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Participatory Budgeting Projects

Project Title:  Reclaiming Citizen’s power over their priorities in the District Budgets (2014-2017)


Starting from 2014, ACTADE with support from the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF) implemented a 5-year project titled Reclaiming Citizen’s power over their priorities in the District Budgets” in Hoima and Kibaale which was later split to create Kagadi district in Bunyoro Sub-region, Mid-western Uganda. Specifically, the project was implemented in Buhimba and Buhanika sub counties, Hoima district and in Kyakabadiima and Rugashari sub counties, Kibaale/Kagadi district.

The project was aimed at fostering an informed citizenry demanding accountability for improved delivery of their priorities in the district budget. Specifically, the project sought to; i) enhance citizens’ action and engagement on the district budgets to demand accountability for improved services; ii) increase technocrats and political leaders’ responsiveness to citizens demands to improve and deliver quality services; and iii) enhance linkages and synergy with national level budget advocacy organizations.


Of the many achievements registered under the 5-year project, the following have been highlighted:

  • The project interventions boosted citizens’ confidence. At the project’s start, ACTADE trained groups of ten (10) citizens per sub county referred to as District Budget Monitors (DBMs), to lead in community level implementation of project activities and district budget monitoring. By the end of the project, some of them had vied for positions of leadership, campaigned and were leaders at various levels.  Such individuals included Annet Asiimwe from Kyakabadiima, Robert Abigaba from Buhanika, Kiiza Amooti from Rugashari who were inspired by the service delivery and capacity gaps they identified among their serving leaders that they chose to join political leadership, representing their communities at their respective Local Council IIIs.
  • Citizens empowerment which led increased citizen-led demand for accountability and advocacy for services that were not previously allocated funds in annual local government budgets. A case in point was that due to increased citizens’ understanding and appreciation of the budgeting process, and feedback from leaders, the citizens of Buhimba sub-county fundraised, advocated for and acquired a solar panel for Bujalya Health Centre III. For a health center III that previously operated without electricity, this new development motivated medical officers and instantly improved service delivery at the center.
  • Household transformation through adapting knowledge for self- benefit. The knowledge from the trainings in budgets was taken up by project beneficiaries, who used such knowledge in budgeting for domestic growth as well as being more vigilant to utilize services offered by government such as UPE and USE and government-aided health centers, having understood citizens’ role within such services. Night Rose Mary, a DBM from Kyakabadiima Sub-county said she had improved her household budgeting and prioritization as a result of acquiring training in budget analysis.
  • Enhanced media involvement in covering, understanding and communicating community level issues especially in the areas of civic rights and inclusion this in their programming. ACTADE worked with district level radio stations such as Kagadi-Kibaale Community Radio (KKCR), Kagadi Broadcasting Service (KBS), Spice FM Hoima and Radio Hoima as partner radio stations broadcasting key messages and talk shows relating to citizens roles, participation and duties of leaders and duty bearers in the budgeting processes. At Kibaale-Kagadi Community Radio (KKCR) for instance, the staff involved in the project implementation reported to have obtained in-depth analysis skills on civic rights, democratic participation of communities and budget and gender analysis. This knowledge would be continuously used by the radio station to educate their listeners and the public outside the project coverage area would equally benefit from this knowledge. According Ms. Mugisha Alegro Unity who works with KKCR, “We have a show here called “Iraka ryawe” literally meaning Your Voice which airs both leaders and citizens’ voices. In as much as that show is important and key in bringing to light community development issues and leaders’ performance issues, there were times when it would not be aired due to lack of voices from citizens and leaders due to travel costs to communities. The project by ACTADE has since helped ensure that this programme has enough content to be shared with our listeners.”

Mr. Robert Atuhairwe, a New Vision newspaper reporter based in Hoima district reported that “the one key learning I have got working with ACTADE on this project is the relationship between gender and the budget. I pay close attention to district budgets especially in areas of water where women, girls and children are most affected as according to our culture it is their role to collect water. This I will definitely carry on going forward.”

