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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.

Monday, October 24, 2011

RWECO CONDUCTS SECOND STAFF MEETING


Biblically noted that “do not give up the spirit of meeting together”, RWECO as well upholds this practice to strengthen collaboration between the partner organizations, create a platform for experience sharing about the different activities being implemented by partners and to help partners keep abreast/track on the progress of the project under implementation by the different partners (KALI, IWDP, RIC-NET and GoodHope Foundation for Rural Development.)
RWECO on 21.10.11 held her second staff meeting at Kasese SSD. The purpose of the meeting was to bring partners together to review the progress of the project and to also share on key upcoming activities; how and when they will be done.
During the meeting the partners shared reports indicating that a number of activities ranging from conducting staff meetings, radio programs, conducting of inception meetings and a baseline survey in the project areas, trainings, mobilization and selection of monitors, and in - putting to the production of the recently published RWECO Newsletter were some of the activities conducted.
Reports indicated that most of the partners had accomplished 90% of what they had initially planned to do at the inception of the ended quarter. Making her presentation the IWDP RWECO focal person Kahunde Erina revealed that “at IWDP we achieved all that we had initially been planned to do then”. According to Erina, amongst other achievements registered key among them was the establishment and strengthening of rapport between IWDP and the Local Governments in the project areas especially in Kyegegwa District, and the ability of the new RWECO focal person Kabasinguzi Margaret to cope and also perform her job so well.
In addition to this, RIC-NET also noted that she had been able to enhance her visibility locally, Nationally and Internationally, had built and also tested the Bulk Sms platform, enhanced staff capacity and skills in pro- poor budget analysis, revamped the functionality of the E-Society Center in Kasese and the D-group among others, while KALI also indicated that it had strengthened rapport with the District leadership in Kamwenge which even offered KALI office space when it effectively starts implementation of the project in the District and also been able to mentor 280 people in their different areas of operation.
In a related development GoodHope Foundation noted that it had been able to form/establish project structures in the areas of operation and to also strengthen rapport with Bundibudgyo District Local Government which recently invited them to attend the District quarterly NAADs meeting as key stakeholders in development. Finally, speaking for RWECO CU- Baluku Jimmy Odyek highlighted that the Coordinating Unit had also been able to maintain, sustain and strengthen the consortium and also enhance the Consortium’s Networks with other partners like Oxfam Novib.
A quick scan through the three areas under M&E; Weak institutional linkages within CSOs and LGs, Low and ineffective engagement of citizens and the LGs and Inadequate access to and utilization of reliable information by the citizens. It was observed that under linkages with LGs, RWECO had been able to work with 81 Sub Counties and 7 Local Governments. This is evidenced in the LG’s willingness to share District information/reports, offer office space, and also pledge provision of equipments to the initiatives started by the partners like the E-Society Center in Kabarole and Kasese.
About linkages with other CSOs, members agreed that the pledges from other CSOs to offer equipment to E-society Centers and to also jointly implement the project with them is an indicator of the established linkages with other CSOs. Some of the CSOs include Unite and Link in Kamwenge, Toro Development, RAC, KIC and KANCA in Kabarole District, Partnership with computers for schools Uganda, Aljazeera, UNICIEF, VSO, SNV, and CARE International in Uganda among others.
Commenting on the area, Citizen’s engagement of LGs, members reported increased Community vigilance on reporting of service delivery challenges.
However, members also highlighted a number of challenges which were encountered during the implementation of the activities; it was generally noted that some project Sub Counties were too large, distant and therefore hard to reach and adequately work in given the inadequate resource envelope and the difficulty in accessing secretarial services, and mobile phone network.
During the meeting a number of recommendations were made, these included;
1. More fundraising should be done by the Coordinating Unit to cater for the inadequacy that might hinder effective implementation of the project in the hard to reach sub counties.
2. Routine engagement with monitors should be considered to ensure full ownership and conceptualization of the project by the monitors.
3. Quick establishment of E-society Centers in the District where they are not should be considered to answer the impatience of the District officials and to also confirm the seriousness of RWECO towards working with the respective District LGs.
4. An official launch of the project should be done to cement the already established rapport.
5. RWECO should train District leaders in the project areas on issues of Social Accountability before effective implementation of the project begins, similarly radio programs should be conducted to introduce the project to the stakeholders in the project areas.
6. Finally, members agreed that in future T-shirts and Identity Cards should be made and given to the monitors for purposes of identification and motivation.

PREVENTION OF AIDS/HIV AT WORK PLACE.

