Google+ Badge

Monday, August 29, 2011

RICNET AND IWDP WORKING ON EDUCATION AND NAADS IN KYEGEGWA DISTRICT

Rwenzori information centers Network (RICNET) and Integrated Women Development Program (IWDP) under the Rwenzori consortium for civic competence
Were in Kyegegwa District for a Baseline survey in the areas of Education (UPE) and NAADs
The team set off for this exercise on 16th-20th August where they first interacted with the district Officials
During the discussion with the Chief Administrative officer Kyegegwa, The Executive Director of RICNET
Introduced the concept of working with the District to establish an E-Soceity centre which would be a one stop centre for the District team and CSOs to access and share information with the citizens in the areas of service delivery
The concept was highly appreciated by the District and are eagerly waiting for the initiation of the centre
The survey team was able to reach two sub counties of Mpara and Kakabara:
Education

Schools of Mpara
• Mpara primary school
• Nyakasaka Primary school
• Kisambya primary school
Schools of kakabara
• Kakabara primary school
• Kyaisaza primary school
• Kyarweehuta Primary school
NAADS
During the interviews on NAADs, a number of participants were available ranging from beneficiary farmers, members of the procurement committee, LCIII chair persons and NAADs coordinators.








Friday, August 26, 2011

RIC-NET Trains Information Officers and Coordinators

Following the establishment of eight county Information Centers and various information points in the Rwenzori Region and the recruitment of Information Officers and Coordinators to manage information services offered in the different Centers, coupled with the new developments and changes in the world of information and communication today, RIC-NET finds it pertinent that individuals’ capacities are built and made compliant to the transitions there in.

In light of the above RIC-NET organized a two days training of Information Officers and Coordinators of the eight county Information Centers on 25.08.11 to 26.08.11 at Kabarole Information Center board room. Twenty three people (6 females and 17males) participated in this training.

The purpose of the workshop was to enhance participants’ knowledge and skills in information, information sourcing, documenting and dissemination and to also share the HIVOs and RWECO work plans with the members.

The participants were taken through what information and documentation is, what type of information can be sourced and documented and how, from whom it should be collected and when, among others.

Facilitating the session, James Mwirima noted that when collecting, documenting and disseminating information, emphasis should be put on who we are targeting, where they are located and the economic, social-political issues around them.
Explaining why we share information, James highlighted causing positive change, awareness creation, skills development, influencing policies, adoption of new methods, attitudes and improving governance as some of the reasons why information sharing is done.

James also encouraged the participants to learn how to document their success stories very well and also use every strategic fora available to share them, asserting that this would win publicity and consequent funding for the Information Centers. However in disseminating information we should always be mindful of two things; use of the right fora and the quality of information to be disseminated/shared.

During the training, the Information Officers also shared experiences of their work with each other; these included achievements, target communities, activities being conducted and services offered by the Information Centers as well as the challenges encountered in their day to day work.

Cross cutting challenges faced by the centers included inadequate funding to facilitate smooth running of activities, inadequate equipments (computers, and cameras among others),high financial expectations from the community during engagements with them, unreliable internet connection, high rental charges and lack of permanent/personal office premises, and lack of staff among others.

Other issues shared were the HIVOS, and RWECO work plans; RIC-NET Executive Director informed the participants that the Information Centers were going to receive some funding under RWECO to work on a number of program areas like; citizenship expression and engagement, social inclusion of the vulnerable and minority groups in the community, use of electronic media-UDUMA and voicing the silence.

He cautioned the participants that in the social accountability- citizenship expression and engagement program evidence based monitoring reports will be required and paramount to engage duty bearers geared at causing positive change in the community.
He appealed to the participants to verify every information they land their hands on before sharing it.

In his presentation, the Executive Director tasked the participants to be accountable and transparent before they can begin holding others accountable. He also encouraged participants to attend and participate in meetings in their communities, explaining that this will help us to keep abreast with what is going on and also provide foras for disseminating information.

About the use of online platforms, the Director informed the members that bulk Sms is going to be adopted for disseminating information to the community. A short code 6333 had already been procured to facilitate the same and that Information Centers will be expected to collect contacts of different stakeholders that they engage with in their activities.
Wrapping up the sessions, it was agreed that all information centres should develop concepts on which centers they are going to be working with in the RWECO program, the target groups and what kind of information they intend to be sharing with them and to ensure that these concepts are submitted to RIC-NET by 02.09.11 such that their funds can be advanced to them to begin implementation.

In addition to this, participants agreed that two success stories from every Information Center should be documented and sent to RIC-NET by 10.09.11 for inclusion in the upcoming RIC-NET Newsletter.

Conclusively it can be noted that participant’s skills and knowledge on information sourcing and documentation was enhanced. Participants understanding of the RWECO project and what is expected of them was also created.

The trainings were facilitated by Mr. James Mwirima, Mr. John Silco and the RICNET Information officer Alice Mbayahi and Program Manager Ms. Kyomuhendo Joselyne.

