Kibaale District is one of the districts of Uganda in the Mid-Western part of the country. The district is bordered by Lake Albert in the West, Hoima District in the North, Kiboga in the East, Mubende to the South and Kyenjojo, Kabarole and Bundibugyo Districts in the South – West. The District covers a total area of 4,400 Sq. Kms, while 319 Kms are covered by water bodies. The district location puts it in a region that is not served with key development infrastructure such as good roads, health facilities with poor stocks to mention but a few.
According to Kibaale District Local Government (2009)1, the District population was projected 581,400 comprising of 279,800 (49% male and 291,300 (51% females); with an the population growth rate as high as 5.7 per annum mainly due to the high fertility rate of 7.8 children per woman and an influx of settlers from other districts and Congo.
Economically Kibaale is one of the poverty stricken districts with such causes as crop pests, diseases and vermin, high morbidity and mortality rates (child mortality 205/1000, infant mortality 122/1000 live births, maternal mortality 550/100,000), stuntednes (38%) and low doctor patient ratios. The majority of the poor people are generally natural resources dependants, particularly along the villages neighboring rivers and forests, while women and children are the most vulnerable across the whole district. Agricultural development is low with poor and low yields, limited markets due to seasonal markets or production on a small scale.
In the education sector, there are high dropout rates due to different causes such as early pregnancies, low household incomes, high pupil text book ratio, low literacy rates among males and females hence hindering Universal Primary Education.
The government through the District Local Government and lower local Governments has continuously invested resources into programmes aimed at improving the socio-economic conditions of the poor with only limited success. Such programmes include NAADS, LGMSDP, CDD, and PAF among others.
Civil society organizations have complemented government efforts in response to the needs of the poor. KCSON has in particular been addressing advocacy, conflict resolution and peace building (more especially tribal) and programmes for the OVC. A number of structures such as school peace clubs, peace committees and monitoring of service delivery have been critical on KCSON agenda. There are numerous other programmes the civil society fraternity has ventured into.
Despite all this, many natural resource- dependant households have remained poor. Rights violation and lack of awareness by the poor still exist. In particular, PMA seems not yet to have a long lasting change on the wellbeing of the poor natural resource dependant households.
Due to the above situation, conflicts arising from natural and socio-economic resources coupled with domestic violence, illiteracy and lack of information persists in Kibaale district.
There is high environmental degradation due to deforestation, soil erosion and loss of fertility, bush burning and wetland degradation. This is attributed to the rapid increase in the population in the district. According to 2008 Environmental Report by NEMA, Kibaale district ranked second in forest deforestation just after Nakasongora. The main activities leading to this include timber logging, charcoal burning and farming.
Socially, Kibaale District is made up of different ethnic groups to include the Banyoro who are the ‘indigenous’ and various other settlers. Settler communities in Kibaale are Bakiga, Bakonjo, Bafumbira, Batoro and other tribes2. A general term “Bafuruki” referring to settlers has been coiled locally and their numbers all together out way the Banyoro. This in many cases has led to conflict over resources which have led to loss of lives and property of mostly the poor during times of elections.
The project will contribute to realization of REPA programme goal through promoting rights and responsibilities of the poor natural resource dependants to improve their quality of life. Those who hold public responsibility (offices) must show accountability for their roles and resources more especially those that handle programmes for the poor. This will in a long run promote the wellbeing of the poor and better management of the environment and natural resources.
Basing on overlapping interests of the KCSON and CARE in strengthening Civil Society and improving accountability for service delivery to the poor and marginalized groups, the shared interests and mandate of each organization formed the basis of the interaction and signing of the sub grantee agreement to enhance the rights and responsibilities of the rural poor for equitable resource benefits by the end of 2013.
Activities under this programme are aimed at promoting accountability and advocacy to strengthen local governance in natural resources and service delivery in the Sub counties of Kiryanga, Kagadi, Rutete, Muhorro, Kyanaisoke, Kyebando, Matale, Nyamarwa, Kakindo, Birembo and Kasambya. These sub counties harbor the major natural resources such as Nkusi and Muzizi wetlands, community forests and central forest reserves.
The selected sites rhyme with the broader REPA programme sites under the community based natural resource management to enhance synergy, complementary for stronger advocacy in ENR as well as service delivery issues. These are along the Nkusi wetland system, Muzizi river system, Kihaimira CFR and Kayirabwa community forest.
The goal of the project is: to enhance the rights and responsibilities of the rural poor for equitable resource benefits by the end of 2013 with the following specific objectives:
To build capacity of CSOs and other stake holders to promote the rights and responsibilities of the poor in relation resource
KCSON with support from CARE established a community based monitoring system where communities will be empowered to effectively participate in service delivery but also monitor the development processes. Community monitors were selected in 23 parishes of the above mentioned sub counties under the project to lead the monitoring process. The monitors will among other things mobilize communities to take active part in planning, implementation and monitoring of all development of activities in their respective areas. These could be government programmes or those of other service providers. The monitors are also to sensitize people on environmental issues and together promote put up ways of using the natural resources in a sustainable manner.
Community based monitors during a group discussion at their training.
1 Kibaale District Planning Unit: 2009 mid year projected population. 2002 Population and Housing Census, Analytical report, Kibaale District Local Government. Uganda Bureau of Statistics. Kampala, Uganda.
2 Musse Wasibi, ‘A Study on the Causes’, Sec 1.1.