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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

stake holder brainstorm on Banana production




Stakeholders deliberate on Banana Bacterial Wilt and improvement of Banana productivity in Rwenzori region.

Members from the Government and CSO’s in the Rwenzori region held a stake holders meeting to find the way forward on soil fertility and banana productivity in the region. The meeting was held at Kagote SDA church hall in Kabarole Municipality. Participants were drawn from Districts of Kasese, Kabarole, Ntoroko and Bundibugyo who included NAADS coordinators District Agricultural officer and Agricultural extension workers. Other was CSO’s working in these districts and RIC-NET was represented by the Community Outreach Officer.

The objectives of the meeting were; to characterize indigenous knowledge on banana management likely to influence banana yield, factors affecting agronomic practice of banana production, identify the effective sources of social capital to diffuse banana technology, develop a strategy that can enhance banana production in the region and highlight key policy issues that would require urgent intervention.

During the discussion the findings were that the region has fertile soils to support production, but management is limiting factor leading to poor disease and pest control,89.9% reported pest and diseases,43% of farmers reported Banana Bacterial will while 23%reported Banana weavil,there is poor attitude of farmers towards banana management form other enterprises like cocoa,maize,coffe and cotton, there is low access to technical information that that 32%of farmers access information while 68% do not really access information. However these farmers are complex and should be helped in the complex manner.

It was identified that the region has good fertile soils but has been hit by banana bacterial wilt which had affected banana production. A research had been conducted and found out that most people in the region at least eat Matooke a day. It was thus resolved that, Banana production be taken serious as an economic activity and be popularized like other cash crops. Market information should be availed to the farmers; Some NGO’s like KRC had conducted research and end up nowhere, because of lack of coordinated effort towards helping the farmers. The government department of agriculture should work closely with the CSO’s and other NGO’s to provide information to the farmers.

Friday, February 24, 2012

FOUR HUNDRED CBOs/NGOs IN KABAROLE DISTRICT: How Valid and Relevant are they?

We have four hundred CBO/NGOs in Kabarole District, but not all are compliant to the law and functional” remarked Mr. Tadeo Balisanga the Community Development Officer (CDO) Kabarole District.

Mr. Balisanga said this at the NGO evaluation meeting held on 22.02.12 at Mucwa. Opening the meeting Balisanga noted that his office is mandated to register, coordinate and monitor the operations of all CBO/NGOs in the District. He however apologized for the continued inconsistence in conducting NGO coordination meetings which he attributed to inadequate resources.

Mr. Balisanga informed the meeting that he had received a communication from NGO Board warning him of the increased NGO operations in the country which need to be closely monitored because some of these organizations are allegedly involved in criminal campaigns/work. Accordingly NGO Board had requested his office for an update of all the registered organizations in the District and what they do; and to this he had called for this evaluation meeting.

Explaining the purpose of the meeting, Mr. Balisanga said it is to get all the organizations in Kabarole together to share their work with the District because many NGOs are doing work that the Government is not aware of. The meeting was to also remind the different organizations to regularly update/renew their registration with the District every two years.

He added that all organizations are expected to share their reports, budgets, and work plans with the District, asserting that “if Government can display their work plans and budgets why not Civil Society, I challenge you to walk the talk”

Responding to the CDO’s communication, members raised a number of issues expressing their dissatisfaction over the relationship between the District leadership and their operations. Members noted that most times both District and sub county leaders shun away from CBO/NGO meetings whenever called upon especially those that are not financially or adequately facilitated. This they said has created a big gap between the two parties and has left either suspicious of the other.

Lack of routine monitoring of CBOs/NGOs by the District leadership was also raised by the members saying this is the reason why Government has continuously undermined the contribution of CSOs in society and also gets them framing CSOs as anti-Government agents.

