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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

RIC-NET SUPPORTS BABIES OF CONFLICT AFFECTED GIRLS IN RWAMWANJA –KAMWENGE

Under the project “Advancing the Dignity of Vulnerable Children and Youth” as funded by Global Fund for Children, RIC-NET supports conflict affected girls in the Rwenzori region by  taking them for vocational skills training like tailoring ,hair dressing ,baking and others incase the girls have dropped out of school. RICNET also carries out mentoring and  psycho social support sessions in schools to help conflict affected girls in school to deal with the trauma they could have got as a result of conflict ,equips them with knowledge on reproductive health that helps them to avoid early pregnancies ,STDs and stay in school, provides sanitary material for the girls to see them stay in school and finish their studies so that they can become successful people in future .
The young mothers seated with their children at the training center
As one of the activities of the project RIC-NET supported the babies of the conflict affected girls in Rwamwanja –Kamwenge District who are training in vocational skills of hair dressing and tailoring . On 25th march 2016 five young mothers were given support in terms of money that could help them get a baby sitter for the babies as the mothers attend their training. This gives the mothers ample time to concentrate on the training and get better skills. 
some of the young mothers with their children pose with RIC-NET staff Evelyn








When asked how she felt after receiving the support of her children ,22 year old mother of two Murekatete said she was now able to provide  porridge for her children for some time since the food she is given at the camp is not enough and she is not able to dig because she is disabled and she moves in a wheel chair.



 

Friday, March 18, 2016

U-REPORT AND PLANT CLINIC PROMOTED AT THE RWENZORI REGION TRADE FAIR




The Rwenzori region trade fair took place in Fort Portal from 4th-13th March 2016 at Boma ground under the theme “Promoting Trade and Industry to Foster Uganda’s Sustainable Growth and Development”.  

people always flocked our stall for our services.
This fair brought together producers, processors, traders and service providers from all parts of Uganda and  East Africa.
 This was an opportunity to RIC-NET to sensitize the community and share information on u-report and conduct plant clinic services.    
Over 20 companies and 30 Civil Society Organizations and institutions of higher learning participated in the trade fair.
RICNET stall at boma ground
RIC-NET exhibited and recruited the use of u-report platform to enable citizens raise their voice on issues among their communities to the leaders and  provided plant clinic services to the farmers to control and reduce crop pests and diseases. 74 persons joined U-report and 98 farmers accessed plant clinic services.
Plant doctor Mr.Asaba Wilberforce exhibiting his services and Agro-inputs
The plant clinic  services included: Diagnosis of affected plants, gave advice and recommendations of agricultural inputs such as seeds, fertilizers and pesticides.
Samples of the Agro-inputs
Agro inputs samples were practically shown to the farmers.
RICNET sees an opportunity in everything to sensitize the community on raising their voices.


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

RICNET AND THE U-REPORT PLATFORM INCITES CITIZENS IN RWENZORI REGION



RIC-NET with support from UNICEF is promoting the campaign " Let Your Voice Be Heard". This campaign uses the U-report platform on which community members share their concerns  on service delivery  with the local government leaders,  and access development information.
 A massive recruitment exercise is on-going in the Rwenzori region to give an opportunity to all the people with mobile phones to  have their say and participate in the decision making process. Over 12,000 people have newly joined u-report since December 2015.
primary Teachers from karambi, Kamasa, kayatsi and kyabikere  recruited as U-reporters 
When people have a voice, their viewpoints, thoughts, and feelings receive a "fair hearing" and are readily recognized by others. 
Recruiting u-reporters at public markets
Voice" refers to the ability to engage in meaningful conversation, to make a difference through what one says, and to have a say in key decisions.  U-report provides a Platform to amplify voices of dis-advantaged persons including women, minority groups, indigenous peoples, and the poor whose voices are most often silenced .
The youth group leaders ready to speak out  through u-report
 When power is given to a small group of elites, many individuals' capacity to influence is often undermined. U-report enables the citizens to engage effectively in dialogue, attain a genuine voice and input into  the decision-making process.
RIC-NET staff preparing to sensitize the citizens about u-report

Through U-report people have the power to change community, increase transparency, hold their leaders accountable, participate in conflict resolution and improve service delivery. Together we can make our community better.

Monday, March 14, 2016

PRIMARY TEACHERS TRAINED ON THE PREVENTION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST CHILDREN


CDO kitholhu sub-county discussing legal issues
In a bid to fully equip teachers with knowledge on prevention of violence against children in schools and the community, RIC-NET has conducted  2 trainings  for 40 primary school teachers drawn from  Karambi Kamasasa, Kyabikere and Kanyatsi primary schools from Karambi and Kitholhu sub counties .
one of the facilitators, the Community Development Officer (CDO) Kitholhu sub-county Mr. Mukokoma Bwambale Paul satisfactorily discussed the legal issues in line with violence against children.
The various laws that condemn violence against children were discussed and practical implication outlined.
Teachers attending the training
He related these laws to  prevailing situations in schools and community and later gave ways on how to participate and  prevent /eradicate the already existing cases of violence against children.

Among other high-lighted cases were sexual harassment that includes; bad touches, rape, defilement exposure to pornography and commercial sex, child sacrifice, trafficking and kidnapping, child labour, bullying and abusive words . Denying the pupils to indulge in the school decision making among others were cited out in community and school setting respectively.
 
Preventive measures were suggested such as: avoiding corporal punishments in schools, sensitization on the law and policies governing children’s upbringing, avoidance of vulgar language,  sensitization of children on their rights, guidance and counseling,andteacher-pupil friendly environment at school. 
The trained teachers promised to work hand in hand with RWECO to create a  violence  free environment for children in Kasese district.

