Throughout GAPP’s seven-year implementation period and with current eGAPP activities, RTI and its partners have been honored to support the GOU, civil society, private sector and other stakeholders to strengthen governance systems with the ultimate aim of improving service delivery for the Ugandan citizens.
The delivery of government services throughout Uganda has been challenged by a lack of accountability, inefficient systems, weak coordination between national and local levels of government, and low levels of citizen participation.
In 2012, when the Governance, Accountability, Participation and Performance (GAPP) program project was launched, citizens had limited skills and incentives to participate in the governance process, existing processes to gather input on needs were weak, and limited collaboration between local governments and national accountability institutions meant there was little public accountability and oversight.
Jointly funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.K. Department for International Development, GAPP worked in 40 districts and 13 municipalities around the country to
- Improve the legal, policy, regulatory, and institutional environment to meet demands for more democratic governance
- Enhance fiscal management and accountability processes in the delivery of services in targeted districts
- Build the capacity of citizens and communities to participate in local governance.
GAPP has contributed to significant advances in government performance and accountability in Uganda as highlighted below. In 2017, work was expanded to strengthen accountability systems and leadership in the Ministry of Health (MoH).
In 2019, the project was awarded an extension funded by DFID to support core activities in 15 districts through January 2021, under the Equity, Governance, Accountability, Participation and Performance (eGAPP), solely funded by DFID. Work recently pivoted to focus on assisting the Government of Uganda (GOU) with its COVID-19 response.
A lot of flexibility is required for governance programming to achieve sustainable results, from both the implementing partner and the client,” said Eva Matsiko, GAPP and eGAAP Chief of Party. “We had to change and adapt several interventions … In some cases, we conducted applied political economy analyses and then approached the same issue differently with better outcomes. USAID and DFID embraced adaptive management which empowered the GAPP team to make necessary adjustments and achieve results.”
Strengthening Accountability and Procurement Integrity with the Ministry of Health
An Embedded Technical Services team—comprised of engineers, legal experts, and procurement and finance experts—has been working to facilitate accountability, procurement integrity and quality assurance, and providing legal advice to the Minister and Permanent Secretary in the MoH. Activities include helping to strengthen anticorruption measures and identifying opportunities for oversight and cost savings in infrastructural projects and out-of-court settlements, including enforcing specific performance of contract oversight. This work recently pivoted to supporting the MoH response to COVID-19.
[When I started], the Ministry was dealing with so many cases in civil litigation. One of the major sources of claims was contractual disputes with suppliers… [Another] area was delayed payments. [Over time] we have reduced litigation by about 72%,” said Brian Luswata, eGAPP Technical Specialist.
Highlights of activities and results include the following:
- Conducted quality assurance interventions by enforcing specific performance standards for MOH contractors
- Provided legal and mechanical engineering skills to build in-house capacity in the MoOH, resulting in cost savings
- Strengthened internal accountability systems and processes, including accountability for Government of Uganda travel and expense funds by government staff
- With the cost savings in engineering approaches, the MoH was able to increase the number of health facilities that could be upgraded to 297 from 285 facilities
- Operationalized an in-house service bay for MOH vehicles, resulting in a cost savings of over US$264,000 per year
Increasing Accountability and Developing Leaders' Ability to Better Serve Their Communities
By strengthening local government capacity (LG) and accountability systems—including systems for revenue mobilization, financial management, audit, and procurement—and building decision-making capacity among local leaders, GAPP made great strides in helping the GOU to increase quality services, especially in districts where leaders were committed to change and open to reform.
Results worth noting include
- Lower local governments increased locally raised revenues an average of 52% (between FY2011/2012 and FY2016/2017) in 24 of 26 GAPP-supported LGs, and all six of the GAPP-supported municipalities increased locally raised revenues an average of 97% (from FY2011/2012 and FY2016/2017)
- Supported a parliamentary committee to clear a five-year backlog of audit reports from the Auditor General and supported them to meet their six-month constitutional mandate for timely reporting.
- Helped the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA) to increase the frequency of procurement and disposal audits of local governments from 28% to 78% (FY 2011/12 to FY 2018/19) and reduced costs of audits from about 25-35 million Ugandan shillings (UGX, equivalent to approximately $6,500-$9,100 USD) to 3 million UGX ($780 USD) by increasing capacity and using in-house staff rather than relying on outsourcing.
- Supported PPDA in operationalize a Gender Equity and Social Inclusion (GESI) Committee, to foster a GESI “lens” in programming across the entire organization. PPDA mainstreamed GESI approaches in its work plans and budgets, taking a people-centered approach to ensure that budgets, plans, terms of reference, capacity building programs, and procurement audits were inclusive of all population segments.
- Developed and ran leadership forums for newly elected leaders before they were sworn in. GAPP conducted forums in 35 districts and 7 municipalities, resulting in 754 women and 1,385 men who became empowered to make strategic decisions.
- Streamlined coordination of the refugee response due to support for integration of development partners’ activities into the district work plans.
Working with and through local civil society organizations (CSO) and private sector associations (PSA), GAPP strengthened their organizational skills—in finance, management, human resources, among others—and capacity to operate effectively, supporting them to advocate on behalf of the people they represent and to mobilize citizens to become involved in local governance.
For example, competitive grants supported training of over 350 women in leadership skills and inclusive development and facilitated youth-focused and youth-led CSOs to further their participation in funding Youth Parliaments and accessing government funding for youth programs.
In the trainings that we [had], we [were] able to pick out the top most leaders and instilled in them skills that they can pass on…” said Acuma Florence, District Councilor, Oyam district.
Across the districts, GAPP helped to increase the advocacy skills of PSA and their ability to influence a better business environment and improved conditions. Examples of PSA advocacy results include
- In Kayunga, Hoima and Gulu, the Market Vendors’ Association renegotiated daily payments with the Municipal Council for electricity and water in the market. Also, in Kayunga and Hoima, the town council addressed garbage collection issues by collecting garbage 7 days a week as opposed to 5 days a week.
- Through Eco-Agric Uganda’s support, business clubs advocated for better hygiene in the market areas.
- New classroom blocks were built, and renovations done in Lira, Apac, Oyam, and Amuru districts.
- A school feeding program was implemented in Lukodi Primary School, helping increase enrollment and decreasing absenteeism.
- World Voices Uganda (operating in Kibaale and Kagadi districts) led to more boda boda (bicycle or motorcycle public transport) shades being constructed and improved garbage collection in four town councils.
- Kasambya sub-county in Mubende District had a ramp constructed to enable persons with mobility difficulties to be able to access the office of the chairperson to deliberate on their issues.