detail - Foundation Office Uganda and South Sudan
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KAS and GAIN-Uganda are going to implement a project with the goal to strengthen political accountability on the local level in the Karamoja sub-region, more specifically in Moroto District. Within Uganda, Karamoja is one of the least developed and most marginalised regions. Over decades it has experienced violence, initially due to rebellion, then due to cattle rustling and it has been ignored by the post-independence governments. Following the take-over of power by the National Resistance Army (NRA), military was deployed in the region in order to deal with rebellion and effect disarmament. However, this only increased the insecurity in Karamoja due to growing tensions between soldiers and the local populations. Only recently has the NRM government taken interest in the socio-economic development of the region and far-reaching disarmament programmes in order to regain the control of the state in Karamoja have been implemented. With a reduction in small arms available in the region – in 1994 there were roughly 150.000 firearms in Karamoja, according to conservative estimates – the number of violent crime and incidents of cattle rustling has decreased, but still remains high. The monopoly of violence has not been fully established and small arms are accessible through the mostly uncontrolled borders with South Sudan and Kenya even though state security agencies have become more visible and better trained and equipped in recent years.
Concerning poverty and development, there have been programmes on food security and agriculture development, the success of which has not been big enough to reduce food insecurity to the average level in the rest of Uganda, partly due to the harsh climate and lower soil fertility in the region. According to the World Food Programme, the overall situation in Karamoja concerning food security is stressed, with 18 percent of the population living in food security crisis. As the biggest asset of the Karimojong is cattle, access to veterinary services and pasture areas is key to the well-being of the population. However, service delivery in this regard is still very weak with no plans for animal disease control in place and limited access to water.
The local population does not hold elected leaders within the formal system of governance accountable for failures in service delivery. Often, such instances, for example the lack of veterinary services, are dealt with within the informal system and understood by using religious and cultural explanations. Therefore, the connection between the duty of elected leaders to deliver services and the improvement of livelihood as well as the protection of livelihood assets, most importantly cattle and land, has not been made sufficiently. It is against this background that GAIN-Uganda and KAS are implementing a project which has the purpose of strengthening accountability at the local level in the Karamoja sub-region.
The project by GAIN-Uganda and KAS is focusing on social accountability and service delivery, which can be characterised as the demand and supply side of governance with elected leaders being responsible for service delivery and transparency – the supply side – and the local population demanding for accountability and monitoring service delivery – the demand side. In this regard, a project with the overall goal of enhancing good governance in Karamoja will have to address two areas: (1) the capacity of the local population to demand for accountability, to engage in monitoring of development projects, and to communicate to the elected leadership, as well as (2) the capacity of elected leaders to deliver services, act in a transparent and accountable way, monitor their own delivery, and engage with local citizens.
The second workshop will see the discussion of the results of two tools: The elected and appointed leaders were equipped with a self-assessment tool, the citizens with a service delivery monitoring tool. After discussing the outcomes, an exchange forum will help the two groups to give feedback, ask questions, and through that enhance accountability and transparency.