Citizens in Kalangala have expressed concern that achieving the Sustainable Development Goals is far from near because of what they called “breakdown” in service delivery. Citizens expressed discontent over the breakdown, stressing that accessing services from government facilities remains a nightmare. Citizens argued that government has only enabled the rich to get richer while the poor become poorer because of the tax injustice existing among others. It was further noted that it’s very hard to go to the government health centers and access the relevant drugs. These concerns were raised during community meetings held on 29th March 2017 in Buyindi village, Mugoye Sub County and Bugala cell, Kalangala Town Council Kalangala District.
Uganda National NGO Forum in partnership with Kalangala NGO Forum organized two community meetings as part of community participation in monitoring of the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals. Citizens discussed poverty, health, Hunger and Life below water among others; it was noted that poverty and food insecurity continue to escalate because people sold their land and thus have less ground for commercial agriculture but were quick to fault government for not empowering citizens to add value to what they produce. Regarding health, government was faulted for not putting in place measures to combat drug theft in health centers; One lady noted, “you reach a health center, sit for long and then a health worker prescribes drugs for you but advises you to go out and buy from drug shops. The question is how come drugs are in the drug shops and not health centers!”. Citizens also faulted the Uganda National Bureau of Standards for allowing illegal fishing nets in the country, an issue that has long affected the fishing industry.
The meetings sought to establish citizens’ perspectives on the implementation of 7 Sustainable Development goals that will be reviewed at the 2017 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). The HLPF is the main forum through which CSOs can hold governments accountable at the global level for their commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals. The 2017 theme is “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world“. The set of goals to be reviewed in depth will be the following, Goals 1, 2, 3, 5, 9, 14 and 17.
The Kalangala RDC, Mr. Caleb Tukaikiriza stressed that the war on poverty is a mindset issue and not about money. He called upon CSOs to mobilize citizens to work hard because most of the people are unproductive and ever asking for handouts from government. He also blamed citizens for selling their land and for producing many children they can’t take care of.
The consultation was geared towards shaping Uganda’s CSO Position for the 2017 HLPF and from the feedback received from communities, government still has a daunting task in committing towards transforming communities; this requires revamping all institutions of government mandated to take services closer to citizens. Government needs to establish an enabling environment that can enable small traders and farmers to do business i.e build capacity of local business holders to add value to their produce, provide low interest loans as well as address the current tax injustice and with that in place, no one will be left behind.
Story By Ninyesiga Robert