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Monday, December 17, 2012


With the increasing number of farmers realizing the importance of the plant clinics, CABI in partnership with plant wise held a two days monitoring and evaluation training for the partners promoting plant clinics in Africa. Participants in this training were invited from six countries of Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana, and Sierra Leone. 

  Links of stakeholders to the farmers.

RIC-NET program manager, kyomuhendo Joselyne    attended the training that was held at world Forestry centre in Nairobi on 14th – 15 December 2012. While opening the training the Director CABI, Mr.   Morris Akili noted that the plant clinic project was initiated two and a half years ago and as such there was need to assess the past work and know if the farmers were accessing the clinics with ease, what factors are within their means to change that, what were the commonly reported cases, how can the plant doctors handle the cases and how do the farmers perceive the plant clinics? He remarked that it was possible to know about farmers issues through a clear M&E tool that would not only target farmers but equally inform the National systems to ensure sustainability.                                                           
 During the training participants developed the vision and a picture for the plant clinic project by 2015, identifying key stakeholders as farmers, ministry of Agriculture, plant doctors, CABI, NGOs/CBOs, research institutes, Agro-input dealers, By the end of the training participants had generated   links of each stakeholder to the farmer needs that will guide development of a   final M& E tool by January 2013.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Gulu and Kitgum extend appreciation for their designed online platforms

The long journey across the country that started on Tuesday, all the way from the west to the North of the country (Uganda) did not go unfruitful. With RIC-NET ICT staff Yosia and Charles Asiimwe travelling to Gulu and Kitgum for the training of the District leaders and stake holders on the use and utilization of their websites and E-libraries.
The training that started on Thursday 6th - 7th Dec. 2012 was attended by District leaders from Gulu and kitgum and ACORD staff. A total number of 16 participants attended this interactive two days training at Kakanyero Hotel in Gulu Municipality.
Training session 

With a bright Thursday morning, the participants were introduced to the basics and fundamentals of ICT (web browsing). A number of terms were explained to the participants which was like an ice breaker to the rest of the training.
There was later a questions and answers session that was so interactive and interesting and members consulted on a number of issues and solutions were given by the facilitators accordingly.
The second session later characterized by an introduction of web applications used to develop their websites sites was presented to them among which was basics to Joomla since they (District leaders) are supposed to update their sites on their own later after the end of the project in order to sustain them and keep up to date information on the sites.
This was later followed by a number of practical skills where they were showed how it works and how easy it is to use the application to develop their online platforms.
Questions and clarifications were made by end of day and the training ended at 5:00 pm given the heavy load that the facilitators had to give to the participants.
Later in the evening the RIC-NET staff who were also the facilitators in this case were a given a platform by ACORD on 102 Mega FM in Gulu town to explain to the entire Acholi region about the relevance of the online platforms being developed in the “Enhancing Civic competence for Social Accountability project” that is being run in the 25 Districts in the five regions of Uganda.
RIC-NET staff on Mega FM-Gulu
Present for the talk show were Loum Benard from ACORD (Project officer), Juma the radio presenter and moderator for the talk show, Peter Ocen (Gulu District ICT Officer), Charles Asiimwe Sytems Admin.RIC-NET and Yosia Baluku (ICTO-RIC-NET).
A number of issues were explained to the entire community of Acholi which among others include, the history of the website project by UCC, the home pages and how the social accountability project came in to offer support after all had not gone on well previously.
A number of advantages for these online platforms to the District administration, business community and the entire citizens of Acholi were explained and among others included;
Ø  Global publication of the Districts’ opportunities, potentials e.t.c
Ø  Repository for the district information and thus stored safely for long
Ø  Districts adverts and current news updates on time
Ø  Timely and relevant information
Ø  Easy access to public documents
Ø  Help researchers get right information about the status of the districts in which ever department e.t.c
Listeners called in later at the end of the show and gave their views, others appreciated and others were also seeking for more clarification and guidance and also others supplementing.
 Day two started with a recap of day one that was also another interactive and participatory one. This indicated that the participants had grasped a number of issues from the day one training.