Friday, August 19, 2011

OUT BREAK OF CROP DISEASES FRUSTRATES NAADS PR0JECT




In the on-going baseline survey conducted by RWECO – (Good Hope Foundation and RIC-NET) in the Rwenzori region; Bubukwanga SubCounty in Bundibugyo District to be specific, monitoring indicates that a number of challenges are frustrating the NAADs project; according to the Chairperson Sub County Farmers Forum Mr. Tibamwenda Smith, limited ownership of the enterprises/project by the farmers, inadequate knowledge on crop growing /animal rearing especially of the improved NAADs reeds,conservativeness of the benefeciaires to grow only traditional crops even though they do not yield much, delayed release of funds/enterprises and out break of crop diseases are some of the challenges frustrating the project.

Mr. Tibamwenda revealed that at times funds/enterprises are released after the planting or rainy season leaving the farmers frustrated especially if had already prepared their gardens.

Commenting on the out break of diseases, Tibamwenda cited banana wilt as the biggest challenge affecting the farmers’ plantantions. He noted that, the Sub County in the finacial year 2000/2009 started a banana plantation as a demonstration site at the sub county premises. The species of banana grown were kitika, gonja,and mpologoma among others.
In 2009, the sub county started harvesting bananas from the garden and would sell them at prices ranging from 5000 to 8000shillings a bunch. The money collected was usaully deposited on the Sub County NAADs account and later used to settle other finacial demands in the sector.
Unfortunately, these good yields have since 2010 been frustrated by banana wilt disease that has since seen all the plants rotting away. Despite the farmers’ efforts to cut down the affected plants, the disease has contiued spreading further and eaten up the whole one hectare banana plantation.
According to Mr. Tibamwenda over 150000 shillings had so far been realized from the sales.

Its worth noting that following the various changes in the implementation of the NAADs project; NAADs phaseI and NAADs phaseII, a number of achievements have been registered ranging from transperancy in the procurement process, and in the selection of benefeciaries as well as enterprises to increased coverage in the number of benefeciaries.

However, there is need for the NAADs project to beef up her interventions in addressing crop diseases least the whole project is frustrated by the same.



Thursday, August 18, 2011

Field Experience


RICNET Staff preparing to go to the field
On Tuesday 16th August 2011 RICNET joined her partners in the Rwenzori region in conducting a base line survey to establish the quality and type of service delivery in education and agriculture.
The team that went to Kyegegwa set off at 10:00 am led by the Executive Director, Mr. John Silco, Programme manager, Ms Joselyn, ICT officer Betty and an Intern student Joy. The team first went to the district headquarters of Kyenjojo to meet partners from IWDP before proceeding to Kyegegwa
Cadet officers on training in Kyenjojo
At Kyenjojo district
headquarters there were a number of activities going on one being recruitment of cadet officers, it was such an interesting experience  as the youths were sweating under going the training.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

RWECO Partners Conduct Baseline Survey

Following the training of RWECO partners (Good Hope, KALI, IWDP and RIC-NET) in pro-poor budget analysis on 11.08.11 to 13.08.11, partners have today started on a baseline survey exercise in their respective districts of operation; KALI in Kamwenge, Good Hope in Bundibugyo, and IWDP in Kyegegwa. RICNET staff is expected to beef up the different teams in areas of documentation.

The purpose of the baseline survey is to establish the quality and type of service delivery in the education and agriculture (NAADs) sectors in the sub counties to be surveyed. Two sub counties per district are going to be sampled for this exercise.

In Kamwenge, Kicheche and Kamwenge Town Council will be surveyed, while in Bundibugyo, Bubukwanga and Nyahuka town council and in Kyegegwa District Mpara and Kakabara sub counties will be visited during this exercise.
This survey is also geared at establishing the extent of inclusion of the concerns of the poor into the sub counties’ budgets and plans. With particular focus on the financial year 2011-2012.

In each of the Sub Counties, partners are expected to visit 3 UPE schools and around 15 NAADs farmers (beneficiaries). Other participants in the survey will include; District and Sub County leaders; CAOs, NAADs Coordinators and other staff, Sub County Chiefs, DEOs, Head teachers, teachers and pupils at the sampled schools, and some members of the community among others.

Areas to be looked at during the survey range from the Number and quality of facilities and services in these sectors, the teacher pupil ratio, status of available infrastructure,sanintation issues, funding, that is in terms of its timeliness, frequency, and amount, professionalism of staff, enrollment and retention of pupils in school, functionality of school and NAADs committees/structures to the procurement process and procedures under NAADs programs and the selection of NAADs beneficiaries in light of sex, issues of co-founding and Number of households benefiting from this service among others.

The survey that starts today will run up to 20.08.11.

The data collected will be analyzed by the different partners and compiled into reports that will be presented by end of August during a joint meeting of all RWECO partners that will convene to come up with a main report about the whole exercise.
This main report will be used for further advocacy at both District and National levels.

