Just a few days ago, we saw Museveni delivering a shs 100 million cheque to a certain SACCO at Kubiri(Wandegeya) which belongs to a group of furniture makers. This is not the first time we have seen the president splashing money into SACCOs as it has become his habit to fight poverty through splashing money in all forms.
Leaving SACCOs alone, we have seen most poverty eradication programs in Uganda such as Operation Wealth Creation, Youth Livelihood Fund, Innovation Fund, Women Entreprenuership Fund, UPE, USE just to mention a few, all stagnating to deliver the intended goals. Therefore i would like to show you why these approaches have failed to work.
I will start by introducing few concepts i.e inputs, outputs and outcomes. Inputs refer to what is needed to perform certain activities in order to deliver an output e.g finance. Outputs refer to the immediate deliverable acquired after utilising the inputs e.g a building. Outcomes refer to the change created within a society after utilising the output e.g increased employment/skills.
Having said that, you will realise that most of these programs do not mind about the outcomes but only care about the inputs. For example on the issue of SACCOs, the president would be okay if he gave an input of shs 100m rather than understand how that money has increased household income among individuals.
Museveni donating shs 100m to a SACCO at Kubiri (24th-july-2017)
The same applies to other programs mentioned above for example, we have often times seen the president boasting how much money he has invested in OWC, YLF, WEF, UPE etc but does not explain how such programs have quantitatively reduced poverty within a society. This is because the president and his system only cares about inputs and to a smaller extent outputs but not outcomes.
This explains why the government will construct a factory, hospital or school (outputs) but then fails to facilitate it to function in order to deliver the outcomes e.g increased enrollment or reduced death rates.
It also explains why the government will give a cow to a poor household yet it becomes less concerned about the outcome i.e increased household income. This is why most households have even sold the cows (inputs).
It also explains why the government has built good market structures e.g the Wandenya market which is still empty thus not contributing to changing people’s lives because the govt is satisfied with the building (output) than increased income (outcome)
Therefore i find it so disturbing that the president is splashing money on projects or programs that do not yeild any intended outcome in society.
In otherwords most of the projects are determined politically with the aim to increase their political strength rather than serve the real needs of the people. The problem with political decisions is that they do not rely on baseline information in order to take a decision. There should be a clear theory of change for any government project with strong monitoring and evaluation systems to track the progress, relevancy, effectiveness and efficieny of the projects/programme. For example how will the president track the outcomes of the money given to SACCOs? What if it was divided among themselves as soon as he left!
Economic and viable projects first carry out research, needs assessment, understand the magnitude of the problem, who is affected and engages the beneficiaries in project identification, implementation, monitoring and evaluation through participatory means (bottom-up decision making)
In conclusion there, you cannot have a political input and expect an economic outcome. Policies and programs should be based on the economics rather than the politics if we are to achieve intended goals.
Monitoring & Evaluation Consultant.
For God and my Country!