Uganda: New Study Highlights Flaws in Implementation of Parish Development Model

A new study by Centre for Food and Adequate Living Rights(CEFROHT) , a food rights civil society organization has indicated a number of flaws in the implementation of the newly introduced parish development model program by government.

Name the “pilot baseline survey on women inclusion and a human rights based approach in the implementation of the PDM” and conducted in two districts of Mukono and Kaliro, the study was co funded by GIZ and the European Union.

According to the study, the implementation guidelines for the program were not effectively communicated to the masses and in many areas, they were misunderstood.

“The state didn’t consider local leaders as a medium they can use to roll out PDM yet it came out to be the main source community members used to get information about PDM. On the other hand, modern means of accessing information including internet, phones and television have not yet been embraced by the beneficiaries,” the study says.

The study indicates that beneficiaries still rely on verbal exchange through physical interactions to exchange information which means they have to rely on local leaders for information.

The survey also highlights the minimum required standards discriminated the poorest of the poor from participating in the program since many of them didn’t have these requirements.

“For instance, it required a minimum of one acre piece of land for one to qualify to become a beneficiary of a dairy enterprise group. Other saccos needed one to establish structures for poultry and goats or show evidence of fish ponds. Sacco loan committees vetted basing on capacity to pay back the revolving fund which was based on asset base,” the survey says.

It explains that because of the weak asset base, especially among women, most of them were automatically disqualified and discriminated based on their low economic status.

The survey indicated that many people never registered for parish development model because of lack of national IDs which served as a requirement for one to qualify as a beneficiary, non-participation in parish development model preliminary activities such as training and meetings whereas others didn’t belong to the government priority enterprises, thus not considered.

“Some people didn’t register for PDM because they were disinterested due to frustration by failures of existing and past government development programs such as wealth creation, NAADS etc. There were also other barriers like non- existence of a cell phone and sim card registered in the beneficiary’s name which served as a requirement for qualification as a beneficiary.”

According to the survey, some of the enterprise group members registered illegitimately when they were nominated and registered by either local leaders, family members of friends on their behalf.

Change in guidelines

The survey also decried the ever-changing implementation guidelines for parish development programs which has caused a lot of confusion among implementers and complaints among members of the public.

“This confusion led members of the public, especially women to make wrong choice of enterprise groups especially those not listed under national priority list and ended up being discriminated.”

Fred Max Mbalumya, the District PDM focal person for Kaliro attested to these ever-changing guidelines.

“There is a big problem of ever-changing guidelines. Today there is this guideline in place, you relay the information to the people and the next day, a new set of guidelines is introduced. This has affected us that in case of change of guidelines, we fear to engage the public. There is also limited facilitation for implementers,” Mbalumya said.