Information Project of the Kabarole Research and Resource Centre (KRC), Uganda
Memers of the Bubandi Information Centre, Uganda
CAMECO was approached by Broederlijk Delen (BD, Belgium), to implement an external evaluation of an information project for farmers of the Kabarole Research and Resource Centre (KRC) in the Rwenzori Region in Western Uganda.
Since 2008, BD has supported the information project of KRC, which targets at "empowering rural communities in the Rwenzori Region through access to reliable, diverse, timely and relevant information for equitable and sustainable development". A cascading structure of eight county and 37 subcounty information centres, plus about 42 parish information points, was established in five districts of the Rwenzori region, Western Uganda, to allow farmers to easily access information on market prices, the weather, pest and diseases, etc.
The evaluation took place in anticipation of a second co-financing period (2011-2013) for KRC. It's scope included, for example, an analysis of the information flows between the information centres, KRC and other organisations working in the field of rural development; an assessment of the relevance of the information provided by the centres to perceived needs in the communities; an analysis of best practices and/or enabling factors contributing to the "success" of information centres, as well as recommendations that seek to improve the current information strategy of KRC and the partners involved.
During the field assignment (October 15th - 29th 2010) the evaluation team, consisting of a local expert from Uganda and Petra Stammen from CAMECO, visited 12 information centres and conducted collective and individual interviews with representatives from member organisations of the information centres, information officer, rural extension workers, etc. In addition, the evaluation team designed a survey for the information centres, organised focus group discussions with farmers, a stakeholder meeting and a feedback workshop with KRC.
Based on the key findings and recommendations listed in CAMECO's evaluation report, the following measures and next steps are currently considered and/or implemented by KRC: KRC and other implementing organisations on site aim to better coordinate and streamline their strategic plans and planned activities, and map their respective roles and responsibilities, in order to use synergies and avoid the duplication of efforts. No new centres will be established, but selected promising information centres receive, for instance, further capacity building support in the field of developing basic and realistic business plans, and further skills in the area of information collection, dissemination and repackaging. With regard to the current and future information strategy of KRC, a combined approach of new and so called "traditional" media (including the strategic use of rural radio stations, videos, drama shows and theatre plays) will be developed. The use of ICTs including communication channels not used so far by KRC (such as bulk SMS) are tested and will be expanded after a positive feedback phase. (PS)