Governance and Policy advocacy’s intervention is intended to raise citizens’ consciousness on the basic citizen rights and obligations. It is also intended to facilitate processes where political leaders, CSO leaders and community management/governance structures such MFAs, MA, cooperatives, SMCs, CBOs, PTAs and HUMCs, reflect and take responsibility for their actions and are answerable to the citizens they serve and include them in every step of the development process. The intervention will facilitate platforms where small holder farmers, parents, teachers, health consumers and the general community to actively be involved in governance and their effective participation is considered as a vital element to the realization of a desired goal or objectives. The basic principle of this intervention is that citizens have rights to demand and public officials have the obligation to account.
Some past projects of the Governance and Policy Advocacy Unit include:
The Rwenzori Regional Think Tank
The Rwenzori regional think tank is an initiative of regional leaders retreat held at Kasunga in 2008. It evolved through the need to for a body that could think through and provide alternative solutions to development challenges in the region. The think tank brings together individuals/institutions of unique competences to distill development ideas and generate knowledge that become important reference for the region’s development agenda. The think tank aims to give factual information relevant for prioritizing and planning development programs and creating a buzz around important issues in the region-causing different actors to respond in ways that benefit the community. Through its operational structures, the think tank commissions relevant researches and ensures the research outcomes are widely utilized by prior engaging in a bottom up process of determining the research projects.
The Regional Development Framework
The Rwenzori Regional Framework is a deliberate effort by CSOs to provide an overarching guide to development efforts in the Rwenzori. It is informed by CSO experiences of the development efforts over the last two decades in the Rwenzori Region. Whereas a number of programmes by Government, NGOs and private sector actors have been implemented; many have not been as successful as envisaged.
Poverty levels remain unacceptably high characterised by increasing income inequality, rampant food insecurity, youth unemployment and a high dependence mentality. Majority of the people are increasingly looking to the “outsiders” for programmes, handouts and solutions to address their development challenges. Such a trend is disempowering and unsustainable; it perpetuates a viscous cycle of poverty and dependency.
The regional framework is a culmination of a series of consultations and discussions among a cross section of actors using the open space methodology. Through consultations, it emerged that the current programmes do not specifically target impact at household level; they do not promote grassroots linkages, they lack a regional perspective but above all, they are not guided by evidence of real needs of households. Many development programmes do not take sufficient effort to understand the real needs of the people. The regional framework therefore, seeks to provide an overarching framework that emphasises impact at household level, promotion of grassroots linkages, taking a regional perspective and putting action research and reflective learning at the centre of all programmes. It aims at promoting value-driven households that are enlightened with a stable economic activity and can meet their basic needs particularly food, shelter, clothes and safe water.
Face the Citizen Campaign
The Face the Citizens initiative is a social and political accountability initiative originated by Kabarole Research and Resource Centre (KRC), Kabarole NGOs and CBOs Association (KANCA) and The Association of the Rwenzori Human Rights Organizations (AHURIO) to facilitate platforms where leaders interface with citizens to give feedback and account for the time and other resources in their political offices. The initiative builds on experience and belief that political leaders go to the communities only when they are canvassing for votes and when elected they ‘get lost in the political world’ and only go back to communities after 5 years to look for votes for another term of office. It is an attempt to respond to leadership and governance challenges arising from the failure of leaders to give accountability to their electorate.