Citizens empowered to demand better service delivery
ACORD in Uganda is implementing a project entitled “Citizen Manifesto in Action with a goal of strengthening Neighborhood Assemblies to enhance citizens’ voices and accountability especially of women and youth for improved service delivery. Communities have been mobilized into village social accountability groups known as Neighborhood Assemblies (NA). Neighbourhood assemblies have been used to spearhead advocacy campaigns on improved service delivery and have resulted in significant changes like construction/repair of community structures like: boreholes, pit latrines in the markets, and have provided a platform where citizens engage with their leaders on service delivery and accountability among others.
A Case of Kacel Watwero Neighborhood Assembly;
"Citizen Manifesto in Action..."
One such group is Kacel Watwero Neighborhood assembly in Kitgum Matidi Sub county. This neighborhood assembly was formed in 2011 by ACORD and comprises 20 members, (12 male and 8 female) of whom 9 are executive members. They have been engaged in advocating and lobbying for improved service delivery, human rights protection and promotion, undertaking sensitizations on fair taxation in local markets. Some of its members are policy monitors and Trainer of Trainers trained by ACORD.
As a result of their local mobilization, four (4) door pit latrine with one shelter was constructed, completed and the latrine is now in good use. This was secured after numerous engagements in meetings and discussions with the community leaders and market vendors after worrying findings of poor sanitation and hygiene in Kitgum Matidi market. The group’s speaker informed the sub county leaders of alarming poor sanitation and hygiene in the market. He further asked the sub county leaders to consider constructing a pit latrine as a means of improving sanitation and hygiene and the leaders responded positively and promised to consider the proposal in their budget. 12 Million Uganda shillings was allocated to the sub county budget in the subsequent financial year for the construction of the Pit Latrine.
A contractor was thereafter sourced who brought the materials, but failed to deliver a complete service. The Neighbourhood Assembly group again lobbied with the sub county leaders to contract a different company; of which a local service provider known as ABER MICEL construction Ltd. was awarded the contract to finalize the work.
The group also managed to mobilize the market vendors to contribute some money which was used to clear the bushy market surrounding. The group has been able to lobby, mobilize and secure the services for their community due to good team spirit, knowledge and understanding of their rights and responsibilities.
The capacity of the Neighbourhood Aseembly has been built as civic educators and some of them have been enrolled as constituency election observers under the Citizen Election Observation Network with a mission of conducting a unified, comprehensive and effective election observation in Uganda come 2016 as the country will go to the polls.
This is testimony to ACORD’s belief that people are best placed to explore the root causes of injustice, identify strategies for solutions, and act upon them to bring about positive changes in their lives.
Read more about ACORD's work in Uganda.