BY ISAIAH KITIMBO –

State Minister for Northern Uganda Grace Kwiyucwiny has asked implementing partners of the Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU) to ensure timely implementation of the various programme activities for quality results.

Ms Kwiyucwiny who was on September 24 addressing the 14 implementing partners of DINU, a government programme supported by the European Union and supervised by Office of the Prime Minister, said the programme objectives will be met if implementing partners (IPs) observe set deadlines for the various activities.

“I have heard some of you saying the implementation period of your actions is two years and others three years. This means that you are working against time; your contract is not permanent and pensionable,” she told implementing partners at a meeting in Gulu City on September 24.

The Minister, under her oversight role of the Northern Uganda docket, invited all the DINU programme IPs to share progress made in implementing various interventions, how they have been affected by Covid-19 pandemic and mitigation measures.

She urged IPs to carry on with various implementation activities in strict adherence to standard operating procedures, Ministry of Health guidelines and guidance by President Museveni.

“I would like to thank you for the progress you have made so far amid the Covid-19 pandemic. You can now move on with implementation since restrictions, especially for meetings have been lifted to at least 70 people,” she said.

To ensure the projects create lasting impact, she advised IPs to always involve beneficiary community leaders, including politicians saying they will always remain and be useful in sharing information in the community even after losing in elections.

Together with Acholi leaders, Ms Kwiyucwiny later visited the Gulu Logistics Hub (GLH), which is being constructed by Ambitious Construction Company under DFID/TMEA, a DINU partner.

GLH that will serve the trade corridors of Kampala-Gulu-Elegu/Nimule-Juba and Gulu-Packwach Goli/Padea/Lia/Vura DR Congo, is expected to improve the capacity of transport infrastructure in Northern Uganda to serve markets in the region, including South Sudan and parts of DRC.

The Shs34 billion project will provide efficient management of freight transport and improve capacity to handle containers and other cargo in Gulu.

Mr Stephen Wokorach, the resident engineer, explained that the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown slowed site construction works that started in March and are currently at 15 per cent.

The site was handed over to Ambitious to kick-start construction works on February 21. Construction would last 18 months.

She asked for speedy completion of GLH, including other project supporting components such as rehabilitation of the railway line and an access road to ensure the project serves its intended purpose lest it becomes a white elephant.

Mr Pius Okello Ongom, the DINU national programme coordinator, said he will engage other partners such as the Uganda Railway Corporation, Uganda National Roads Authority and Ministry of Works and Transport to ensure rehabilitation of the railway section from Tororo and construction of an access road to GLH site.

Prof. Dr John Otim, the elders chief of party and senior presidential advisor on agriculture and veterinary services, asked DINU to engage farmers that are organised to produce for export.

“We don’t want to be spectators but part of this project and we feel that engaging communities is one way of doing this,” he said.

He added: “As Acholi elders, we want to see that this infrastructure contributes to the transformation of the area.”

Dr Agnes Atim Apea, the chairperson local government finance commission, asked DINU IPs to engage farmer cooperatives and ensure NGOs involved empower communities for self-reliance.

DINU background

The Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU), a Government of Uganda programme supported by the European Union and supervised by Office of the Prime Minister, was initiated in 2017. DINU is funded with a 132.8 million Euros grant from the European Union, 11.9 million Euros from the Government of Uganda and 5.9 million Euros from implementing partners.

OPM is responsible for the overall supervision of the DINU programme in partnership with local governments and a wide range of stakeholders, including other implementing partners – Department for International Development (DFID)/Trademark East Africa, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA).

Other key implementing partners are nine grantees that are implementing various development projects under DINU in the five sub-regions of Acholi, Karamoja, Lango, Teso and West Nile.

These include CARITAS Switzerland, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (ITTA), National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO), Lutheran World Federation (LWF), CARE-Denmark, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD), ADOL Health Care Initiative and DIAKONIA-Sweden.