sub-County Kasese District. Kisinga is located in Bukonzo County East. Speaking to some of the farmer’s on 11.11.11 during a field monitoring exercise of the Plant Clinic in Kisinga by the RIC-NET Community Out Reach Officer Kaliba Charles and Dr. Reeder Robert from Global Plant wise UK, the farmers expressed gratitude to RIC-NET and Asaba Wilberforce the Kisinga Plant Doctor for extending Plant Clinic services closer to them.
According to the Plant Doctor, Asaba Wilberforce, he noted that I attend to 25-35 farmers every market day and 10 farmers on a daily basis at the plant clinic in Kiburara trading center. The crops mostly affected and brought to the clinic for diagnosis are maize, mangoes, tomatoes, , beans, cassava, cotton coffee, and bananas. The farmers revealed that there biggest challenge is Banana bacterial wilt which has reduced banana production and led to continued poverty and hunger in the Sub County.
During the Plant Clinic operation, the team also learnt from the numbers of clients received that Cassava mosaic virus disease (CMD) caused by Cassava Mosaic Gemini viruses (CMGs) was the other commonest disease affecting the crops in the area second to bananas. This too has contributed to low yields at harvest time.


Besides, cassava, are beans which too are affected by Bacteria (the Black bean Aphid [Aphisfabae). that leads to stunted growth, yellowing and sometimes causes black spotting of leaves leading to extensive damage of the crops. Responding to the clients’ complaints, Dr, Reeder Robert, mentioned that currently there is no medicine to treat these cases brought to him especially the beans, bananas and cassava. He noted that Cassava mosaic cases can only be prevented by planting good and disease free stems. Dr. Reeder, advised the farmers on some best agricultural practices like planting disease free stems, suckers and seeds together with proper and timely preparation of the fields.
Other cases that were identified were on Mangoes which were observed to have black spots and splitting at a later stage. According to Mr. Muhindo, the infection had reduced yields per plant. They revealed that, previously from one mango tree, they would harvest around three basins per season but currently they harvest only one basin per season. Commenting on this, Dr.Reeder Robert explained that just as we Humans beings need daily medication attention so do plants; “We should not wait for the whole field to be destroyed before we take action” he asserted.

Monday, November 14, 2011

KABAROLE E-SOCIETY RESOURCE CENTER NOW A REALITY

In the bid to enhance community participation in decision making and development processes, through facilitating easy and faster information sharing between the community and her leaders by the use of ICT, RIC-NET has set up the second E-society resource center in the Rwenzori region. This comes after a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was signed between Rwenzori Information Centers Network (RIC-NET) and Kabarole District Local Government for the provision of this center last month.


The first batch of the equipment was delivered to the District on 10th November 2011 at 2:00 PM by the RIC-NET ICT team. These included 5 computers, a three in one printer (Printer, photocopier and scanner), furniture (chairs and tables), a D-Link switch for the LAN set up. The equipment was received by the District Information Officer Madam Lilian Nkwenge on behalf of the District.
The second batch of more 5 computers and two fans was delivered on 11th November 2011 early in the morning and the ICT team RIC-NET went ahead to set up the Local Area Network (LAN) for the center that very morning that is continuing with configurations this morning.

She (DIO) thanked RIC-NET for having fulfilled her pledge to the District and said that this would enhance easy information sharing.
The center is not going to be a mere internet cafe’ but will have a number of online resources or platforms attached that can be accessed anywhere by any interested persons. These platforms will include the Kabarole District website that is under design by RIC-NET, the District E-library, the District news portal, CSOs portal and the D-group (discussion group) all to be maintained and updated by RIC-NET.
This center comes after a successful one that was set for Kasese District and having realized it’s benefits to the entire community, RIC-NET set up this also with all hopes that this one will also benefit the entire community of Kabarole District and be a successful project just like the one of Kasese.
The center will also enhance ICT literacy through a number of trainings to both the entire community and the District staff.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

RWECO MEMBERS JOIN OTHER PARTNERS FOR A LEARNING VISIT IN KAKAMEGA, KENYA

Rwenzori consortium for civic competence RWECO members joined other civil society organizations from CEFORD, ACORD, PAC, and DENIVA for a learning visit about the neighborhood assembly in Kaka mega, Kenya from 31st October 2011 to 4th November 20II
The visit was organized by CEW-IT a consortium of the above mentioned CSOs in Uganda
Objectives of the visit
• To strengthen the knowledge and skills of CEW-IT staff and affiliate CBOs on how to organize and conduct an alternative people’s parliament and other social forums
• To strengthen the knowledge and skills of the CEW-IT staff in tracking the performance of elected and appointed leaders
• To learn best practices and share experiences of how to engage elected and appointed leaders in a multiparty political dispensation
• To share experiences and best practices on how CSOs can conduct effective lobbying and advocacy in a multiparty political dispensation


The team comprised of project officers and coordinators set off on the morning of Monday 31st after a brief at the CEW-IT offices in Kampala and arrived safely on that same day
The team was received and hosted by Christian Partners Development Agency CPDA, an NGO that has implemented the neighborhood assembly for over ten years.