Commenting on the unrecognized contribution CSOs were making in Society one Mr. Mihanji of Parents Concern revealed that his Organization had built eight permanent houses for widows in Fort portal Municipality alone costing over 180million but it is unfortunate that the District/Municipality is not even aware and appreciative of this. He appealed for a closer collaboration between Government and CSOs.

In addition to this, the meeting also appreciated the fact that many organizations are not familiar with the NGO policy and requirements and at this it was recommended that the office of the CDO should get this policy distributed to the CBOs/NGOs in the District.

Summing up the discussion, several other recommendations/appeals were made by the members. These included;

  1. Government to revamp her monitoring system of NGOs, challenging that why has Government always complained of Briefcase organizations yet they have never exposed or closed up any especially in Kabarole District.
  2. The District to call for bi-annual coordination meetings of all CBOs/NGOs in the District.
  3. The CDO’s office to mobilize/fundraise monies to conduct the coordination meetings from the different organizations in the District incase his office is not in position to facilitate them.
  4. CDO’s at the sub county level should be tasked to also conduct similar meetings and monitoring visits of the CBOs/NGOs in their sub counties.
  5. The District should consider extending the funds allocated for capacity building to CBOs and NGOs as well.
  6. RIC-NET to support the CDO in mobilizing other organizations for coordination meetings through its bulk Sms program.
  7. CBOs/NGOs to routinely share their work plans, budgets and reports with the District and the CDO is to develop a particular reporting and work plan format and share it with all organizations for uniformity.
  8. All the CBOs that did not come along with their certificates of registration, work plans, budgets and reports should ensure that they are availed to the office of the CDO by end of February 2012.

Closing the meeting the RDC, Kabarole District thanked the office of the CDO for conducting such a meeting and especially for inviting him to this meeting which he said is the first of its kind that he has attended in the Rwenzori region. He thanked all the members for the great work that their organizations are doing in their different fields of work.

He said Government appreciates the role and contribution of CSOs and would never take it for granted. He apologized for the poor monitoring and collaboration and promised that he was going to ensure that this weakness is addressed.

He advised members to work towards making their organizations self sustaining with less reliability on donor funding because this will keep them in business after the donor funding ends.

He however warned that he was going to institute a committee to keenly study the operations and visibility of all the organizations in the District and he will make sure that at least by the end of this year the number has been reduced to 300 only or less because many organizations are not functional any way while some are allegedly undermining Government efforts.

This meeting was attended by approximately 45 members from the different CBOs and NGOs in Kabarole District.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

KABAROLE NGOs/CBOs ASSOCIATION HOLDS THE 6TH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

As one of its core objectives RIC-NET promotes public, private sector and civil society partnerships in building the information society and in this case Kabarole NGOs/CSOs Association (KANCA) AGM is one of the partner activity which RIC-NET could not miss attending

The meeting was held on 23rd February 2012 at kagote SDA hall in Fort-portal town with participants as KANCA member organizations, staff and Board, partners as RIDE-Africa, KRC, Care international, District community Development officer-kabarole, KADD-NET, Uganda National NGO Forum and RIC-NET represented by the program manager Ms. Kyomuhendo Joselyne. While welcoming the participants, the outgoing Board chairperson Mr. Maate Joseph informed noted that a lot had been in the past giving an example that land had been identified as a process to facilitate establishment of a future home for the organization and called upon members to mobilize resources to buy the land Ms.Annet kandole from Care International advised KANCA to lobby for land from the District and Tooro kingdom since they are doing credible work for the community