Friday, August 12, 2011

RICNET staff Conduct Familiarization visits to her Information Centers in Kasese District



RIC-NET Staff on 10.08.11 conducted a familiarization visit to her Information Centers in Kasese District.
The purpose of the visit was to introduce the new RICNET staff ( Kyomuhendo Joselyn Program Manger and Alice Mbayahi Information Officer) to the Information Centers in the district. Four staff participated in this exercise; kyomuhendo Joselyne, Mbayahi Alice, Rwaheeru Geoffry and Baluku Yosia. The team visited Bwera information center (BIC) and Busongora information center (BRIC) at county level, and Bughoye, Kabatunda, Rwesande information centers at the sub county level.

At BIC, the visiting team met with the finance and administration officer Mr. Mapoze, Mr. Baluku Xaverio a field officer and Ms. Kyakimwa Agnes. BIC staff expressed gratitude to RICNET’s initiative to come down to the information centers explaining that it was going to bridge the gap between RICNET and her information centers. The visiting team also learnt that BIC operates in 11 sub counties and has 16 functional information centers. BIC’s main activity is providing information to communities, especially the farmers.
Sharing about the ongoing good governance/social accountability program, Mr. Mapoze noted that BIC had so far monitored a number of projects in the 10 sub counties where she operates except Mahango where she hadn’t gone yet due to inadequate resources. Projects in the sectors of health and education were monitored and a number of issues were generated; inadequate and delayed release of UPE funds to schools, declining education standards, lack of support from relevant stakeholders like parents and leaders in terms of supervision and enforcing by-laws to keep children in school. In health, BIC learnt that many Health Centers were faced with understaffing, frequent drug stock outs, withholding information by some health workers at HCs, inadequate supply of drugs and lack of staff quarters among others, while unreliable weather and outbreak of diseases were learnt as major challenges frustrating the farmers.
According to BIC staff, the community desires to have a platform on which to air their concerns, yet on the other hand a majority of the staff in public institutions interacted with were hesitant to share their challenges for fear of being branded anti-government.

BIC appealed to RICNET to consider facilitating public dialogues between the community and the service providers/leaders to address these service delivery challenges raised. Responding to this, the RICNET program manager appreciated BIC’s continued commitment to serving the community with information and to monitoring service delivery in the area. She revealed that RICNET was planning to organize public dialogues to address the same.

In a related development, while sharing with the chairperson of BRIC information center Mr. Isingoma Patrick , Isingoma informed the members that BRIC is a child of the former ODISEF information center. BRIC has got only 7 Information Centers at the sub county out of which only 4 are active. Lack of commitment and interest from the host organizations attributed to high expectations from RICNET that have in the long run not been met explains the non functionality of the other 3 centers. BRIC’s main objective and function is sourcing and dissemination of information to the community.

According to Mr. Patrick, BRIC’s information centers operate within the already existing structures within the communities like CBOs and FBOs. Patrick also noted that BRIC under the social accountability program monitored the NAADs program and established a number of service delivery challenges; delayed supply of in-puts to farmers for instance some farmers in Base camp who were supplied with 1 day old chicks were supplied with feeds one month after the date of delivering the chicks. Lack of routine monitoring or visits to farmers was also noted as a major challenge frustrating the NAADs project.

RICNET staff also learnt that BRIC is yet to host a workshop on community library management by end of August. Following this sharing at BRIC offices Patrick took the RIC-NET staff around some of her information points; Bughoye, Kabatunda, Rwesande information centers.

The RIC-NET visiting team was able to understand the different services offered by the Centers and the various stakeholders that they engage with from time to time.


Friday, August 5, 2011

RIC-NET SECRETARIAT MEETS HIVOS EXPRESSION AND ENGAGEMENT PROGRAM OFFICER



RIC-NET secretariat this morning at 10:00 am held a meeting with the HIVOS Expression and Engagement officer Gregory Mwendwa at RIC-NET board room.
The purpose of the meeting was to share RIC-NET's experiece in the areas of information sharing with Gregory and to also learn from him more about HIVO's interventions and ways of operation following the establishment of the regional office in Nairobi.

During the discussion RIC-NET's Executive Director shared RIC-NET's achievements, interventions, challenges and future plans. he mentioned that RIC-NET had registered an achievement in the establishment of e-platforms like E-library in Kasese at the E-society center and the Rwenzori people's voice (www.rwecovoice.blogspot.com) . he added that more of these platforms are yet to be established in the other 6 districts of the Rwenzori region.


The HIVOS program officer, Gregory, informed RIC-NET staff that he was on a familiarization tour with HIVO's partners in Uganda. He revealed that a number of restructuring had recently been done in HIVOs such as establishing a HIVOs regional office in Nairobi whose purpose is to decentralize their services and also enable them to get a better grip/feel of what is being done in the region.
The office is intended to serve their (HIVOS) partners in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.