Participants were later given more details of the installation of joomla and later sites presented to them. They appreciated the design of the sites and e-libraries that are hosted at , , , .
Later the District leaders gave comments, input and suppliments on their sites what to change and what to improve. All changes were noted and promised to be effected.
Members also appreciated the design of the e-libraries and said it was much easier to interact and work with after being taken through the session of login and updating them.
Later a session of the social media that has eased communication and information sharing was presented to them. Skype, twitter among others was introduced to the participants and promised to take them on for easy information sharing.

Way forward
Since there was limited data for their sites they all promised to avail the necessary information to have everything done for their sites.
They also agreed on some login details for their e-libraries to go and do practice
And that also incase of any technical issues they would not hesitate getting back to us.
They also expressed a concern that the two days training was not enough and that more trainings should be extended to individual districts.
In her closing remarks the Deputy Chief Administrative officer Kitgum Ms Oroma Rhoda  expressed gratitude for the training and thanked ACORD that had brought the facilitators on board for the wonderful training and support to the districts.
C.A.O Gulu giving closing remarks
The function was later officially closed by the chief Administrative officer Gulu Ms.Odwar Santa who expressed her sincere thanks for the training and also said it was nice and good for the district leaders. She challenged them to take on the responsibility and share with the rest of the leaders when they go back. She also said the leaders should have gone with enough skills since she had grabbed a number of things for the little time she was there “for the little time I have sat here, I have been able to understand and learn more. So for you who have been here for two days, I believe you should grasped a lot”
She wished everybody a very safe journey back to their destinations and thereafter a lunch on at the very hotel Kakanyero.
Participants pose for a group photo after the training

Friday, December 7, 2012


Gone are the days when one would first walk to the   internet café to access internet so as to interact with the rest of the world, with the increasing developments and innovations it’s now easier for the rural farmers to stay on line by buying an MTN bundle using their IDEOS phones which is basically data converted from the airtime. 

The E.Director orients the plant Doctors on how to load a bundle.
 at a refresher  training for the plant doctors and nurses this morning of 7th December, RIC-NET  oriented the participants from the project areas of kasese and Bundibugyo in the purchase of  data and finally  how  to acess internet the least being one day for as low as 500/=. In partnership with EFIL and plant wise through Busongora community library , RIC-NET has  promoted information sharing on control of plant diseases and pests, since the plant doctors/ community information facilitators have been given IDEOS phones, they go online to get information about remedies for  plant diseases and pests which information is disseminated to the farmers at the market days, 

A photo taken using an IDEOS phone at the training

this arrangement has been expanded to Mawa market adding to the traditional markets of kisinga that operates on Fridays,Mpondwe-Lhubiriha that runs on Friday, Busunga & harugale  market on Thursday and Mpanga on Monday.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


The training was conducted in two different places within the district. That was on 01st and 04th December, 2012. Hackitegya Community Polytechnic Institute was the first group to receive the training and later Harughale Sub-county at Semuliki Information Center.
Subscribers from Hackitegya Community Polytechnic Institute

The training was received in good faith and the community was really appealing and ready to join such that they can speak and be heard. They indicated how they have been failing to reach their leaders and express their community concerns. The training on how to become a U-reporter was a dream come true to the people of Harughale.
Members of the community reading through the step 
At the Hackitegya Community Polytechnic Institute, the story was different since the people that were training on how to subscribe and become U-reporters were only teachers since the students had gone home for holidays.
The mobilization was done both on the local radio station i.e. UBC/VOB (Voice of Bundibugyo) radio and through phone calls to some few people that the trainer knew and could help him reach out to other people.
The training was attended by both male and female, all able bodied people. At Harughale, the Total number of participants was 31, where 25 were Male and 6 Female. At the end of the training, 16 participants subscribed to U-report, those who did not subscribe had no mobile phones, and at Hackitegya Community Polytechnic Institute, the Total number of participants was 8 and all male. The 8 participants all at the end of the training had subscribed to U-report. 
At the end of the training, in Bundibugyo, we attained 24 subscribers.

