This is one of the programs at RIDE AFRICA which empowers grass root structures to hold duty bearers accountable through budget reviews, social audits/public expenditure tracking, dialogue meetings, ensuring transparency among local leaders in spending government resources. The program enhances civic competence of citizens (mobilization, sensitisation, civic action and leaders responding to issues raised). We have reached a total of 60,000 people from 2009 to 2015 and these include; monitors, parish based association, local leaders and community members across the region. This program has been supported by National Endowment for Democracy, Hivos and European Union.
The program works with community based monitors, drama groups, parish based associations and the local leaders which are in the target sub counties and they spearhead the process of collecting information, analysing it, preparing reports which are shared with leaders and mobilize communities to demand action from their leaders through dialogue meetings, petitioning and radio talk shows among others. We have trained the grass root structures in advocacy, documentation, roles and responsibilities of local leaders. These gained skills and were able to hold dialogue meetings with leaders, open space campaigns and accountability which has improved service delivery in the target districts.
Under the same program we have engaged with national level policy makers to bring about electoral reforms ahead of 2016 general elections in Uganda. RIDE AFRICA mobilised, engaged and networked with other CSOs in the region and at national level to exert pressure on Parliament and the President to consider the proposed electoral reforms. As a result of the pressure by different CSOs in the region and the country, Parliament to sent a Committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs in all regions of the country to consult citizens on their views pertaining to the constitutional amendment bill 2015. RIDE AFRICA mobilized citizens and other CSOs in the region and prepared views on the constitutional amendment bill which were handed over to the chair person of the committee during the consultative meeting that took place at Kabarole District head quarters.
- Formed and trained nine Parish Based Associations (PBAs) with 495 members in Kyenjojo and Kyegegwa Districts who were equipped with skills and other valuable items like cameras and stationery for documentation while advocating for accountability better social services.
- Trained 14 drama groups with 280 members, who work closely with the monitors, PBAs and local leaders in the districts of operation to mobilize and sensitize communities in various issues of concern as well as monitoring social service delivery and engaging leaders in democratic governance.
- Trained 371 poll watchers and 18 election observers in the districts of operation who participated in the national and local general elections
There is continuous engagement of the leaders by the citizens in the different sub –counties of operation.
- Prompt responses have been received after community members petitioned their leaders; a case was in Kyenjojo District where the communities of Kihuura sub county through their leadership petitioned the District Chair Person over poor health facilities in health centres due lack of supervision and he was able to give immediate response. He proposed to the District Council and it was passed that health units at Sub County and parish levels should be monitored by sub county chiefs to ensure quality control since they are the supervisors and vote controllers for those health units. Another case was in Kyegegwa District in 2013 in Mpara Sub County where the sub county farmers’ forum petitioned the District NAADS Coordinator for an explanation of releasing a reduced budget on farmers’ technology development contrary to the original budget. The District NAADS Coordinator responded by instructing the sub county NAADS Coordinator to call a meeting of farmers at sub county level where it was explained to farmers the original budget was 86,286,564 Ugx and what was released was 79,520,000=Ugx bringing a deficit of 6,766,564 Ugx and this had a direct bearing on the number of farmers to benefit from NAADS that quarter.
- Another case was that of Kadina shallow well located in Mukwisi village, Matiri parish Kihuura Sub County which was constructed to almost completion stage in 04 days (4th-7th March 2012). This was discovered during the public expenditure audit that was organized by Kihuura sub county leaders together with RIDE AFRICA on 14th March 2012. At the site the monitoring team interacted with members of the community, parish councilor and the mansion and found out that the shallow well was constructed by Aggrey Development Consult Uganda Limited and the project cost was 3.5m Ugx although this was not known to the surrounding communities that the monitoring team interacted with. According to the mansion the monitoring team found at the site, work on the project started on 4th March 2012 and by 7th March 2012, it had reached at a level shown below;
The chair person LC III takes a closer look at the water source during the public exp audit
Communities doubted whether this was a good practice or not but the District Engineer was not around to comment. The mansion said the grass root communities were cooperative, they had contributed local materials and labour towards the construction of the shallow well. There was good working relationship between the community and the contractor and the community was happy about the water source although they had not yet started fetching water from it.
Community monitors compiled the findings and shared with the sub county chief who wrote to the CAO, in response the CAO instructed the District Engineer to verify the information. The District Engineer conformed that it this was poor workmanship. The Contractor was instructed to demolish the water facility and construct a new one; this was done and the neighbouring communities are accessing clean water for drinking and other domestic use.