Citizens Need to Demand Improved Service Delivery

February 20, 2024

Dear Editor,

Last week, the Inspector General of Government, Hon. Beti Olive Namisango Kamya made an impromptu visit to the Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT) offices in Kampala as part of her investigations into allegations of mismanagement and maladministration at the agency.

The ombudsman arrived at the DIT premises at 8 a.m. expecting to find all staff seated and busy attending to their roles. She was taken aback when more than half of the staff were yet to arrive.

Whereas the IGG found that particular office without staff, this is representative of the service delivery crisis in Uganda. Public entities in Uganda are dogged by demotivated workers,  inadequate, poor-quality, and inaccessible public services, grossly deficient monitoring mechanisms and less-participatory monitoring processes in critical sectors such as health, education, water and sanitation.

The service delivery crisis in Uganda has significant implications for the country’s development agenda, as it hinders progress towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. The lack of access to basic services also hinders economic development, as it limits productivity and human capital development. According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS, 2012), 85 per cent of Ugandans live in rural areas and depend solely on government to provide basic services. The situation is particularly dire for women and girls who have been found to heavily rely on public service delivery due to their weaker economic standing and gender roles. Absenteeism, late coming and strikes by health professionals are synonymous with government health care facilities. Many a time citizens go to these health centers and health workers are unavailable. The absence of health staff contributes to increased cases of maternal and infant mortality due to the time sensitive nature of child birth and delicate nature of infants.

The Annual Maternal and Perinatal Deaths Surveillance Report 2022/2023 which the Ministry of Health released earlier this week portrays a worrying picture. The number of women who die while giving birth has increased after stagnating for two years from 1,226 in 2021/2022 to 1,276 in 2022/2023. Several factors contribute to the spike in numbers, however, the Health Ministry’s Permanent Secretary has since faulted health workers who abscond from duty.

Article 38 (1) of the Ugandan Constitution gives every Ugandan citizen the right to participate in the affairs of government; service delivery being a key element of citizen participation. One of the ways citizens can participate and advocate for quality service delivery is by using their voice to demand and hold civil servants and government accountable. We at the Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE) believe that in order to build a cadre of citizens with amplified voice and agency, demanding change and holding leaders accountable, conscientization and awareness raising remain a critical antidote. Accordingly, we continue to convene spaces for citizens to raise awareness of the significance of collective activism, hold dialogues to interrogate governance; and have engagements on vital national issues. The awareness raising work that we have done this year has reached 22,529 citizens from 14 districts.

Our experience over the last 28 years has shown that providing a platform for community members to demonstrate their leadership and hold leaders accountable results into equitable service delivery. FOWODE uses the Village Budget Club model, a community led advocacy approach to foster accountability and transparency to promote economic democracy through enhancing voice, participation and awareness of rights and obligations. Through this model, we have demonstrated that once communities are empowered with knowledge and skills to participate effectively in economic and political processes, they can demand for equitable service delivery.

As we applaud the move by the IGG, addressing the service delivery crisis in Uganda requires urgent action from government to improve access and quality of public services, particularly in critical sectors such as healthcare, education, and water and sanitation. The government must prioritize investments in these sectors and promote gender-responsive policies that address the disproportionate impact of the service delivery crisis on women and girls. Once we stand up together as citizens, communities and civil society to hold those responsible accountable and demand for quality service delivery in all sectors, we shall undoubtedly have improved services, increased social accountability and responsive policy change which will in turn promote democratic governance.

Esther Nassali Masanso (The author) is a Senior Communications Officer at the Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE)

The Blog

International Women’s Day: Truthful Reflection – It Will Take More Than Just a Day!

International Women’s Day: Truthful Reflection – It Will Take More Than Just a Day! By Georgia Tumwesigye For the 112th year this March, the world has come together to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD). It’s a day dedicated to honoring the achievements of women and advocating for global gender parity. Never mind that the UN says that it will take ...
March 27, 2024
Read More

Citizens Need to Demand Improved Service Delivery

Dear Editor, Last week, the Inspector General of Government, Hon. Beti Olive Namisango Kamya made an impromptu visit to the Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT) offices in Kampala as part of her investigations into allegations of mismanagement and maladministration at the agency. The ombudsman arrived at the DIT premises at 8 a.m. expecting to find all staff seated and busy ...
February 20, 2024
Read More

Uganda’s Presidency and Hosting of NAM Summit: A landmark gathering for the gender agenda.

