US, UK to support local governance, service delivery

By Chris Kiwawulo

The training sessions are helping local leaders at the district, municipality and sub-country levels

The US and UK have pledged support towards improving service delivery and government transparency at the local level in Uganda.

The two governments through their respective missions in Uganda are working together to develop the skills of newly-elected Ugandan officials in 53 districts throughout the country.

“The US and UK governments are proud to announce their ongoing support for this joint program that oversees the induction and orientation of new members of local councils in 53 districts throughout Uganda,” said a joint statement issued by the US Mission and British High Commission in Uganda.

The training sessions are helping local leaders at the district, municipality, and sub-country levels to learn their roles and responsibilities, as well as allowing them to be more responsive and effective in dealing with the needs of their constituents. 

In her remarks at the February 7 induction in Masindi district, the US Ambassador to Uganda, Deborah Malac, noted the importance of local government, which is at the heart of responding to citizens’ demands and improving service delivery.

“Our hope is that investing in leadership development at the sub-national level will ensure that local authorities, civil society, and the central government will work together to improve the quality of education, promote transparency, and ensure access to quality health care,” she said.

British High Commissioner, Peter West, also commended the training.

“Through this training, we want to help elected district and sub-country councillors be accountable to their citizens, to improve service delivery, and to earn public trust as elected office holders,” he said.

The US Agency for International Development and UKAID, through the Governance, Accountability, Participation, and Performance (GAPP) program and the Strengthening Decentralization for Sustainability (SDS) program, are undertaking the rollout of this induction program in the 53 districts.

The program provides reference materials, including copies of the Local Government Act and Rules of Procedure, for local councils.

The US–UK induction program seeks to equip local council members with the necessary knowledge to perform their new jobs efficiently and effectively.

On average, nearly 70% of local councillors are serving in their first term, with little prior government experience.

The induction will help the local leaders understand clearly the decentralization framework in Uganda. Additional training includes leadership development and the functional issues about the work of government.