UPIMAC established a National Civic Education Resource Centre for the DGF supported education partners and other stakeholders such the National Library of Uganda, and public and community Libraries. In addition UPIMAC has set up an interactive web-based and physical repository for civic education resource materials. The purpose for establishing the resource centre is to develop and disseminate a standardised civic education curriculum and related IEC materials and actively encourage their use.
In addition, the Resource Centre project Objective 5 is to mainstream the dissemination of civic education messages into other community outreach programs in health, sanitation, agriculture and environmental protection. Activities to be undertaken include coordinating advocacy meetings with Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), CSOs, and FBOs for mainstreaming civic education into their planning, budgeting and implementation as well as developing guidelines for mainstreaming civic education in development planning and budgeting of government MDAs and Non State Institutions.
In view of the above UPIMAC and the civic education stakeholders agreed to establish a network to advocate for the enactment of the National Civic Education Policy and ultimate mainstreaming of civic education into government development programs. The structure of the network is at the moment an informal, flexible set up and relying on member volunteers.
The terms of reference stipulate the mandate of the coalition and guide the operation/activities of the loose coalition (Network).
1.2 Situational Analysis: Overview
The lack of awareness of human rights and civic obligations is an existing challenge among a significant part of the population of Uganda. This has been evident in past national processes like elections, public administration, service delivery, political activities as well as national development programmes where citizens are unaware of their rights and duties and their power to demand accountability. Many studies and surveys that have been done have indicated that a significant number of Ugandans are still not empowered to fully participate in their governance. The lack of awareness negates the principle of democracy that recognises the people’s right to active participation at all levels of their own governance and also denies citizens their right to demand accountability from their leaders and representatives. An informed public is a prerequisite for the active and effective participation of people in democracy.
It is a known fact there is no national civic education policy in place and that efforts at civic education delivery have been inadequate, intermittent and uncoordinated. UHRC has reported annually to Parliament its inability to carry out continuous and country-wide civic education owing to inadequate resources from the government to undertake this as well as its inability to oversee all civic education programmes by all other partners and key stakeholders. A significant part of the civic education that has been delivered in Uganda has been undertaken by UHRC as well as civil society and faith-based organisations with support from development partners.
1.3 The Case for Civic Education
Civic education is an important precept of good governance because it enables citizens to get involved in decision making if they benefit from investing their time in that way. A well-coordinated and institutionalized civic education will specifically increase the knowledge and enhance the skills of citizens.
An effective civic education programme can increase people’s knowledge of governance and rights issues; sharpen skills for analysing such issues; create greater confidence in claiming rights and exercising responsibilities; develop skills of communication and; improve chances of being involved in decision making forums of relevance to their lives and livelihoods.
With increased access to information, and the skills to use it, citizens can participate more fully in decision–making processes in governance, especially at central and local government levels. As those relationships between governments and citizens improve, confidence and trust will be built. With those relationships strengthened, local government leaders will become more accountable to citizens and this will increase the chances for equitable service delivery among other benefits.
1.4 Overall Purpose of the Civic Education Coalition
The main goal for the setup of the civic education coalition is to influence the enactment of the Civic Education Policy and ultimate mainstreaming of civic education in MDAs and NGOs development programs in Uganda.
- Scope of Work/Tasks for the Civic education Coalition:
- Develop and establish guiding principles for the loose coalition/network; setting up a working relationship with other organizations involves dealing with many practical matters, thus it is important to define group roles and relationships while maintaining the integrity of each member organization.
- Establish task forces to plan and coordinate different activities such as advocacy priorities, specific agendas, publicity, outreaches etc. All members should be given a chance to participate in at least one committee.
- Undertake a Civic Education contextual analysis to identify issues of concern;
This will help identify key issues of concern related to civic education in Uganda and the issues identified will be a basis for advocacy as well as for policy briefs and position papers for lobbying.
- Conduct a Stakeholder Analysis: A mapping to identify key allies and foes will be conducted and this will also feed into the civic education advocacy strategy.
- Develop a civic education advocacy strategy: A clear road map that will include SMART actions for influencing mainstreaming civic education in government MDAs and the enactment of the National Civic Education Policy.
- Develop guidelines for mainstreaming civic education in NGO/CBO development programmes: The guidelines will be used by any organization wishing to undertake civic education in Uganda and will ensure coherence in the delivery of civic education.
- Organize and hold lobby meetings with key stakeholders as and when agreed and necessary.
- Assess progress periodically and make whatever changes are necessary. This assessment should examine decision making and the effectiveness of the coalition in meeting the advocacy objectives, opportunities for constituencies to take on leadership roles and other relevant areas.
2.1 Key deliverables:
- Guiding principles / conduct of the network members in place
- Civic Education Issues of Concern paper
- Key stakeholder list
- One year advocacy strategy
- Draft guidelines for mainstreaming civic education
- 5 Lobby meetings with selected policy / decision makers.