CAN TECHNOLOGY BE A CATALYST FOR GOOD GOVERNANCE AND COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION ?

Consultant : Social Development , Program Management, Social Monitoring Evaluation,Social Audit & Review (Freelancer)




Can Technology be a catalyst for good governance ? Yes but this is only possible through community driven development process i.e., e Society Resource Center. Meaning of life existence can be perceived only through Volunteering. As a VSO Volunteer and Information System Adviser, I could recap a professional volunteering experience in Uganda, East Africa, how technology transformed the life status of the communities in Africa.
My advisory started in 2010 at the e Society Resource Center at Kasese, western region of Uganda (http://kasese.go.ug/) managed by Rwenzori Information Centers Network, Fort Portal (http://ricnet.co.ug/).The center was like any other Internet café. I was inducted there to revive and transform the center from Internet café to a Resource Center which would act as a hub, networking the government, civil society organizations and people through technological  (IT /  ICT) intervention for mutual understanding in participation and governance process of the Local Government administration.
Hands on support to user of the centre
e-Society Resource Center trains academician,scholars and government staff.
From day one till end of my volunteering service, a strong strategic planning and active execution system has been designed and implemented. After a year (2011) , the day of my departure to bid adieu to Uganda, I found my dream had come true………. this mere internet café shaped into a full- fledged hub and resource center for the whole district of Kasese.
I am happy, overall advisory and expertise in the field of ICT enabled Knowledge Management System, sincere efforts of the RICNET staff  and the Local Government Kasese District support and commitment ignited all to achieve this result and also confirmed that sharing skills and knowledge could bring real change in the life style and mind set of the government and the people to have participatory approach in governance and advocacy.
District local Government staff training at the centre
John Silco  ED RIC-NET training District Staff
Bridging the digital divide: The e Society Resource Center is the first model in Uganda for the year 2011 and Kasese stands as the first district which introduced this tripartite combination of Government with public, private partnership with the  civil society to show the world that a healthy and transparent administrative system could be possible with the advent of IT & ICT intervention which would bring out healthy participation of people in governance. The center invites attention of the CSOs to go hand in hand with the Government to find solution for their social issues.
Team who "made e-Society Resource Center  as an active resource Hub "
The center answers the issues of inadequate access to timely and relevant information, a key aspect that limits citizen's effective participation in the government’s planning and monitoring administrative system and its processes at the district level. It is aimed at bringing the society of Kasese into purview of electronic usage for poverty alleviation to improve their social, economical, health, agricultural and educational status.
The center initiated the services like training the civil society organizations, local government staff focusing in the thematic areas of water, education, health, agriculture, human rights, good governance and advocacy by using information sharing platforms such as “d-groups, blogs, wikis and other web 2.0 tools; More number of students from the schools and the universities were given training on use of IT/ICT facilities for their employment opportunities and academic pursue.
Commissioning of e-Society resource center in April 2011

Commissioning of e-Society resource center in April 2011 and the Local Government of Kasese District signed the document for adopting the center under their Governance.
The center also introduced online and off line “Suggestion Box” (Voice of the People) to catch attention of the government on community grievance.
The center established web portals for the local government and the CSOs for proper sharing of information between them for good governance and participation.
The E-Library Portal for the Local Government to make an on line documentation of their official records, data, announcements, annual and periodical reports and budgetary provision. The Local Government maintained their documentation archive electronically with the help of the e-society resource center.
School children use the e-Society resource center's library
School children use the e-Society resource center's library
The CSO Portal for the Civil Society Organization to make an on line documentation of the CSOs profile and activities which will enable them to share their people grievances and also could help them to generate their funds and a mobile SMS technology platform enabling the citizens to express their opinion / feedback on pertinent governance issues to the District leadership.
Today in 2016, I am happy to say that the seed of e-Society Resource Center model at Kasese being replicated by RICNET and grown as a big tree with multiple branches reflecting self sustained models in other five and more districts in Uganda. Bravo! Good Job RICNET!
Till now I have been in touch with the progress and promotion of the center through online as their life time adviser and guide.
Kasese - D-groups -platform for information sharing through on line discussion is still in force and progress: https://dgroups.org/iicd/kasese.
I am proud of my volunteering with Ugandans who are kind hearted, friendly and dedicated and know the preciousness of human relationship. Only through volunteering such a nerve twisting experience one could perceive. Happy volunteering!
 K.G.Rajamohan

Friday, March 4, 2016

SANITARY PADS ENABLES CONFLICT AFFECTED GIRLS ATTEND SCHOOL REGULARY

RICNET under the project "Advancing the dignity of vulnerable children and youth" aims at supporting both in school conflict affected girls with scholastic material, sanitary towels, reproductive health and psycho social support and mentoring and out school conflict affected girls with vocational training, reproductive health and entrepreneurship skills, providing sanitary and training material .
some of the girls before receiving the material


As one of the activities of the project 20 girls were provided with sanitary and scholastic material at Semliki high school in Bundibugyo on 3rd March 2016. The aim of giving out these material is to enable girls attend classes even when they are in their periods and have no reasons of missing classes as result of lack of scholastic material.
Girls after receiving some of their material
The material were handed over to the mentor teacher Miss Muhimbo Margret who distributed them to the girls .Jane one of the girls  when asked how she felt she said she was very happy and that this would improve on her performance as she will attend classes all the time as its always had for her to get such material.