With the various programs ranging from governance, dairy goat farming, HIV/AIDs prevention, the Ugandan team was able to learn from the discussion and the practicals of how the neighborhood assemblies are conducted
The team visited among others the Hamisi neighborhood assembly and the dairy goat project which is hand in hand promoted in the area to improve the incomes and nutrition of the community members. It was noted that as CSOs work on governance, livelihood is an area that cannot be ignored


Present during the visit were donor representatives from Oxfam Novib and Farm Africa
With a lot learnt from Kenya, the Ugandan team also shared their experiences in implementing the citizens’ manifesto and other areas as climate change by the time we left the Kenyans were warming for a visit to the Ugandan CSOs

Thursday, November 3, 2011

RIC-NET CONDUCTS ROUND TABLE MEETING WITH BUNDIBUGYO DISTRICT.


On Wednesday 26 oct 2011 RIC NET team visited SEMULIKI information centre in
BUNDIBUGYO district which is operated by Mr. Wilson when at the centre, members raised their achievement to the Executive director of RIC NET Mr. john silco that, they have developed other center points in the rural area that will help in flow of information in the community.
Some funds were disbursed to them with strings attached that it should be used in operational of the project and not for personal benefits accountability shall be required in every coin spent.

After inspecting the centre RIC NET team proceeded to BUNDIBUGYO district head quarter where district chair person who gave us go ahead of the round table meeting for the E-SOCIETY that was held in the council hall
The main objective of the meeting was to ask the district to have the E-society centre and to provide room that will help district officers in and outside to have access to information in order to reduce on use of paper work. Members at the district welcomed the idea that some of them need some training that will keep them updated and become computer experts also claimed that they have that problem of access to internal information added that since they will have a blog for uploading their news that will ease their inflow of information and be on map.
John silco Executive director of RIC-NET highlighted some of the key points the E-society as
• To strengthen information sharing
• For timely access to information
• Involvement of greater majority

He gave an illustration of www.kaseseelibrary.org as channel being used by Kasese district members in sharing information.
The members raised issues concerning costs associated with the establishment of E-society, utilization of the centre by the community.
From my observation as RIC-NET staff the idea was demanding and district members were asking when the system was to be in operation. According to Executive director of RIC-NET john silco, he said it will be early next year 2012 because KABAROLE district is the one on this year’s programme.

SPEAK – OUT ON WHAT’S HAPPENING IN YOUR COMMUNITY; BE A UREPORTER NOW!!


In the bid to increase youth and children’s participation in decision making, development processes and in causing positive change in Uganda, UNICEF in 2010 launched an SMs platform called Ureport.
Ureport is an SMS tool used for social development through which children and youth can participate in the development of their areas and improving Social Accountability. According to James Powell the UNICEF Ureport Project Manager, Ureport provides a platform for information sharing and an opportunity for individuals to voice out the silent issues affecting them in their communities.
Currently there are 34000 Ureporters in Uganda using the Ureport platform and more are still being recruited and or introduced to the program. In line with this, James Powell the UNICEF Ureport Project Manager on 31.10.11 to 02.11.11 visited RIC-NET Secretariat, Information Centers/points and youth groups. The purpose of the visit was to share and also introduce the Ureport program to the RIC-NET members and stakeholders in the Rwenzori region.
Five information centers (BIC, BRIC, MRIC, KRIC and Village Connect information Center), one information Point (Rwesande information point) and one youth group (Youth Empowerment Initiative-Bwera) were visited by James Powell accompanied by the RIC-NET information officer and Administrative Secretary. Over 100 people were met, introduced to Ureport and also recruited as Ureporters.
During the sharing Powell highlighted what Ureport is, the objectives and how one can become a Ureporter;“simply type on your phone Join and send to 8500, and follow instructions to register”; http://www.ureport.ug . In his remarks, Powell also noted that “this service/platform is 100% free, and we discuss issues ranging from Gender based violence, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, early pregnancies, girl child education, employment, inflation, service delivery issues in health, education, and water sectors among others”.
Explaining more about its operations, Powell said that the Ureport platform sends out averagely two questions to Ureporters per week, and responses to these questions are shared back with the Ureporters on their Mobile Phones and other stakeholders like the different line ministries, MPs and the general public through the Daily Newspapers, Radio and Television.
Similarly, Ureporters are encouraged to routinely send in questions on development and social issues that concern/affect them in their communities. According to Powell these issues/questions are also shared with the Commissioner in Charge of Youth and Children in the Ministry of Gender, the line Ministries and the MPs as well for action.
This has helped in raising awareness about the service delivery challenges in the community amongst the leaders and also enhanced citizen engagement with them.
Precisely put, Ureport helps in amplifying the voices of the youth, children and the general public, it gives them an opportunity to speak out on what is happening in their communities across the country, and work with other community leaders to cause positive change.

