IDG Project Description
Uganda Strengthening Decentralization for Sustainability
Strengthening Decentralization for Sustainability (SDS) is a five year USAID funded program in support of the Government of Uganda (GOU) to improve local governance and the delivery of social services. The cooperative agreement is implemented by Cardno Emerging Markets, in collaboration with the Urban Institute, Development InfoStructure Inc. (Devis) and three Ugandan organizations - Uganda Local Government Association (ULGA), Tangaza Cinemas and Infectious Disease Institute (IDI). The purpose of the SDS program is to improve the results and sustainability of decentralized service delivery at the local government level in Uganda, with an initial emphasis on health and HIV/AIDS services. The program has four objectives:
1. Improving coordination among all USAID supported partners at the district level,
2. Strengthening the capacity of districts and sub-counties to plan, budget, implement, coordinate, monitor and evaluate decentralized services by efficiently utilizing the GOU's administrative and fiscal decentralization framework,
3. Provision of grants to districts to complement resources needed for effective and efficient management of programs and services, and
4. Facilitating strategic innovations to improve district leadership and sustainable financing of health, HIV/AIDS and other social sector services.
The SDS project will work with district, sub-county, and village officials in 45 districts, which translates into work with roughly 200 to 300 local government units. UI has two local staff filling the positions of Capacity Building Team Leader and Decentralization Specialist.
Start-Up.During the start-up phase of the project, UI worked with the SDS team to prepare a baseline assessment that provided both a snapshot of the capacity of district governments to provide effective health services, but also informed the capacity development team as to the depth of the challenge of sharpening the capacity of the district administration, using the constructs of a high performing organization as the referent point.
In assessing the districts' capacity, the team will assess the depth to which district administrations have pushed down decision making authority transferred to them by the central government to the sub-county and village levels of local government; the validity of the Ministry of Finance's Performance Assessment instrument as it relates to a high performing organization that can achieve something more than complying with central government requirements and, finally, the capacity of the district organization to be responsive to their constituents and community organizations; lower level local governments and service providers.
Implementation Phase.Working with the Capacity Development staff, regional directors and the M&E staff, UI is developing an approach that will assist districts administrations to steer their organizations in the direction of results oriented - high performing entities. The baseline assessments had, among many questions, a set of questions that allow the UI SDS team to determine how the districts work together both horizontally between the health, education and community development sectors, as well as vertically, from the district technical division down to the corresponding technical division at the sub county and village level.
Recent Update.The SDS project is moving into an interesting and challenging phase. As of December 2010, twelve of the 45 districts have completed a baseline assessment and work plan. In line with the USAID object of sustaining decentralization the process of conducting baseline assesment and developing the work plans was conducted by the districts themselves, with support provided by SDS staff. This approach not only allowed the Districts to complete an assessment of the capacity of lower levels of local government and community organizations to participate in the governance and delivery of services, it also allowed the SDS team to assess the capacity of the District governments to develop data driven, results oriented work plan.