Uganda’s Presidency and Hosting of NAM Summit: A landmark gathering for the gender agenda.  By Esther Nassali Masanso Recently, Uganda hosted the 19th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Heads of State and Government, a forum of 120 member states, from 15th – 20th January 2024 at Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort. The summit, themed, “Deepening Cooperation for Shared Global Affluence” highlighted ...
Read More

Communique on Advancing Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: Outcomes of the NAM Women’s Side Event

FOWODE in collaboration with the Government of Uganda under the leadership of the Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development (MoGLSD), UNAIDS, UNWOMEN, and Uganda Women’s Network (UWONET) convened a side event during the recently held Non-Alligned Movement (NAM) summit in Kampala. The event was aimed at reflecting on the progress made by Member states towards the advancement of gender ...
February 14, 2024
Read More

UGANDA AT 61, TAKING CHARGE OF OUR FUTURE THROUGH GENDER EQUALITY.

By Patricia Munabi The history of Uganda has been one of turmoil, mass struggle and re-construction at many levels. Alongside a national struggle for control over a post-colonial state, women were fighting a battle to be recognized as equal and valuable participants in this space. In a rapidly changing post-Independence era, women wanted an organization that would steer collective voice ...
November 13, 2023
Read More

MORE EFFORTS NEEDED BY GOVERNMENT TO ADDRESS THE GENDER WAGE GAP IN UGANDA.

By Georgia Tumwesigye. Every September 18, Uganda joins the rest of the world to commemorate the International Day of Equal Pay. The objective of this day is to end the history of gender discrimination, a practice where women and/or persons with disabilities are paid less than their male counterparts for a similar job. According to the UN, this day indeed ...
Read More

RECLAIMING SPACE, WHY THE IMARA WOMEN’S CENTRE SHOULD INTEREST YOU

In recent years, the global community has witnessed a significant shift in recognizing the invaluable contributions of women to society. Empowering women and ensuring their rights and opportunities are upheld has become a global priority. Against this background, the Women Deliver 2023 Conference serves as a platform to convene leaders, advocates, and change-makers from around the world, sharing ideas and ...
August 22, 2023
Read More

TIMELY CALL TO CHAMPION SPACES, SOLIDARITY AND SOLUTIONS IN THE WOMEN DELIVER 2023 CONFERENCE

As one of the largest multi-sectoral convening to advance gender equality, convening 6,000 advocates onsite, and over 200,000 advocates online from diverse fields, the Women Deliver 2023 Conference has been co-created by grassroots advocates, youth, civil society, governments, multilateral organizations, and the private sector, including from and representing communities facing systemic discrimination around the world. Rwanda continues to make great ...
July 21, 2023
Read More

CREATING SAFE SPACES TOWARDS A GENDER EQUAL WORLD AND AN END TO VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN_

Actors in gender equality generally do a great job. Imagine if there was more collaboration, prioritizing communities in these partnerships, and an evidence-based approach. Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE) recognizes that fostering sisterhood and solidarity necessitates the inclusion of women and girls and commits to harnessing their collective potential. This is one of the highest forms of women’s empowerment ...
Read More

CATALYZING MODERN TECHNOLOGY TO EMPOWER THE FEMINIST MOVEMENT AND ADVANCE GENDER EQUALITY

As we prepare to dissect intersection approaches to women’s rights at the Women Deliver 2023 conference in Rwanda, Chasing the Wada Dream Documentary has been selected to film during the conference. Africa is always last in the queue for not only technological advancement but also development, investment and promotion of fundamental human rights, among others. A key priority for Women ...
Read More

Notice: ob_end_flush(): Failed to send buffer of zlib output compression (0) in /plutonium/fowodeor/public_html/wp-includes/functions.php on line 5427