I have interacted with the Parish Development Model twice this month.
One was during a Civil Society Organisations interaction with Hoima district Local Government and the other was when I was tasked by Uganda Human Rights Commission to engage youths on mindset change in Kikuube district.
In both, I was spot on the mindset change as a key notion and principle of the Parish Development Model.
The Parish Development Model envisages capital transitions through human, financial, natural, physical, and social capital transformation.
To my dismay, while I facilitated a multi-stakeholder engagement for one of the International Oil Companies (Atlas Oranto Petroleum) in Hoima city, some Local Government leaders moreover members of the district Executive Committee called upon the Central Government to invest in Local Government as regards the oil and gas sector.
Because I held utmost powers during this meeting, that I also moderated, I asked one of the members of the District Executive Committee who agitated for this, “what if the Local Governments mainstreamed oil and gas in the district’s investments in all anti-poverty programs such as the Parish Development Model.
This attracted immediate reactionary feedback from the rest of the leaders with many noting that this investment is too small to shape the would be benefits from oil and gas sector.
This has compelled me to reflect on the mindset change protocols as enshrined in the Parish Development Model.
Based on the feedback, I still think that the mindset battle is ill directed and therefore propose that it should first be redirected to address the mindset of the leaders and the technical personnel in the various Local Governments.
If a development program is not deeply rooted in the minds of the implementors and the leaders, its chances of success is so slim.
Leaders especially of the political class must be deeply convinced and passionately convicted that the program can succeed.
In our case, leaders can’t relate productivity investments under the Parish Development Model with oil.
The induced opportunities as a result of petroleum will then be missed if leaders expect direct financing vote from central government coded “oil and gas”.
The local content component of the extractives derives its importance in local participation and harnessing every business opportunity.
The Parish Development Model must therefore invest utmost efforts to popularize how the model and investments therein link with any other sphere of life.
Leaders must understand that the Parish Development Model is model not a stand-alone program.
Understanding that the Parish Development Model is an engine of championing production and investment is key.
However, deeply appreciating that the Parish Development Model is a gamechanger everywhere including the preparation of the local communities to harness opportunities from the oil and gas sector is key.
A leader should not therefore contest the contribution of the Parish Development Model in positioning the population especially of the Albertine region of Uganda. The Parish Development Model in totality is a cross cutting investment.
It is an inclusion mission focusing on production, investment, financing, marketing, information access and participation through focused mindset change.
Instead, the leaders can integrate preparation of the population for oil and gas opportunities in the Parish Development Model implementation.
It is my appeal that the mindset change should target the leadership before it being channeled to the wider population that the model targets.
If the attitude and mindset change succeed on the leadership, it will be much easier for the political and technical leadership to propel social transformation using the Parish Development Model.
This leadership will try to link the program-based approach to development to every intervention and therefore initiatives such as the Parish Development Model and other social economic emancipation initiatives will have developed critical passionate ambassadors.
Every time I hear about the PDM, especially in Bunyoro sub-region, my mind sets to a population that is harnessing all opportunities in oil and gas sector.
In real sense, all the pillars like production, infrastructure development, financial inclusion, social inclusion, mindset change, parish-based information management system and governance are indeed the pillars necessary for preparing the population to tap into the oil and gas opportunities not a standalone funding.
Change the mindset of the leaders for they will change the mindset of the people they lead. My call for leaders’ mindset is not directed to the Local Government leadership alone. Every leader from the community leaders to the clergy and the private sector.
I thank you
Bbiira Kiwanuka Nassa is the Executive Director for Recreation for Development and Peace Uganda (RDP Uganda) a youth empowerment Non-Governmental Organisation-NGO in Uganda.