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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS IN THE RWENZORI REGION IN FOR LUNCH CAMPAIGN



In a bid to Increase stakeholders  obligation as a key milestone for achieving lunch in schools, reduced on corruption and accountable leadership  Kabarole Resource Source and Centre, Rwenzori information centers Network, Rwenzori anti –corruption coalition, AHURIO, Ride Africa, KANCA and JESA launched regional education campaign at Kiboota primary school, kabarole district  this interface meeting was chaired by head master mr. Karuhanga Francis of this school,  management committee, parents, children and CSOs to enhance  way of strengthening pupils performance.
This came after cross administrative issues of universal primary education policy were analyzed country wide that most of the stakeholders feel absent about its implementation.
Uganda before 1986, education system was severely disrupted prior to the introduction of universal primary education
The status of primary school sector were extremely poor where by budgetary allocations had declined from 3.4% to 1.4% between 1971 and 1985 and the burden was born by parents while expansion of primary schools attracted both domestic and international  attention in 1990s, H.E yoweri kaguta pledged for UPE during his presidential campaigns in 1996 and UPE  policy were introduced to address Five major fields of intervation one was to abolish school fees to all government schools, increase the government expenditure on primary education, component was to introduce double shift for grades , definition of parental responsibilities as provision of lunch, uniform, shelter.
 
It was realized that in kiboota primary school in kabarole district parents have failed to provide lunch for their children either because they don’t mind about children’s future or some think that the government should pay for everything which has affected the education performance in schools
 
According to the headmaster of kiboota primary school mr.Karuhanga Francis information indicate that out of 1010 pupils only 400 pack lunch from home the remaining 6010 pupils go hungry this has affected their performance, escaping from school and he appreciated CSOs intervation  to work as alarm bells in developing this country, campaign to call upon all  stakeholders to be responsible for the betterment of childrens’ future and the school vision

THE RIGHT TO A FAIR TRIAL REPORT LAUNCHED


At a two days meeting held on 25th-26th April at cornerstone hotel in Fort-portal. Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI)   launched a  report on the right to a fair trial which examines the current level  of compliance with the constitutional requirement that suspects, accused persons, and inimates are entitled  to a fair, speedy and public hearing  before an independent and impartial tribunal. in his overview the Executive Director FHRI, noted that the organisation had existed for more than 20 years  actively engaging in studies and research  on  human rights  issues,  related to Juvinile justice,Right to health care,Prison reform in Uganda, with the objective of improving the standard of living  and causing social change in Uganda.
 with the participants ranging  from Judges, police force, prisons, CSOs, human rights defenders and the media, various presentations were made highlighting the achievements, challenges in ensuring the delivery of a  fair trial.According to a presentation by the principle Judge Hon.Yokoramu Bamwine, The right to a  fair trial is a norm of international  human rights law designed to protect individuals  from the unlawful and deprivation of other basic rights and freedom, the most prominent of which are the  right to life and liberty to the person. however he noted challenges in the  delivery of criminal justice from Acute shortage of staff at all levels of court, heavy case backlog build up at all levels of courts coupled with unexplained  and adjournments of cases, civil  and criminal.



By the end of the two days participants were equiped with the proceedings in the  criminal  justice system  especially from the police force where a proffessional standards unit was established to ensure proffessionalism and adherence to ethics in the police force, the officer in charge noted that in its  four years of establishment, the unit has netted over 20 years who intended to exhort money from people.



Thursday, April 25, 2013

Human Rights-based approach for development


RIC-NET joined the other members of CSO’s in Uganda and east Africa to participate in the training on Human Rights based approach to development. The training took place from the 15th-20th April 2013 at the MS training center for development and cooperation [locally known as Danish center] in Arusha Tanzania. The training content include; understanding human rights based approach and how this can influence work in Africa, human rights frame works, constructions of interventions, translating interventions into objectives and monitoring human rights work.  
team from Uganda
               
Human rights-based approach is an approach for protection and realization of human rights. It uses the established human rights standards as the common framework for assessing and guiding sustainable development initiative. Human rights can be the means, the ends, the mechanism of evaluation, and the central focus of sustainable human development.
Examples of human rights that have been violated include; right to life, right to liberty and security of the person, freedom of movement, the right to privacy, equality before the law, freedom of expression, the right to vote and be elected, the right to work from trade  and unions and to have safe and healthy working conditions, the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, the right to education, the right to an adequate standard of living including adequate food, housing and clothing and the right to take part in the cultural life.
Participants realized that human rights approach are new approach to development because; they are a norm for gender equality, changes the situation of the beneficiary from passive aid recipient to right holders, make the people accountable to themselves and other, there is high level of participation and ownership especially among the marginalized, it focus on how to monitor the outcomes for social and economic rights, it provides a unifying set of standard and a common language thus presenting a potential for greater co-ordination and consistency as well as encouraging a more comprehensive policy response to the structural cause of poverty among the humans.
members brainstorming
Charles presenting the role of alliances
Team at the Africa human right court
It was thus realized that human rights approaches can be used greatly in programming by first analyzing the issues from a holistic human rights perspective [standards and obligations],it can be used for national gender initiatives as the best framework for analysis of gender based problems thus helping in prioritize resources, this approach can too help to bring the CSO’s and other stakeholders in one boat to focus on how alliance with other international institutions can form the struggle for human right defenders.
 In a nut shell, human rights-based approach laid a ground for formation of alliances of right holders, government institutions, right bearers, power actors, mapping for developing strategies of collective voice as well as understanding the different ways of power [power of self esteem, motivation, persuading and humility. It’s a collective responsibility that we can fight child trafficking, sex abuse, women battering, poverty, freedom of expression, ownership of property, freedom of association and the right to choose the best way to leave an individual life. An alliance with all actors can help us change the course of political and social actions in our communities that have hindered human rights.