Mr. Itoote Edward the coordinator KANCA in his annual report mentioned that one of the key activities for 2012 funded by support for advocacy networks involve trainings for members in evidence creation for advocacy, popularizing a self regulation mechanism (QUAM) quality assurance mechanism for the CSOs to combat practices as having the same person in the organiastion who is a chairperson, secretary and treasurer, he also mentioned that there is a committee in place which upon invitation will facilitate an assessment exercise for quality improvement at the end members are issued a certificate. He also proudly presented the achievements of the 2011 especially in areas of accountability monitoring including but not limited to; creation of space for CSOs to interface between the CSOs, community and local leaders a case of Mugusu sub county KANCA facilitated a meeting between sub county leaders and the community as the mugusu main market was prone to road accidents, waste collected and deposited in the same trading centre after the meeting the market was restructured, traders were removed from selling the produce in the middle of the road and waste collected and deposited to a new site. In reaction to the report represented, the program manager RIC-NET, informed and called upon KANCA to utilize the available opportunities at RIC-Net as the bulk sms which can ease information sharing, mobilization of members and the community for activities, which was highly welcomed.

As one of the important items in the meeting elections were conducted and a new executive board to serve for a period of two years was put into place with the following members

Chairperson Mr. Kalyegira Hamilton, Vice-chair Ms. Musana Christine General Secretary Mr. Byakutaaga Aaron , publicity secretary Ms.Mutooro Resty, Treasurer Mr. kigongo Saul, Burahya county Ms. Baker Christine ,Bunyangabu county Mr. Byaruhanga Archangel

Fort portal municipality Mr. Nyakaana Patrick.

Congratulations to the team as the civil society organizations in the District await to harvest from the fruits of your leadership.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

MORE STILL SEEK TO BE HEARD

Currently there are eighty seven thousand two hundred and sixty three (87,263) U-reporters in Uganda, despite this big number more youths, children, women and men still long to have their silent voices on the service delivery challenges in their societies amplified!

This was evident on 20.02.12 at Canon Apollo Primary Teachers College in Kabarole District where approximately two hundred and fifty (250) people gathered to listen, learn and be part of the U-report Platform; these included student teachers, tutors and Primary Head teachers of some primary schools around Kabarole.

The eagerly waiting gathering was taken through the meaning, objectives, mission and importance of the U-report platform by the RIC-NET Information Officer.
The participants learnt that U-report is an SMS based tool used for social development through which children, Youth, elderly and the general public can participate in the development of their areas and improving social accountability.
Reacting to the presentation the participants appreciated the fact that the platform is 100% free and the opportunity it gives individuals to voice out those silent issues affecting them in their communities.
“I think this is a nice platform because it allows you to report freely without fear that you will be witch hunted besides there is nothing to lose since it is free” remarked one of the student teachers.
About the importance of U-report, the participants also learnt that U-report helps in raising awareness about the service delivery challenges in the community amongst the leaders and also enhances citizen engagement with them.
Summing up the presentation, the RIC-NET Information officer encouraged the participants to not only stop at subscribing to be U-reporters but also work towards recruiting other members of the community and also being active U-reporters.

Adding to the presentation, the College Principle revealed that he was a U-reporter himself and that he does not regret being one because it has given him an opportunity to participate in debates about the pertinent issues going on in the Country.
He emphasized that U-report is one platform that helps in amplifying voices of the individuals and gives them an opportunity to speak out on what is happening in their communities and to work with their leaders to cause positive change.

The Principle called upon all the student teachers yet to go out for the training to be active U-reporters when there, and to all the head teachers to go and recruit all their teaching staff and other members in their communities.

He also thanked RIC-NET and UNICEF for extending this service to the College. He noted that even though the College does not allow students to have phones at school, he had for the purposes of boosting U-reporting bought 200 phones for the student teachers to use during their teaching practice and holidays. Using these phones the Principle pledged to take the students through the process of registration later in the day after all the phones are ready for use.

Conclusively, in addition to the approximately fifteen (15) teachers who registered with U-report during the training, over 200 students are expected to have registered as U-reporters after the registration exercise with the College Principle.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

RIC-NET STAFF VISITS INFORMATION POINTS IN KABAROLE

FIELD VISIT TO KICWAMBA SUB-COUNTY INFORMATION POINT

On Tuesday 14th February 2012, RIC-NET Assistant Information Officer visited Kicwamba Sub county Information point which is hosted by Busaiga SACCO. Busaiga SACCO is a member organization to Kabarole Information Centre and it is located in Kicwamba Sub county, Burahya county-Kabarole district. Busaiga SACCO was established mainly to support farmers to access affordable loans and timely, reliable and appropriate information to boost their farming activities.

