Public participation in services delivery projects in Buikwe District Local Government Uganda
Public participation as a democratic right has gained wide acceptance in local governance, both to improve accountability in service delivery and to enhance civic consciousness. Uganda now has two decades’ experience of various forms of decentralisation. However, the extent of public participation both in local planning and in holding local politicians to account has been inconsistent. Taking Buikwe District local government as a case study, the authors argued that three key factors influence public participation in local governance – access to information, ability to use information effectively, and awareness of citizens’ rights, roles and responsibilities. They found that these factors positively influenced overall respondents’ participation in local government projects by 10.2%, 19% and 22% respectively based on Pearson Correlation Coefficient. The study further found that information is not readily accessible or effectively disseminated to the majority of citizens and therefore is not fully harnessed for planning, monitoring and evaluating government projects. Reasons for this inadequate access included: limited and costly infrastructure for handling information: lack of skills in relation to how and when to use information; and lack of analytical and simplification skills among those disseminating information. In light of these findings, the paper recommends that information dissemination must be planned and carried out in a targeted and systematic way, if citizens’ awareness of their rights, roles and responsibilities in service delivery is to be achieved.
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