RDP Uganda in collaboration with Masindi District Local Government and Municipality and in Partnership with ActionAid International Uganda, Uganda Debt Network, and Radio Kitara launched a series of activities in commemoration of the International Public Service Delivery Day in Masindi District.
The launch was held on Saturday last week under the theme “Action Today, Impact Tomorrow: Innovating and Transforming Public Services and Institutions to Realize the Sustainable Development Goals”.
This day was gazetted by UN and it’s always celebrated on 23 of June of every year. The 2020 National CSOs Public Service Day will take place in Kampala on 3rd July 2020. The national celebrations are speared headed by ActionAid International Uganda. Other NGOs like Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWEDE) and MICOD are also going to participate in the series of activities.
During the Launch, the status of service delivery under Sustaineable development Goals (SDGs) goal 3 (Health) and SDG goal 4 (Education) was presented by the Representative of the District Chairperson Hon. Salama Kugonza, the District Finance and education secretary.
CSOs in Masindi that Included; RDP-Uganda, FOWEDE, Inspire Africa MICOD and others conducted monitoring and findings were presented to the district leadership. Kugonza noted that there could be high school dropout rates after COVID-19 due to teenage pregnancies and called upon parents to be responsible and take care for their children not wait for the government. “the district is committed to improving service delivery, especially for the issue of understaffing both in health and Education as raised by RDP Uganda among the proposed interventions, 33 teachers and 8 health workers were recruited to reduce the sealing gaps”, said Hon. Salama.
Hon. Ignatious Tumusiime, a youth councillor said if the country is to realize SDGs and improve service delivery is to tap into the youth human resource. Noting how the distance learning was not effective at all, unfavorable to the rural learners he also noted that there is a lot of teenage pregnancies in communities due to redundancy of children. Masindi Municipality passed a budget 949UGX million and 81.5UGX million for education and health departments (Minus salaries and allowances).
Aled Akuguzibwe, a teacher and an aspiring community member for MP mentioned that one of the biggest of challenges in education sector in inadequate funding and limited effective supervision and monitoring.
Simon Muhangi a social accountability officer with RDP Uganda noted that Uganda’s health sector remains significantly under-funded. At 9.6% of total government expenditure health if far below the 15% Abuja target that the Government of Uganda committed to. Other challenges Simon highlighted included; low staffing levels coupled with absenteeism of health workers, drug stock due to poor planning and budget constraints, high levels of teenage pregnancy rates.
One of the key deliverables of the service delivery campaign is to rally citizens and provide unconditional space for citizens and likeminded individuals and institutions to reflect and adopt recommendations and action plans to promote quality and gender responsive public services in Masindi and Uganda.
Robert Asiimwe, a governance, women’s rights and Sustainable livelihoods officer working with the RDP Uganda who is the steering lead for the campaign give a list of activities of the campaign which will also feed into the national campaign; Spot visit to an identified health Centre which will be cleaned and tree planting as part of RDP’s social corporate responsibility, a series of radio talks which will provide a platform to citizens to raise their voices and to leaders as a medium to provide responses to raised citizen questions, documentation of the state off service delivery in masindi district, and popularizing of the service delivery awards for the best public servants to be awarded.
Robert also gave recommendations about the decentralization of the budgets operation and implementation noting that much of service delivery is district level, noting that much funds should go to the critical sectors like health, education and agriculture, to tackle corruption and enhance transparency and accountability, and lastly to restructure budgets both at national level and local level so as to be COVID-19 responsive.