  • Repulicability of the District Budget Monitors approach in other community services departments. Mr. Kasangaki Jamil, the L.C.III Chairperson of Buhanika sub-county for instance reported to have created village security committees in his sub-county, owing to the lessons on citizens-led development, which he had learnt from the success of the DBMs. Among other roles, the security committees were charged with identifying and reporting households employing children in economic activities at the expense of their school, following many such reports during community meetings.
  • Increased Women Participation in Community Meetings. There was change in number of women attending meetings from 600 at the beginning of the project, to 2,674 women, considering the deeply rooted cultural beliefs in Bunyoro region that do not encourage women to participate in activities outside home affairs. The level and quality of participation by the women was enhanced by more women raising issues with confidence, leading to better gender budgeting. One such case was in Buhanika sub county, Hoima district where Ms. Businge Pamela, a DBM, initiated a meeting with the water source management committee of Kitonya shallow well that resulted in the rehabilitation and routine maintenance of the well.
  • The project strengthened the rapport between and amongst stakeholders. The project gave citizens in the 4 target sub counties mileage in meeting their leaders, as well as understanding roles and duties of citizens and government. There was a realization that both citizens and their leaders need to work together to improve service delivery. Mugisha Alegro Unity, a broadcaster from KKCR observed that there was a changed community, bold enough to put their leaders to task for improved service delivery in the various sectors, without evoking animosity. “When you are in studio, people call their leaders from various sub counties and ask them questions boldly and this is a sign that they do not fear their leaders but they respect them and have a duty to engage them. This was not the case in the past where people did not only fear their leaders but some did not know them and were not aware of their roles, so there were no such confident engagements.”

Project Title: Citizen’s Voice and Action (2019-2022)


The budget is regarded as, and rightly so, a tool through which government can effectively deliver services to its citizens, across all sectors. ACTADE’s activities under this programme area in 2020 therefore continued to contribute to increasing citizens’ influence to local government plans and budgets on one hand, and duty bearers’ responsiveness to citizens’ concerns on the other, under the Citizen Voice and Action (CVA) project. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic that hit in 2020 and slowed down most activities in the first half of the year, work continued in the eight (8) districts of operation in Central Uganda namely; Kyankwanzi, Kiboga, Mityana, Mubende, Butambala, Gomba, Bukomansimbi and Kalungu district and the following were the accomplishments for the year;

  • ACTADE has registered increased responsiveness of leaders towards citizens needs across the 8 targeted districts in Central Uganda. There is growing interest by the leaders to respond to citizens’ issues. This is evidenced with the number of invitations that have been received to attend and present citizen issues in the budget conferences, for example all the 8 districts invited ACTADE to present community priorities identified from the 38 subcounties. The district leaders are also increasingly expressing  interest to be involved in project adding that they now know it is always an opportunity to clarify issues to the people they serve. These leaders include the SAS, CDOs and extension workers in 38 sub counties, the CAOs, RDCs; and Departmental Heads of education, health, production and community development in 8 districts.
  • The proportion of accountability and oversight structures that report an improvement in carrying out their mandate has increased. ACTADE has so far supported over 400 structures including Technical Planning Committees, Parish Development Committees, District Integrity Promotion Forums, School Management Committees and Health User Management Committees through trainings to refresh them on their roles and responsibilities and enhance their skills in participatory planning, budgeting and monitoring. During the mid-term review in December 2020, 75% of the 35 duty bearers interviewed revealed that the project had supported them to make improvements in carrying out their mandate. “The project has helped us to involve the community in planning, monitoring, budgeting and demanding for the most needed services within the community”, said Ms. Nalugwa Fausta, the Planner of Bukomansimbi district. Mr. Tom Yiga, the Bulenga Parish Chief, Bigasa Sub County in Bukomansimbi district said that “the project has supported us in implementing our activities and also coming up with a report. We used to have activities but not bother to document. We now present written reports to the SAS and CDO”.
  • A recent survey revealed an increase in the confidence of citizens to influence local government plans and budgets. The survey randomly sampled 300 residents from the project area. 65% of them reported having the confidence to voice issues to their leaders without fear of intimidation. This is through increased monitoring of service delivery in the areas of operation and presenting issues to duty bearers for action. The citizens are now able to engage with their leaders. This engagement is stronger at the lower local government level at 70%, and only 10% at the district local government level. The leaders referred to in the survey included the LC I, LC III and LC V Chairpersons, the sub county chiefs, the agricultural extension workers, Town Clerks, district Planners and the Chief Administrative Officers.
  • ACTADE continued to support government initiatives for accountability. ACTADE supported the Mubende and Mityana districts to fast-track and complete their respective Client Charters. ACTADE has printed and disseminated the client charters at district level and, enhanced understanding of the charter by both citizens and lower local government leaders by holding radio programmes where the district leaders were hosted to familiarize stakeholders with the document. Discussions were started with Bukomansimbi and Kiboga Districts to fast track the completion of their Client Charters.

In the photos on the left, CDO Manyi S/C Mityana meeting women group representatives during a consultative meeting organized by ACTADE and on the right, ED ACTADE and CAO Mityana launching the Client Charter.