Africa Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC) trained Mr Okumu Fabian on Access to Information, Open Contracting and contracts monitoring in November 2018 together with other selected community monitors in Nebbi district. Equipped with the knowledge about community monitoring, Mr Okumu and other monitors started monitoring the construction of Kisenge primary school which was aided by the copy of the contract that AFIC shared with the school Head Teacher.
It was discovered that there was poor accessibility to the newly constructed classroom blocks; the contractor of Kisenge Primary School did not make proper provisions for persons with disabilities while constructing the new primary classroom blocks as had been specified in the contract. The ramps that had been constructed were raised making it difficult to climb to them by people with disabilities.
During the monitoring exercise, Mr Okumu and his team found out that the students with disabilities were not able to enter the classrooms due to the high staircases of the ramps. The team raised the issue to the contractor and the district officials, demanded that a correction be made. The contractor first resisted, citing that it would be costly, given that construction was nearing completion. With continued pressure from the school community led by Mr Okum, the contractors made the adjustments on the high raised ramps to cater for people with disabilities as shown in the photo.
Mr Okumu Fabian attributes the changes to the contract monitoring training that was offered by AFIC. Community members are now aware of what they are supposed to monitor. Okumu notes that “the community understood that if they accepted any shoddy works, it would be them to suffer.” He added that community monitoring should become a permanent initiative where the community should continue to monitor other government projects. The training and sensitization created project ownership to community members.
Mr Okumu Fabian and the entire community monitors are grateful to AFIC for enlightening them about their right of access to information through the trainings they had and requested AFIC to train more community monitors to cover all the sectors most especially Agriculture where the community is facing a lot of challenges with the way how agricultural inputs are given to the farmers.