How Parish model will work

Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja speaking to locals in eastern Uganda popularising the Parish Development Model.PHOTO/Courtesy of prime minister

What you need to know:

  • President Museveni notes that the programme will lift 3.5 million households out of subsistence farming and into cash economy.

President Museveni is tomorrow expected to launch the much-publicised Parish Development Model (PDM), a programme government is banking on to lift 17.5 million Ugandans in 3.5 million households out of poverty.
The launch will take place in the eastern Kibuku District, and is coming eight months after the government started sensitising the population and recruiting parish chiefs for efficient implementation of the PDM.
News of the programme launch, which kickstarts nationwide implementation, has been received differently. 
Experts fear possible abuse of the scheme unless first piloted to learn lessons, elected local government officials, except Local Council II officials, are jittery about being excluded from implementation, would-be beneficiaries expect to receive cash yet the programme offers inkind support while questions linger over capacity of implementers.
And less-than-satisfactory performance of previous poverty eradication schemes, some of which government auditors found were mismanaged, add to the feeling of unease about the future of the annual Shs100m-per-parish programme.
Nonetheless, in Kibuku, it will be celebration, with many in attendance expected to don yellow attire – the official colour of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party chaired by Mr Museveni.

And giving a political currency to such a poverty alleviation programme, whereas useful to give it impetus and add to the credential of the ruling party, citizens not in the NRM fold will feel alienated, if administrators of the funds, most of them NRM members, do not exclude them intentionally.
Worse, politicisation present the risk recipients could misconstrue the scheme as a reward for re-electing their party chairman, a similar disease that infected Entandikwa initiative.   

Officials said the launch of the programme tomorrow will unlock the flow of Shs17m already disbursed for each parish, to beneficiaries who must group within the parish and select an approved enterprise under one of seven pillars of PDM.
Top government leaders, among them Vice President Jessica Alupo, Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja and Finance Minister Matia Kasaija, have separately said they have learnt from past less-than-successful poverty reduction scheme and adequate safeguards are in place to stem abuse of the funds as in the past.
Those safeguards are contained in the Implementation Guidelines for the Parish Development Model prepared by the Ministry of Local Government.

It names the seven pillars for eligible enterprises under the whole-of-government intervention as agricultural value-chain development, improving infrastructure and economic services, financial Inclusion, data gathering, community mobilisation and mindset change, governance and administration.
Kibuku District Community Development Officer (DCDO), Ms Grace Hirya Nageza, who has been coordinating group formation ahead of the official launch of PDM in the district, said it will take less than one month for beneficiaries to get the money.
Ms Nageza said that under the supervision of officials from sub-county, parish and village leaders, the process starts with wealth ranking to determine the poor people who have been prioritised in the PDM.

“We started with participatory rural appraisal where we do village resource mapping. [Here] we work with village residents to do a rudimentary map representing the resources, forestry, water and welfare, and this also helps in wealth ranking,” she said, saying LC I chairperson possess the record.
In a preamble to PDM blueprint, President Museveni notes that the programme will lift 3.5 million households out of subsistence farming to the money economy, adding to what he said was gains of Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) reducing the proportion of homesteads working for the stomach from 68 percent in 2016 to 39 percent.

According to the Ministry of Local Government, prioritised commodities under PDM include coffee, cotton, cocoa, cassava, tea, vegetable oils (including oil palm), maize, rice, sugar cane, fish, diary, beef, bananas, beans, avocado, shea nut, cashew nuts, macadamia.
‘Pillar [on production, processing and marketing] is aimed at supporting the creation of more productive jobs and wealth for all Ugandans, especially in the agro-industrialisation…,” the guidelines for the programme extracted from National Development Plan (NDP) III read in part.
To select enterprises that suit the situation of the area and capacity of the household, at least two meetings are held with the targeted community members.

“Parish chief and community development officer at the sub-county, invite community members of a given parish to a sensitisation meeting. During the sensitisation meeting, the community is introduced to the programme, its objectives and the target so that in the next meeting, they come and identify the possible project that can be carried out to get them out of poverty,” Ms Nageza said.  
Each group, according to Ms Nageza, is then asked to come up with leadership –chairperson, treasurer and secretary. “These leaders automatically become part of the SACCO [at the parish level where money is released from],” she said.
“They are the ones who form the parish SACCO and they represent their enterprises. The leaders also come together [at parish level] and they elect their interim leadership which in turn form vetting, appraisal and supervisory committees,” she added.

This interim committee is, however, under the supervision of the Parish Development Committee (PDC), the leaders which some politicians such as Mr Sam Kajojo, the Kanungu district chairperson, said don’t have capacity to manage such monies because of low levels of education or experience.
Gender Minister Betty Amongi said: “The entry point to the PDM is the PDC, chaired by chaired by Local Council II chairperson and it has seven members, with the secretary being the parish chief.”
But Mr Kajojo said: “Without proper capacity building, it will be difficult for some parish chiefs that have never handled any government budget of say, Shs3m, to handle Shs100m project in their areas of jurisdiction.”

The seven pillars for eligible enterprises
Pillar 1
Production, Storage, Processing and Marketing.
Pillar 2
Infrastructure and Economic Services.
Pillar 3
Financial Inclusion.
Pillar 4
Social Services.
Pillar 5
Mindset Change and Crosscutting issues (gender, environment, disability, etc).
Pillar 6
Parish-based Information Management System.
Pillar 7
Governance and Administration.