The information shared includes; best farming practices, pest and disease control, market and price information. The center has an information resource room and a notice board which are used as avenues for information sharing to the community in addition to workshops and meetings which are held regularly. Major activities carried out at the centre are as; savings and credit, information sharing, advisory services to farmers, Horney processing and sell of agro-in puts.

The visit was an interesting one, I had a chance of meeting both Board and staff members of the SACCO who spear headed the idea of initiating an information center and shared with them RIC-NET initiatives to bridge the gaps in information sharing and integrating modern communication tools such as computers and mobile telephones in enhancing information sourcing and sharing processes. The members were introduced to various e-platforms for information sharing such as Bulky SMS system, U-report, D-group among others. Also 10 calendars of both RIC-NET and RWECO were given out to the members. The Chairperson Board Mr. Makune Clovice embraced the message and pledged to work together with RIC-NET to see that their sub-county also greatly benefit from the program and promised to assist in collection of phone numbers.

However, they requested RIC-NET to always consider them in sharing with them updated information since they have limited access to information such as news papers internet and other sources because of being in a rural area.


Monday, February 6, 2012

GIVE THEM INFORMATION, SKILLS AND THEY CAN DEMAND FOR IMPROVED SERVICES

It all started on the 31st Jan 2012 Morning setting off for Ntungamo District in preparation for the set up of the Data centers and training in E-platforms.
The objective for the set up of these data centers is to implement the political accountability project through the Citizens manifesto using the Huduma platform. The team led by DENIVA arrived late on Tuesday night and rested ready to start work on a Wednesday morning.

Bright Wednesday morning of work
On a cold Wednesday morning, 1st Feb 2012 in Ntungamo District the set up of the Data center at KAYODA by the CEW-IT/RIC-NET ICT team commenced. KAYODA is a partner member of DENIVA a member partner also of CEW-IT in this project.

Later after the set up a training session started that was introduced to members by Ms.Susan Nanduddu the project focal person of DENIVA.
Emma Oluka ICT CEW-IT took members through the Election monitoring platform http://uchaguzi-uganda.blogspot.com that was used during the 2011 general elections. The intention of this was to introduce huduma to the participants a platform that is going to be used in this project to monitor service delivery.
This was a more interactive and interesting session to the participants where he (Oluka) managed to explain the Huduma concept very clearly.
ICT RIC-NET later introduced members to blogging as another platform of information sharing. He explained why one or an organization may need a blog and also how one would create a blog. Later at the end of the session, he (ICTO RIC-NET) created a blog http://kayoda.blogspot.com for KAYODA that they will be using to update and share information/activities with the rest of the partners.
The session continued with repair and maintenance tips that were passed over to the participants by the ICTO-RICNET and the equipment was later handed over to KAYODA officially by Ms.Nanduddu Susan from DENIVA. The equipment included three Laptops, one printer, a projector and an oange internet flybox.

From the west to the East
This also started early in the morning of 2nd Feb 2012 from Ntungamo all the way to Kamuli for the same Noble cause.
Same activities as performed in Ntungamo were also done in Kamuli District on 3rd Feb 2012 at KANENGO also a member partner of DENIVA.
Oluka ICT performed the same activities as done in Ntungamo as so did the ICTO RIC-NET after the set up of the data center.
Another blog was created for KANENGO http://kanengo.blogspot.com
This still came up after a thorough explaination of our being there by the Project focal person DENIVA Ms.Susan Nanduddu.
Three Laptops, a printer, projector and an Orange internet flybox was also handed over to KANENGO.
This was good experience, the set up and the training were all successful.