The trainer helping some people on how to subscribe.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


A youth in Kyenjojo  responds to U-report registration questions on his cell phone
The youths in Kyegegwa and Kyenjojo have had no choice but to sail with the wind of U-report; with a series of U-report trainings going on in the Rwenzori region, and youths/citizens being recruited as U-reporters, over 50 people in the two districts have been reached with the good news of speaking on what is happening in their communities through the Sms based platform.
The trainings in the two districts (Kyegegwa and Kyenjojo) were conducted on 12th Nov. 2012 and 05th Dec. 2012 at the Community hall and Kaihura Primary school respectively.
The training that was conducted by the Coordinator of Kyegegwa rural information Center, Matovu Charles in Kyegegwa District attracted 40 (18 females and 22 males) while in Kyenjojo the training attracted 20 (2 females and 18 males) and was conducted by the RIC-NET and Mwenge rural information Center’s (MRIC) Information Officers Alice Mbayahi and Marunga Monica.
During the trainings the participants were taken through what U-report is, who can be a u-reporter, how it operates, it’s mission and how one can be a U-reporter; this was a practical session. Approximately 30 persons registered during the training sessions while the rest promised to do as soon as they find phones on which to register and always use.
Unfortunately, although majority of the youths in attendance were excited about the program and wished to be U-reporters averagely 5 of every 20 youths had phones. This in a way limited the recruitment of many youths as U-reporters.
In a related development, the rains also partly frustrated the turn up of the youths for these trainings; in Kyenjojo for instance the rains that started at around 5:00am poured till mid-day, hence causing a very poor turn up of the participants.

During the trainings, youths noted that they had lots of service delivery challenges in their communities that they needed to report on although they didn’t not know where to report since their leaders are ceremonial. They appreciated the platform, expressing that they hope it provides a solution to their long standing issues and disillusionment.

The youths through RIC-NET appealed to UNICEF to consider providing a phone per one or two villages on which youths/citizens without phones can also use to report or participate in decision making processes. They explained that in as much as they want to be U-reporters, to some phones are still so expensive given the level of unemployment and biting poverty up-country.  

They promised to routinely report, participate in U-report poll questions and to recruit more u-reporters.
RIC-NET Information Officer poses for a Photo with some newly recruited U-reporters in Kyenjojo district at Kaihura Primary School.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


RIC-NET in partnership with UNICEF   enhances civic engagement on social accountability by unlocking peoples’ potentials and amplifying voices of individuals in communities. This was observed during u-report training on 30th November 2012 at Uganda Pentecostal University and 1st December 2012 at Mountains of the Moon University Kabarole district where by 38 u-reporters were recruited, 11 women and 27 men.  
students excited about u-report

U-report being 100% free encouraged participants in the training to join U-report since all who attend had mobile phones. They came to realize that what is only needed is their voice to make a difference in their communities. One of the participants by the names of Mr.Kusemererwa  Emmanuel student Mountains of the Moon university noted that “the platform is user-friendly since at this era of technology every one at least can text a message and respond accordingly since most of the people now know how to read and write.”He also noted that immediate feedback received on mobile phones indicates that a lot is being done by UNICEF and partner organizations like RIC-NET to unlock peoples’ potential to realize development at grass root levels and include the excluded people in communities.
new recruited u-reporters posing for a photo
New recruited u-reporters promised to work with RIC-NET in preaching the gospel U-report since it is the only tool that can help them to address social issues that concern their communities freely.


On the 21st of November 2012, RIC-NET staff trained more youth from Kasese Town to become U-reporters. The training took place at Rwenzori College of commerce located in Kasese Municipality. The training was conducted by Charles Kaliba the community outreach officer of RIC-NET and Baguma Geoffrey the Principal of Rwenzori College of Commerce. The participants in the training were mainly the youth between 18 years to 32 years drawn from different categories,(students, local colleges, bodaboda riders, village youth and teachers).69 youth attended the training with 43 female and 26 male and 17 teachers 11 male and 6 female attended the training.
The mission of U-report is to equip the youth and other stake holder with the ability to Speak-out on what is happening in the community where they come from, share what is happening in the country with other Ugandans, participate in the national wide campaigns of trying to improve the delivery of services in the country and use the report results and information from other reporters to increase citizens awareness on matters of national interest.
After the training the youth were able to realize that their voice could matter now when the country is facing many challenges. They realized that not all of them can get a chance to meet with the leaders and other people in authority or may not get chances to air their views with others.  This is the chance for them to express their voices and shares with other Ugandans. One Biira Agnes mentioned she has been getting a lot of information on her brother’s phone from 8500 about Health issues.