By Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa/Umoja Standard.
Kampala, Uganda: On Friday, Uganda’s minister for Local Government hon. Raphael Magyezi said that the best requirement for humanity is food and it is against that he emphasized that Parish Development Model (PDM) implementation focuses first on food security.
He made this revelation during a Roundtable High-Level Strategic Partnership Meeting between CSOs Consortium and Local Government Ministry for the implementation of Parish Development Model and asked that their partnership should align with food security of the population as a core.
(C), Local Government Minister Hon. Raphael Magyezi poses for a group photo with members of the CSOs Consortium for the implementation of Parish Develpment Model. Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.
Available statistics show that as many as 828 million people go to bed hungry every night globally. The number of those facing acute food insecurity has soared – from 135 million to 345 million – since 2019. A total of 49 million people in 49 countries are teetering on the edge of famine.
Across Uganda, about 91,600 children and 9,500 pregnant or breastfeeding women are suffering from acute malnutrition and need treatment, according to the latest assessment by humanitarian agencies which is worrisome.
Hon. Magyezi said, ‘CSOs are good at community sensitization, mobilization, creating awareness among the people such that their participation in programs like PDM is ensured’.
“They are good in studies and in this they will help us conduct studies, document and carry out data collection such that we are able to track the progress of the PDM. They are coming in to look at our monitoring and evaluation framework such that they strengthen it and use it to enhance accountability and transparency of the PDM” He stated.
“I have assured them that they can give us representatives at the PDM Secretariat such that they play this role that I have brought out. They are a key player because they are the voice of the population and through them, we are able to hear people’s expectations, fears, how they understood the Model as another eye of the implementors”. He added.
Hon. Magyezi told this website that so far out of 10,594 parishes in the country, more than 8600 have received their funding of UGX. 25 Million released by government for the first two quarters of this financial year to Parish SACCOs. He added, ‘those who haven’t received could have had issues like leadership of the SACCO, registration of the SACCO with district office, opening of the bank account, training and capacity building of the executive of the SACCO and others.
Earlier on Albert Siminyu the outgoing Country Director of Action Against Hunger ACF-Uganda Mission, (ACF) had informed the Minister that as part of complementing Ministry’s efforts in implementation of PDM, ACF secured 3,800 acres of land of which over 1,200 were opened and utilized for food and commercial needs in Adjumani district alone.
He added that ACF alone has contributed US$10 Million to support different pillars of PDM, supported; – 1,2oo refugee families, 400 farmer groups, 340 Village Saving and Loans Associations (VSLAs), 10,000 women and children to get life-saving support, seconded 50 nutrition specialists to Ministry of Health, trained and supported 600 VHTs (Village Health Teams) and others.
Albert Siminyu- Outgoing Country Director of Action Against Hunger ACF-Uganda Mission, (ACF) submits own views during CSOs Consortium engagement prior Roundtable High-Level Strategic Partnership meeting with Minister Magyezi. Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.
“We have also contributed UGX. 3Billion to Consolidated fund through Pay As You Earn, (PAYE)”. Said Albert Siminyu.
Albert sought for connection of PDM and Office of the Prime Minister, (OPM) to help in data management and deeper analysis of CSOs contribution to the Model and there be a slot for NGO Board representative of CSOs at the PDM Secretariat.
He went on highlight that they agreed as CSOs to harmonize their activities jointly for proper implementation of the PDM and are looking forward to have model districts to start off with.
Speaking after the engagement Ms. Agnes Kirabo the executive director of Food Right Alliance, (FRA) stressed that food security and nutrition is the minimum standard of development – an underlying determinant of any form of transformation so long as it involves human beings.
“We are very glad that the minister has pronounced himself on the centrality of food security and nutrition to achieving the intended goals of PDM. The hungry do not plan, they do not invest, they do not think, they do not market, they do not innovate, the hungry do not participate in any of the seven pillars of the PDM”. Said Ms. Kirabo.
Ms. Agnes Kirabo- Executive Director of Food Right Alliance, (FRA) speaks during the patnership meeting. Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.
Ms. Kirabo stated that even if you go to the philosophical foundation of the PDM, even in the pre and post-colonial days, food security was a must and it is their desire that ‘for any community or household to bother the PDM, we should first ascertain that they are food and nutrition secure otherwise they are just going to eat the money’.
On the other hand, Ms. Kirabo desires that government puts proper mechanisms to capture and aggregate the contribution of CSOs to even monumental models saying that they are already investing at the level of the parish.
She went on to inform that as FRA, they are developing a handbook for the parish development committees to help them appreciate and plan for food and nutrition first and also be able to report.
In this she stressed they are also going to work with line Ministry to see that they orient planners and economists in all local governments including cities but also implementing Ministries, Departments and Agencies, (MDAs) in order for them to have the lenses of food and nutrition in whatever they do.
Parish Development Model is a government program implemented through Ministry of local government with core objectives of getting 39% households that are in a subsistence economy from abject poverty.
The CSOs Consortium for the implementation of the PDM is spearheaded by Action Against Hunger USA-Uganda Mission, (ACF) with other members like Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG), Food Rights Alliance, (FRA) and Institute for Social Transformation, (IST).