AFIC Executive Director Gilbert Sendugwa launching the strategic plan at his office in Kampala PHOTO/PATRICK JARAMOGI
By PATRICK JARAMOGI
KAMPALA- SHIFT MEDIA-For the next five years access to Information and ensuring transparency and Accountability will be the core of Africa Freedom of Information Center (AFIC) focus.
The USD$12m five year(2021-2025) strategic replan was officially launched today.
Gilbert Senduguwa, the AFIC Executive Director launched the Strategic plan at their Secretariat in Kampala.
Themed: “Access to Information: The Bridge to Sustainable Development”.
The US$ 12,313,811 Strategic Plan, seeks to among others advocate for ratification and domestication of the six African Union treaties that recognise the right to information; campaign for adoption of ATI laws in at least 25 African countries.
According to Senduguwa, the plan will also involve the promotion of transparency and accountability in key sectors and thematic areas; as well as strengthening of AFIC members especially in respect to use of regional and international mechanisms to advance the right to information; and to boost the capacity of AFIC Secretariat.
‘Based on our learning that vulnerable and disadvantaged groups are particularly challenged in accessing information essential for their participation and personal development, the strategic plan gives their access special attention in order to ensure that no one is left behind,” said Senduguwa who addressed the AFIC Governing Council on Zoom
Key priorities and thematic focus
Gilbert said focus demands sacrifice, and as such the new strategic plan will focus on four key priorities and thematic areas: right to information, transparency and accountability, membership strengthening and institutional strengthening.
“Thematic areas are: agriculture, education, health, elections, extractives and natural resources and public infrastructure, he said.
Charity Komujjurizi the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer at AFIC said without the public accessiing Information, the journey to sustainable development will be very long and difficult.
She said that the COVID19 pandemic has revealed that access to Information is not only about life and death, but also critical for the transportation of and accountable use of scarce resources donated to fight the pandemic
Right to information
Komujjurizi (below) noted that the lack of appropriate legal framework and their implementation undermine the enjoyment of citizens’ right to information. “We shall work with Government, CSOs and the private sector in the next five years to ensure that the Act to Information law is fully implemented,”she said.
She said that they will implore the CSOs to demand for and use of public information.
Transparency and Accountability
“In this programme area we aim to promote adoption and implementation of open contracting standards and norms by governments and public institutions; ensure the protection of whistle-blowers; strengthen capacity of CSOs and other stakeholders to use published data to promote efficiency, value for money, transparency, fair business practices and better delivery of public services,” she said.
AFIC will train and equip its members to actively promote and defend the right to information, effectively use respective regional and international mechanisms for the promotion of RTI, transparency and accountability, strengthen coordination of members for collective action.