More than 42 million people around the world are affected with HIV virus and 26 million are estimated to be workers in their prime productive years.In Uganda over 1 million people are affected with HIV.The pandemic has adverse effects on the socio-economic developments sectors of the country. The impact is simillary manifested through declining productivity ,increased costs, declining profit .HIV is now a mojor workplace issue.

It should be noted that dispite the overall diclining prevalence rates registered
HIV Infection rates are still un acceptably high .There a need for concerted efforts to reduce on the prevalence and sustain HIV/AIDS prevention and control.

employers should promote quality of life and productivity by developing and implementing HIV/AIDS workplace policies and programmes.
The policy development and implimentationn guidline is specifically disigned to guide employer in the development and implementation of HIV/AIDS Policies and programmes.The policy aim at preventing the infection and reducing its impact at the workplace.,

KYENJOJO DISTRICT E-SOCIETY ROUND TABLE MEETING REAPS

RIC-NET in partnership with Rwenzori Consortium for civic competence (RWECO) conducted a round table meeting on the 20th October 2011 at the district headquarters in the district council chambers.

This meeting was as a result of the discussion held in September 2011 with the CAO kyenjojo and the secretary for social services whereby RIC-NET introduced the idea of promoting partnership on effective information sharing between the District Local Government, CSOs and the citizens The meeting was a follow up on how effective information sharing can be promoted in the District,
Various participants attended to give their views including the District officials, CSOs representatives, Religious leaders, the media and representatives of the business community
During the meeting the Executive Director RIC-NET gave a detailed presentation on using the model of the E-Society in bridging the gap between the District Local government, CSOs and the entire community in terms of;
• Access to information
• Voicing the silence and
• Accountability
Mr Murugahara J.Silco the Executive Director mentioned the various online resources that would aid in availing timely and relevant information to the community like the District website, District news blog, E-Library, Dgroup (Discussion platform) and the CSOs portal.

Later a session of reactions chaired by Mr.Mwirima James the co-coordinator RWECO led to a number of issues where among others included;
It was appreciated that there was a starting point since some departments had computers and internet
Outlining a number of requirements that are needed to have the E-society in place
A draft Memorandum of understanding (MOU) to be shared among stake holders to discuss and have their inputs and later signed to enable commencement of the Electronic centre
Information flow and control managed by the District Information Officer (DIO) since the center is meant to strengthen his office and in this case avoiding information distortion since members expressed concern about information security.
Key stake holders to this noble cause were also outlined and their roles.
In her closing remarks the, District secretary for production Ms Tumuranze Grace appreciated the efforts of RIC-NET/RWECO in strengthening information sharing
She pledged to further the ideas to the District executive for discussion and also assured the meeting that she was ready to enroll for the computer classes as soon as this would be established.
She called upon the CSOs to join in this cause of establishing the E-society. She also pledged the support of the district in moving forward to the establishment of the E-society in the District.
The meeting was adjourned at around 1:45 PM.

Monday, October 17, 2011

KABAROLE DISTRICT E-SOCIETY CENTER STARTS WITH A BIG BANG!



In the bid to facilitate increased access to timely and credible information by the community in Kabarole District, RIC-NET in partnership with Kabarole District Local Government have embarked on establishing an E-Society Center at the District head quarters in Booma.
The E-Society Center’s vision is to ensure access to credible and timely information that can influence social accountability and also voice the silent issues/persons in Society.
To usher it in, RIC-NET and Kabarole District Local Government held a round table meeting on 13.10.11 at Toro Club to discuss and also map out modalities on how to get the E-Society Center functional come November 2011.
Speaking at the Meeting, the Kabarole District Information Officer Lillian Nkwenge expressed gratitude to RIC-NET for its interest in working with Kabarole DLG to promote increased access to information. She noted that they (RIC-NET and Kabarole Local Government) shared a vision.
Making his presentation about the E-society Center, the RIC-NET Executive Director Mr. John Silco explained that the Center is expected to facilitate universal and timely access to information, cause global influence and increased involvement of the greater majority; the grass root persons participating in the decision making process at the district.

