Through a process of wide consultations and involvement of different stakeholders in the development of the civic education curriculum, the Uganda Project Implementation and Management Centre (UPIMAC) inspired the formation of a coalition of state agencies and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) engaged in civic education.
This gave birth to a loose coalition called the Civic Education Coalition in Uganda (CECU). The purpose of the coalition is to support the harmonisation, coordination and sustainability of Civic Education efforts in Uganda. It has a membership of 28 organizations including state and non-state entities including;
- Abantu for Development Uganda (AFOD)
- Agency for Cooperation in Research and Development (ACORD)
- Amuria District Development Association (ADDA)
- Centre for Constitutional Governance (CCG),
- Communication for Development Foundation Uganda (CDFU)
- Community Development and Child Initiative (CODI)
- Development Network of Indigenous Voluntary Associations (DENIVA)
- Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE)
- Human Rights Network (HURINET)
- Kabarole Research Centre (KRC)
- Kapchorwa Civil Society Organisations Alliance (KACSOA)
- Community Driven Network (CODNET)
- Mbarara Development Agency (MDA)
- National NGO Forum
- Pallisa Civil Society Organisations Network (PACONET)
- Platform for Citizen Participation (PLACA)
- Public Affairs Centre (PAC) Uganda
- Rukiga Development Agency
- Uganda National Civic Education Consortium (UNACECO)
- Uganda Project Implementation and Management Centre (UPIMAC)
- Uganda Women’s Network (UWONET)
- Democracy and Human Rights Foundation
- Western Ankole Civil Society Forum (WACSOF)
- Office of the Prime Minister – Ministry of Information and National Guidance (OPM)
- Electoral Commission (EC)
- Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC)
- Inspectorate of Government (IG)
- Judicial Service Commission (JSC)
Through the Civic Education Resource Centre (CERC) which was established at UPIMAC, supported by the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF), we the civic education partners and other stakeholders develop and disseminate a standardized civic education curriculum and related IEC materials. The resource center provides a physical repository for civic education resource material and also runs an interactive online platform located at www.upimac.org/cerc/ for access to soft copies of the Civic Education materials.
Furthermore, we have partnered with 11 national libraries which are stocked with civic education information, provided with computers complete with internet connection and subscription for use by the general public. These include: Masaka Library, kabale, Mbarara, Nakaseke, Soroti, Kabarole, Jinja, Moroto, Gulu, Arua.
We are very keen on research in the civic education sector and work with the Centre for Basic Research (CBR) to inform our civic education dissemination content, methodology and advocacy agenda. We continuously endeavor to improve the impact of civic education in Uganda through consultancy and training in related topics.
Why Civic Education
Civic education is learning for effective participation in democratic and development processes at both local and national levels. It is a process that includes creating awareness and provision of information to equip citizens with the required awareness, knowledge and skills to be conscious and active participants in the governance processes of their community and as well as the wider society.
Civic education is an important principle of good governance because it enables citizens to get involved in decision making. A well-coordinated and institutionalized civic education will specifically increase knowledge and enhance capacity of the citizen to participate in governance processes. An effective civic education programme can strengthen citizens’ analysis of issues affecting their rights; create greater confidence in claiming for such rights and exercising responsibilities.
In the absence of the National Civic Education Policy (NCEP), efforts to deliver civic education in Uganda have been uncoordinated both at national and community level which has affected the quality of civic education delivery.
In addition to the above problem, most state institutions mandated to carry out continuous civic education have limited resources to reach the populace and build consensus.
The scope and impact of civic education in Uganda is currently intermittent, inadequate as reflected in the low levels of citizen participation in democratic processes like limited demand for accountability from the state. According a baseline survey conducted by DGF4, 82% of Ugandans have heard of the Constitution and understand the basic premise but only 23% are able to explain what the Constitution covers. Although citizens show a fairly good understanding of what democracy means as well as fair understanding of the elections, there is limited civic competence which leads to citizen’s lack of confidence to claim their civic rights and engage government to improve service delivery creates less engaged citizens.
The objectives of CECU include:
- To advocate for the enactment and implementation of the National Civic Education Policy;
- To build the civic competence of the citizens to exercise their constitutional mandate;
- To promote the implementation of Civic Education in Uganda;
- To promote cooperation and coordination among civic education actors;
- To ensure standardization and harmonization of civic education activities and materials;
- To enhance communication, and sharing of information and good practices on civic education.
Major Milestones for CECU:
Development and dissemination of civic education IEC materials including; 189,000 copies of the civic education module; 860,000 civic education posters; 704 civic education flyers, ; 260,000 civic education stickers;89,000 copies of the facilitator’s manual. These were used for sensitizing over 6.86 million people across the country by 14 DGF Sponsored CSOs.
Coordination and collaboration of both the state institutions and CSOs involved in civic education. Civic education partners have benefitted from sharing resources both financial and technical to build capacities to disseminate civic education.
11 national libraries have been stocked with civic education information, provided with computers complete with internet connection and subscription for use by the general public. These include: Masaka Library, kabale, Mbarara, Nakaseke, Soroti, Kabarole, Jinja, Moroto, Gulu, Arua.
Engaged in voter education and mobilization across the country in the 2016 general elections that led to an increase in voter turnout from 58% in 2011 to 68% voter turnout in 2016.
Mobilized and sensitized approximately 5.08 million people across the country and equipped them with knowledge on their civic rights and responsibilities.
Establishment of a functional free to use physical library well stocked with a collection of civic education resources- which also has an online presence.
What CECU plans to do in the medium term:
- Streamline Civic Education to contribute to the National Vision of 2040.
- Review the current CECU civic education curriculum with a view of enhancing it to address current social problems in the country and information needs.
- Together with state actors, engage MDAs to put at the fore front civic education in their programes and projects.
- Continue collaborating as CECU members in conducting CE by harmonising work plans and sharing information. This will involve organising joint activities, carrying out joint resource mobilization, etc. since we are targeting the same population and resource persons.
- CECU will further strengthen the coalition’s existing membership and Expand membership of the coalition by admitting new members.
- In partnership with over 24 DGF funded organisations, disseminate civic education to a target population of 7 million citizens in 32 districts including building capacity within grass root communities to continue providing civic education through the ToT approach.
- Advocate for the private sector and government to support strengthened efforts in civic education.
Engage the media because according to the 2014 Census final results, 56% of households reported that radio is their main source of information.