detail - Uganda Office
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The introduction of the decentralisation system in Uganda more than two decades ago was anticipated to catalyse good governance. With key governance and administrative units brought closer to the people it is expected that decentralisation would increase democratic participation and accountability.
Significant shortfalls however still exist with regard to realising genuine democratic practice in Uganda’s districts – which are the fulcrum of the decentralised governance system. Several expert and civil society assessments and media reports continue to reveal that while decentralisation has in general registered progress local governments across the board suffer challenges of poor governance including corruption and a general inconsistence to democratic principals. As a result, service delivery is poor and pro-people development programmes are limited. The citizens on the other hand have not fully understood their roles in democratic governance and by thus they can not hold their leaders to accountable.
The foregoing creates necessity for interventions where elected leaders and citizens alike can be awakened to their responsibility in promoting and sustaining democratic practice at the local. An ideal platform for doing so is through civic education. However, civic education by state structures is generally acknowledged to be weak. This makes the function of CSOs to be of crucial importance. But civil society too needs to be supported to link and network with other stakeholders if their interventions are to be effective. In addition, capacity building remains necessary as several CSO actors are still not yet equipped with sufficient skills to carry out civic education effectively and efficiently. The KAS intervention is organised on this premise. The dialogue shall create a networking and discussion platform between civil society and other governance actors in the districts – elected local government leaders, political party leaders, security agencies, electoral officials, religious institutions and media. The training on the other had will offer the much needed capacity building for CSO actors working on democracy promotion.
The dialogue will be carried out in a participatory manner. The reason for the proposed methodology is to create a sense of free interaction and debate, and at the same time have objective reasoning that represents a shared vision. Two presentations will be made focussing on the trends, challenges and prospects of democratic governance in Uganda. One presentation will address the national perspective while the other will particularly focus on the Mbale district context.
The dialogue shall target 50 participants who will include representatives of the following institutions: political parties, religious institutions, civil society, district political leadership, media, electoral commission and the police. The training workshop will target 25 participants who will be civil society actors involved in the promotion of democracy.