The meeting that brought together other CSOs in Kabarole like RAC,KANCA,KIC, Toro Development Network, IWDP, and FORUD discussed a lot of things ranging from when the Center should commence, what it will do, who will provide what and how it (the Center) will be sustained.
Commenting on who would provide what, Lillian noted that Kabarole DLG is going to provide space (2 rooms), furniture (lockable office Cup Boards ), staff, carpet and information, while RIC-NET will provide Hard ware (5 computers),1 Multi- printer (Photocopier, printer and scanner),Internet support, trainings (introduction to computer, web2.o tools), staff up to December 2013, designing the District Website, development of on-line platforms – bulk Sms, e-library and d-groups, radio programs, small generator and technical back up from time to time.
In addition to this, KIC also offered to provide 7 desktop computers, 15 chairs, shelves, information sourcing from the community and Community Based Officers, and supporting the community Development office, while FORUD offered an office desk, and Toro Development Network offered radio programs effective January 2012. IWDP, RAC and KANCA pledged to communicate the kind of support they would offer by the end of October 2011.
Discussing what the Center would provide, the participants noted that first it should be established what kind of information needs are in the society, arguing that this would guide information sharing by the different stakeholders in terms of; what information should be shared, in what form, how often and through what channel? Its upon this that the members recommended that another meeting for majorly District heads of department be organized in the last week of October to critically think through these ideas as heads of department who will be regular providers of information to the Center.
Sharing their views the RWECO Coordinator Mr. James Mwirima and the KIC Chairperson Mr. Baguma Johnstone appealed to the CAO and the other stakeholders to put more efforts on influencing attitude change towards information sharing, arguing that even when most people have vital information they are always too reluctant to share it. They noted that there is need for people to learn the importance of information sharing and to routinely do it voluntarily and timely whether physically or electronically.
Closing the meeting the C.A.O Mr. Juma Nyende thanked the members for turning up for the meeting and for their different pledges towards the establishment of the E-Society Center and particularly to RIC-NET for the initiative to work with Kabarole DLG to promote easy access to information. He noted that the establishment of an E-Society Center is in line with the District’s objectives, because the District is equally supposed to have a resource center but due to limited funding it has not been able to have a functional one.
The CAO revealed that he was excited about this joint initiative that was going to make their resource room finally functional and to also add value to the services offered by Kabarole District Local Government . He pledged continued support towards this cause.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

THE CURRENT HEAVY RAINS ARE DISASTROUS TO FARMERS

The current rains have brought more harm than good especially to the farmers. Heavy rain down pour is one of the most pronounced effect of climate change .
As much as all crops need atleast some water to survive , a regular rain pattern is vital for healthy crops because too much rain can be harmful to crops and even devastating for farmers.
One major effect of excessive rainfall is delayed planting and reduction in crop yields which jeopardizes profit for the farmers. Floods,lightening strikes , and landslides have all been a result of heavy rains .

Most roads in rural areas which before were in a poor state are now in a sorry state due to heavy rains leading to increased transport costs for farmers which they can not afford.
Therefore transportation of their produce to the market has become increasingly expensive and this consequently affected the price on foodstuffs which have gone high as well.
Most areas have experienced flooding and because of this some farmers store houses have been washed away in the process while other farmers can not leave their homes for fear of being carried away by floods or struck by lightening.

Monday, October 3, 2011

RWENZORI REGION CELEBRATES INTERNATIONAL OLDER PERSONS DAY

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE OLDER PERSONS CELEBRATED IN RWENZORI REGION
October 1st 2011 marked the celebrations for the older persons in Rwenzori region and specicifically in kyenjojo District. Since RIC-NET operates in this area, the staffs were among the thousands of participants who filled the District Headquarters grounds on Saturday to mark this day & also witness the launching of the Social Assistance Grant for the Elderly (SAGE) where the chief guest was the Vice president of the republic of Uganda


According to the program line up for the international day of older persons produced by the ministry of Gender, Labor and social Development
Older persons are defined as persons aged 60 years and above (Uganda national policy for older persons 2009)
Theme of the day
“Social protection a pre-requisite for empowerment of older persons’’
Ministry of gender, labor and social development is championing the development of a national social protection system that addresses the risks and vulnerabilities faced by the poorest groups of the population


With support from development partners as DFID, Irish Aid, UNICEF, the scheme provides cash grants to the chronically poor and vulnerable persons to enable them access basic needs as well as spur them to engage in other productive activities.
“In his speech the chief Guest, remarked that Government is determined to reduce income insecurity for older persons through programmes as SAGE, Functional adult literacy (FAL) among others, he also gave an example of countries as Brazil and South Africa that have adopted social protection in the National development program (senior citizens grants) these countries have shown that older persons basic needs are met, their incomes have increased and health catered for.
Kyenjojo District is among the pilot Districts for the cash transfers and the target sub counties for the moment are Bufunjo and Nyankwanzi.