The Government of Uganda will tomorrow (26th October) launch an Atlas that will be used to complement existing efforts to monitor the effective delivery and impact of basic services affecting children and other vulnerable groups. This effort enables government and its partners to track decentralised allocations from the centre across three priority sectors; education, health and water.
Dubbed, Uganda’s first Social Service Delivery Equity Atlas, the tool is part of the “Rethinking Public Finance for children: Monitoring for Results, a joint initiative by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, the Economic Policy Research Centre (ERPC), and UNICEF.
This new approach aims to analyse budget trends at regional level whilst determining the impact of public investments on social outcomes like school completion rates, antenatal care visits or improved water source functionality.
“This initiative represents a fundamental milestone in our efforts to strengthen Government’s current monitoring systems – moving beyond an accountability trail for budgetary resources to a system of tracking service delivery performance and impact,” says Keith Muhakanizi, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Finance.
With approximately 58% of its population below 18 years of age, children’s cognitive development represents Uganda’s greatest natural resource. Government’s ability to achieve Vision 2040 remains highly contingent upon the effective delivery of equitable investments in the education, health and social wellbeing of young people.
During the one-day conference marking the launch of the Atlas, experts will discuss the Public Finance for Children (PF4C) policy briefs focusing on education, health, water, sanitation and hygiene.
UNICEF Representative in Uganda Aida Girma says, “Much of the information that has been generated through the Atlas and its complementary policy briefs shows that poor outcomes are not necessarily the result of insufficient inputs, but sometimes the lack of complementary investments in areas such as social protection.”
According to Dr. Ibrahim Kasirye of EPRC, the Atlas disaggregates service delivery and identifies gaps in the critical sectors by region which together with the policy briefs provide direction on where and what effort is required. By doing so, government can move away from the traditional “one size fits all” approach to tailored solutions which may not necessarily be through increased financing. It is an opportunity for Uganda to improve effectiveness and efficiency in service delivery especially in the face of resource constraints.
Margaret Kakande, Head of the BMAU says the initiative builds on their existing monitoring framework adding that Government is taking progressive steps to base performance monitoring at the higher strategic outcome level. “In order to meet the new community demands, monitoring efforts need to be slightly re-oriented from purely focusing on the effective delivery of key outputs for further appreciating the impact of key public investments,” Kakande explains.