By Paul Edotu
The Parish Development Model is a unique poverty eradication model in Uganda, each sub county in Uganda is ear marked to receive unprecedented UGX 600-700Million per Annum.
The Parish Development Model launch took place on 26/2/2022 at Kibuku district and it was presided over by His Excellency the President of Uganda Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.
The manner in which the President rallied inter-ministerial efforts around this program leaves no doubt in my mind that the parish Development model is going to be that magical bullet to drive away poverty this time round from the rural country side.
Many people had perceived the Parish Development Model to be a small size program but its design and implementation is going to involve all Ministries, departments and government agencies. You can discern this by looking at the pillars of the program and the way the Ministers have attacked its pre- launch activities and the launch itself.
Previously in Uganda, technical working groups in ministries and departments was the in thing. Today with the PDM, the President has rallied all Ministers starting with the prime minister who is commandeering all other Ministers, so you could say the PDM has received adequate political support and it’s a holistic program from organisation and outlook.
In the words of the Hon. Raphael Magezi, the Minister for local government, thee PDM is structured along the different dimensions of poverty in Uganda. Therefore the involvement of all ministers and portfolios is right and fitting. Probably this is one indicator of the success of this program because all stakeholders have consensually agreed not just to move in one direction but to commit resources and synergies to a common cause.
Recently H.E President Museveni, said the biggest challenge of Africa is governance. Which is manifested in poor governance of the countries but also governance of government institutions and government programs.
Therefore the decision to have ministers descend to the ground in teams to offer leadership to the implementation of government programs and to explain to the masses what works and what doesn’t work in itself is a new mindset change and paradigm shift that has come with the PDM and needs to be replicated whenever any mass program is designed and implemented by government.
Like I had alluded hereinabove, previously government would design isolated programs and place them in one ministry under one Minister and technocrats in that Ministry and after political launch of the program, its implementation would entirely rest on the technical arms but clearly with the PDM it’s a one stop centre program for all Ministries, namely Agriculture, finance, health, education, gender, works, energy just to mention a few.
The way the Ministers reported working together during the prelaunch and launch activities; It’s my hope that this working approach doesn’t stop at preparing for the launch of the program only at Kibuku but should be country wide and even on yearly basis, the Ministerial teams should move to each subregion to conduct monitoring and receive feedback from the population.
Going by the report of the Minister of Local Government, the ministry of ICT now has all information concerning all households in Uganda and poverty indicators, this data is for strategic intervention.
Although for now each parish will receive UGX 100,000,000/-, depending on where you are standing and the way you look at it, as a former sub county Chief, I want to inform Ugandans that this amount of money is reasonably big, some rural sub counties in Uganda annually used to receive and collect approximately 100million annually but it means now under PDM, a sub county with 6 parishes is getting 600million Uganda shillings and for me this is a very big boost to rural development. Nobody should undermine, the PDM program looking at the commitment government has put to it in terms of resources.
Before I end this article let me salute His Excellency, the President of Uganda for his clarity on what the program is meant to achieve. He has placed emphasis on agriculture, specifically intensive and extensive agriculture and the key enterprises which bring in money. The President envisages that the program should target disbursing at least 1million shillings to each farmer/Entrepreneur to support his or her enterprise so that there is impact. I do believe that, those engaged in the implementation will do exactly that.
His Excellency the President also directed that a lot of work should be devoted to changing the mindset of the people from traditional negative believes and practices of production, whose emphasis was working for food/Stomach, to the new approach of working for money in addition to food.
The burden of this mindset change was placed on the shoulders of all leaders and recalling my social work knowledge, I can clearly see that change is coming to every village, parish and sub county in Uganda and that change is a fundamental change of social economic transformation from largely subsistence economy to upper middle income.
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The Author is cadre, public administration and policy practitioner and paralegal.