Moving from DATA to ACTION: SEMA hosts first “Dialogue Dinner”

On the 19th June 2019 SEMA hosted its annual high level stakeholder meeting in the form of a Dialogue Dinner. Set in an intimate setting to encourage more open dialogue, the event was well attended with over 25 individuals from both the public and private sectors. Among the attendees were deputy AIGP Ochom Edward, the Director of ICT for KCCA, and officials from the JLOS Secretariat, The Judiciary, IDLO, DGF, Transparency International and many other civil society organisations.

The event kicked off with SEMA CEO, Nathalie Dijkman highlighting a year of citizen feedback data. Among others, she stated that SEMA has collected data from over 32.000 citizens visiting nine public offices around Kampala. She highlighted the impact this feedback has had on public service from these public offices e.g. the waiting times at all the police stations had greatly reduced to an average of under 24 minutes, client satisfaction levels had also increased by the end of 2018 compared to the start of the year when SEMA had just started. She finished her submission by recognizing the best-performing police station of 2018, Kira Road Police Station that in reward received a repainting from SEMA and a memorial mural painting from POLLICY under their campaign of create your Kampala.

Following this presentation, a discussion panel took place and was moderated by SEMA’s Operations Manager Joanitah Success, and the panelists included Shayna Robinson (Pollicy), Edgar Kuhimbisa (JLOS), and Martin Ssekajja (KCCA). The panel discussed various aspects of data openness and accessibility, data quality, conversion of data into positive change and how to make good use of data for public service improvements. When asked about social media as a form of citizen feedback, Edgar said: “government institutions need to move to where the citizens are and that place is social media, which is very cheap and reaches lots of people”. Martin from KCCA further added that as an institution they are very interested in feedback and that they engage their clients via all social media platforms, so that their voices are heard and considered during discussion making and planning.

During the dialogue, participants had the opportunity to contribute to the discussion and as well ask questions. one of the participants representing civil society said “citizen feedback is needed in all government offices as clients visiting these offices complain of poor service delivery

The keynote speaker AIGP Ochom Edward, the head of research in the Uganda Police Force closed the event, speaking about the impact SEMA had had at the police stations where it has been collecting data. To SEMA’s pride, he said: “We tried to gather this information ourselves, but we failed. Citizens were not giving us feedback. Only after SEMA came in we realized that this helps us, at top management, to evaluate the performance of our stations. Officers have now become more careful in their work, and this benefits all citizens.”.

We’re grateful to our partners, Innovation4Change in supporting us to hosting this dinner. We will be organizing future stakeholder meetings to share SEMA’s data and encourage new dialogues between civil society and government on public service delivery in Uganda.

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