Sunday, April 11, 2010

Another Workshop!

My organization has finally managed to conduct another dissemination workshop! To refresh people quickly: we are created a report card for each MP (Member of Parliament) and then doing dissemination workshops to give that info to the voters. The workshop from this past Friday was awesome!

We were presenting the scorecard for the MP of Bamunanika County. This MP did not do particularly well: he only went to 9 of the 80 sittings of parliament and attending none of his committed meetings. His grades were: F in Plenary (the full sittings of Parliament), F in Committed, and E in Constituency. The MP himself did not attend the workshop, but he sent his assistant and there were about 110 of his constituents in attendance.

After I finished presenting the methodology of the scorecard and his specific scores, the MP's assistant was given time to respond. The assistant was amazing: he admitted that the MP had not performed up to par and went step by step explaining how the MP would improve and how he would help him improve (now whether or not the promised improvements will come to pass is a whole other issue, and he better get his act together before the elections in 2011). The assistant could have gotten angry, said that our data was flawed, that we were out to get the MP, etc, etc, but he didn't. It was a beautiful political move!

Then the audience asked questions and gave comments demanding change etc, etc. It really was democracy and politics at its finest, really! It is quite amazing, because the average Ugandan does not have many channels through which to voice their concerns, so it was great to see them take advantage of this and to some extent force the MP to be responsive to their concerns and needs!

We have 2 more workshops planned over the next 2 weeks, so we'll see how those go. We plan to do 118 workshops (about half of the constituencies in Uganda) before next year's elections.

The bottom line of all of this is to increase good governance, and it is great to be a part of that. And the cool part is that we have a systematic, randomized-trial based way to evaluate if we are in actual fact increasing good governance in Uganda, so once we are finished with all the workshops we will see the effectiveness of the scorecard system of evaluation . . .

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