Monday, April 22, 2013

SCORE CARD RESULTS OF KABAROLE POLITICAL LEADERS SHARED



 At District level meeting organized by ACODE & RAC   on 16th April 2013 at Mucwa Hall in Fort- Portal Dr Baineomugisha Arthur a lead researcher from ACODE presented that they had engaged in a project with Uganda Local Government Association ULGA to assess the performance of the political leaders in Uganda.  For the case of Kabarole it was the first time to be assessed and thus encouraged political leaders mainly District councilors to take heart as the project was not meant for name and shame but enhancing political accountability and more so there were three years to improve their performance before their term expires. 
Dr Arthur presenting at the meeting

















According to the Executive Director RAC, the exercise was done in all fairness as the findings are backed by evidence from the clerk to council.
The District chairperson who opened the meeting noted that the score card will  enhance performance of councilors but equally  noted  some  of the limitations to service delivery like  limited staff where by the District has 75%, limited facilitation for councilors as they are  provided with 70,000/= which is inadequate to monitor the projects in the District, commercialization of politics and late release of funds from the central Government, he mentioned that  the last release from the Central Government was  on 25th February  remaining 30 days yet  it was meant to be  spent in  90 days. Such challenges the District chairperson noted the need for policy change and thus called upon a petition to parliaments. some of the areas  assessed were legislative role, accountability to citizens, planning and budgeting and monitoring of service delivery among others.

Hon. Joshua kagaba expressing himself at the meeting

Friday, April 19, 2013

Training the District Staff in Website maintenance


Masaka CAO's Office
The two day  training of District Staff from Masaka District local Government ended today 19th April 2013. Members in the training are:

Mr. Martine, Ms. Olivia, Ms. Josephine, Ms.  Elizabeth and Mr. Charles
 Ms.  Olivia Nakanwago the Districtinformation Officer, Ms.  Mirembe Josephine the  Population Officer,Mr.  Martime Sserwange the Bio Statistician ,Mr.  Kirumira Daniel the Physical Planner and Ms. Nantamu Elizabeth the FHRI External Coordinator.
The Facilitators are  Mr. Assimwe  Charles and John Silco
 The content training was on how to use Joomla to edit and update the District website, Picture editing skills, e-electronic library updating, social media such as blog, twitter, skype and youtube. The trainee had a hands on installation of software on their computers. 
John Silco chating with Daniel and Martine

DAY ONE
  • ICT or Internet Fundamentals 
  • Introduction to Websites(Dynamic and Static)
  • Introduction to Content Management System (CMS) for example Joomla, Wordpress, drupal etc -Dynamic or database driven websites. 
  • Image Editing using Microsoft picture manager.
  •  Updating a dynamic website like Masaka district website. 
DAY TWO: 
  •  E-Library System   
  • Discussion of District Website Design 
  • District Email creation and management
  • Collection of Content (images and other information) for the district website. 
  •  Social Media like Skype, Blog, youtube and Twitter

Friday, April 12, 2013

HOW RELEVANT IS THE ACCESS TO INFORMATION (ATI) ACT


The Access to Information Act (ATI) is instrumental in empowering the public to effectively scrutinize & participate in government decision making processes that affect them and to protect persons disclosing evidence of contravention of the law.
 
Patrick speaking at the training
Speaking at the one day training in ATI Patrick Tumwine a board member of Africa freedom of Information Centre noted that Access to information is a right that can only be exercised by demanding for information. Patrick also noted that Access to information is not a media law but a law for every citizen to demand for their entitlements and it is guaranteed by the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda.
The one day training organized by Africa freedom of Information Centre was held at Jerusalem hotel on 10/04/13. Africa freedom of Information Centre is a pan African organization that promotes the right to access to information, which is aimed at paving way for an efficient, effective, transparent government.  The Centre also drafts and analyses access to information related documents. 

The purpose of the training was to introduce and or refresh the participants on the importance of the ATI and to create understanding on its different provisions therein.
During the training participants (who included CSO organizations operating in Fort portal and the Kabarole district local government staff) were taken through various topics; they ranged from the the ATI is and its importance, the different provisions in the ACT, how to use it and the relationship between access to information and the advancement of socio-economic rights.
In his sharing Patrick gave an overview of the ATI Act. Among others Patrick mentioned that in seeking for information, the law provides that if the information sought for is not provided within 21 days, it passes for denial of information and in that case stern measures can be taken against the person that failed to provide the information. 

Explaining the relationship between access to information and the advancement of socio-economic rights, the facilitator and Program Officer of Africa freedom of Information Centre Mr. Peter Nsekengi mentioned that the ATI Act creates conditions in which government policies about resource allocation are challenged.
Peter noted that according to a UNDP report effective anti-poverty programs require accurate information on problems hindering development to be in the public domain. Adding that without adequate and authentic information one can’t form an opinion on the allocation of district resources as individuals or as CSOs.
In advocating for socio-economic rights it’s important to understand that the ACT provides means to seek explanation as to why decisions have been taken by whom and with what consequences. Summing up his presentation Peter strongly asserted that without information one cannot advocate for policy change; calling upon all CSOs and individuals to update themselves with the ATI Act if they must realize results in policy advocacy.

Closing the training the Kabarole District Information Officer thanked AFIC for the training.
Lillian giving her Closing remarks.
She noted many times CSOs have not utilized her office for information wondering what information they use to guide their implementation in the district. Among others decried the poor reading culture of the citizens that she said is the biggest hinderance to access to information. Lillian however noted that there is need for massive popularization of the ATI Act through the mass media. 
She appealed to the CSOs and all other development partners to incorporate this into their work plans.