Ureport- Your Voice Matters, become a Ureporter Now!

Police Vs civilian

There was drama today Wednesday 2nd of November 2011, in Kyenjojo town, where a certain police woman fought with a female tailor while other two police men were just watching them fight with out intervening. This was really shocking where every one at the scene was surprised. The fight went on for some time not until the female tailor defended her self by giving a big slap to the police woman. In this case, who should have protected the other?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

RICNET MONITORS HER INFORMATION CENTRES


On monday 31 october 2011,RIC-NET got the chance to visit her information centres , Mwenge Rural Information centre (MRIC) within Kyenjojo District and Kyaka rural information centre(KRIC) in Kyegegwa district which the Executive Director termed as ‘INSPECTION’. The team first met Mwenge information centre members before proceeding to Kyaka,the main purpose of the meeting was to meet member organization and understand the baseline of  these organization members.
From here the RIC-NET team proceeded to Kyegegwa at Kyaka rural information centre. Here the chairperson welcomed all members; he was very pleased to receive members from RIC-NET. During this meeting the ED RIC-NET expressed his concern of poor communication between the centre and RIC-NET,he advised  KRIC to always  put any communication in writing than verbal .The meeting ended successfully and a cheque of 600,000 Uganda shillings  was handed over  to the Cordinator KRIC . These funds were to facilitate the information officer in information sourcing,packaging and dissemination.

RICNET PRESENTS E-SOCIETY CONCEPT AT TPC KYENJOJO.


‘Iam ready to become an Internet wizard’, said one of the members  who attended a discussion between RICNET and Kyenjojo District Planning technical Committee (TPC) , at the council hall on 31st October 2011.The meeting was chaired by the District Chief Administrative officer( CAO),Mr.Katehangwa Samuel. The main issue was to discuss the idea of establishing the E-society at the District with the objective of ‘access to information sharing for socio-accountability’. The Executive Director RICNET highlighted the need for the E-sociey; 
  • To strengthen information sharing 
  • For timely access to information
  • Involvement of greater majority
He gave an illustration of www.kaseseelibrary.org  as channel being used by Kasese district members in sharing information.
The members raised issues concerning the project, some wanted to know whether there are costs associated with the establishment of E-society, sustainability of the project as well as the level of utilization of the centre by the local people.
The team appreciated the initiation of the establishment of an E-society and said they were ready to become ICT experts.

Friday, October 28, 2011

RIC-NET INITIATES DISCUSSION WITH KAMWENGE DISTRICT IN SETTING UP AN ELECTRONIC SOCIETY CENTRE

In an effort to promote effective informing sharing between the Local Government , CSOs and ensuring timely feedback to the citizens, RIC-NET in partnership with Rwenzori consortium for civic competence( RWECO) initiated a visit to kamwenge on Thursday 27/10/2011 where a discussion on sharing information was held between the Deputy CAO, RICNET program manager and Finance officer
After keen listening of the brief from the staff of RIC-NET on the various electronic platforms, the D.CAO inquired what information are you interested in? The team explained that the type of information to be shared was in relation to the information needs of the stakeholders of kamwenge not RIC-NET
And these needs are generated during the round table stakeholders meeting before the Electronic society centre is set up.



The D.CAO welcomed the initiative and also remarked that there is where to start as some few officers have laptops and modems, he said that the service of the E-society is immediately needed and more so training of staff in using computers
He pledged on behalf of the District to support the project and agreed that RIC-NET prepares a presentation to the technical planning committee of the District so that the concept is received wholesome. This meeting is yet to be held in November.
Along with them the team had carried copies of RIC-NET and RWECO newsletter as seen in one of the photos the D.CAO looks at the kasese E-Society centre in the RWECO Newsletter.