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Draft National Non-Governmental Organizations Policy

Republic of Uganda

National NGO Policy

June 2008

National NGO Policy-Uganda

Strengthening Partnerships for Development 1 FOREWORD

The Government of Uganda recognizes the important role of Non-State actors in
accelerating the country’s development process. Government’s Economic Recovery
Program (ERP) and the subsequent Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP) are
predicated on promotion of private sector-led growth. At the same time, Uganda’s
Constitution 1995 guarantees the right of every Ugandan to engage in peaceful activities
to influence the policies of Government through civic organizations. Government fully
acknowledges and recognizes the key role Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)
play in service delivery especially to marginalized groups, and improving accountability
of public institutions. Furthermore, the Local Governments Act 1997 specifically
provides Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) with an important role in service delivery
at community level.

The contribution of NGOs in the areas of service delivery, advocacy, democracy and good
governance as well as community empowerment is beyond debate. However, the process
of NGO sector development, methods of work and the impact of NGO program activities,
among other issues, have continued to generate varied and sometimes contradictory
views and experiences..

In order to promote and foster a more healthy relationship, Government embarked on a
consultative process towards the development of a national NGO Policy. The process of
developing the Policy was coordinated by the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) within
the framework of Article 108 A of the Constitution that mandates the Prime Minister to,
inter alia, be responsible for coordination of implementation of Government Policies
across Ministries, Departments and other public institutions. To this end, OPM worked
very closely with the relevant Ministries especially the Ministry of Internal Affairs
(MIA) and its arm, the Non-Governmental Organizations Registration Board (The NGO
Board), that has the operational mandate for monitoring NGO activities in Uganda.

The process involved a series of consultations and discussions with a wide range of
stakeholders at regional and national level. Various interest groups including NGOs and
NGO umbrella bodies, public servants at national, district and lower levels,
parliamentarians, the Private Sector and Donor representatives were all consulted. This
Policy is, therefore, a landmark development that is the culmination of a long
consultative process involving several stakeholders.

The Policy recognizes the imperative of strengthening the partnership between
Government and the NGO sector based on clear principles and practices. It seeks to
articulate and address the key issues of mutual concern and sets out clear policy
objectives and strategies as well as entry points for the critical players in development of
a productive partnership with the NGO sector.

National NGO Policy-Uganda

Strengthening Partnerships for Development 2 The success of the Policy will require the active commitment and involvement of all the
actors identified herein including State and Non-State actors. To this end, it is vital that
all actors familiarize themselves with the Policy to internalize the goal, objectives and
strategies of the Policy and thus contribute effectively to its success for the benefit of our
people. On its part, Government will endeavor to provide its relevant organs and
agencies with the human and financial resources required to carry out their respective
functions effectively and efficiently.

I wish to take this opportunity to recognize and commend all those that have contributed
in different ways to the successful formulation of this Policy. Special mention must be
made of the European Union (EU) that continues to support development of the NGO
sector through the on-going GOU-EU Civil Society Capacity Building Program.

I wish to conclude by reiterating Government’s commitment to ensuring that NGOs
have the necessary political and legal space within which to undertake legitimate
activities that advance the process and impact of national development.

Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda
MINISTER OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS

National NGO Policy-Uganda

Strengthening Partnerships for Development 3

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page

ACRONYMS & ABBREVIATIONS 4

1.0 PREAMBLE 5

2.0 SITUATIONAL ANALYSIS OF THE UGANDA NGO SECTOR 7
2.1 Introduction 7
2.2 NGOs in Uganda 7
2.3 Definition of NGOs 8
2.4 Characteristics of NGOs in Uganda 9
2.5 Contribution of NGOs to Development 9
2.6 NGOs-Government Relations 10
2.7 Legal Framework 10
2.8 Key Issues of Concern 11

3.0 VISION AND GUIDING PRINCIPLES 12
3.1 Vision 12
3.2 Guiding Principles 12

4.0 GOAL AND OBJECTIVES OF THE POLICY 13
4.1 Goal 13
4.2 Objectives 13

5.0 IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGY 14
5.1 Institutional Arrangements 14
5.2 National Level Coordination Mechanism 15
5.3 District Level Coordination Mechanism 18
5.4 Transparency Accountability and Self Regulation 19
5.5 Monitoring and Impact Assessment 20
5.6 Sustainability of the NGO Sector 20

ANNEXES
Annex I: Roles and responsibilities of NGO sector actors at national level
Annex II: Role and responsibilities of NGO sector actors at
District and lower level

National NGO Policy-Uganda

Strengthening Partnerships for Development 4
ACRONYMS AND ABBREVIATIONS

APRM African Peer Review Mechanism
CAO Chief Administrative Officer
CBOs Community Based Organizations
CDO Community Development officer
CSOs Civil Society Organizations
DNMC District NGO Monitoring Committee
DTPC District Technical Planning Committee
EAC East African Cooperation
ICCPR International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
ICESCR International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
INGOs International Non-Governmental Organizations
NEPAD New Partnerships for Africa’s Development
NGOs Non-Governmental Organizations
NSAs Non-State Actors
OPM Office of the Prime Minister
PEAP Poverty Eradication Action Plan
QA Quality Assurance
QuAM Quality Assurance Mechanism
RDC Resident District Commissioner
RENGO Regional Non-Governmental Organization
SNMC Sub County NGO Monitoring Committee
SWAp Sector-wide Approach
ULGA Uganda Local Governments Association

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Strengthening Partnerships for Development 5

1.0 PREAMBLE

Article 38 of the Constitution of Uganda 1995 embeds the right of every Ugandan
to engage in peaceful activities to influence the policies of Government through
civic organizations. Additionally, the Local Governments Act 1997 specifically
provides Civil Society Organizations (CSOs)-including Non-Governmental
Organizations (NGOs)-with an important role in service delivery at community
level. Furthermore, Government, through its overarching policy framework, the
Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP), recognizes Civil Society as an important
actor and influencer in the promotion of grass root democracy. Specifically,
Government fully acknowledges and recognizes the key role NGOs play in
improving accountability of public institutions including Ministries,
Departments and Agencies, and promoting demand for public services by
society generally and marginalized groups in particular.

Under the Non-Governmental Organizations Registration (Amendment) Act
2006, all NGOs must obtain official registration by the National Board for Non-
Governmental Organizations (commonly known as the NGO Registration
Board), in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, before they can operate in Uganda.
Community Based Organizations (CBOs) are required to register with and obtain
certification from the District Local Authorities unless they have one or more non
Ugandan promoters.

The NGO Board is also responsible for monitoring the activities of NGOs across
the country. Whilst the NGO Board and the Ministry of Internal Affairs have
done a commendable job, especially with respect to registration, their capacity to
adequately document, coordinate, monitor and facilitate the diverse activities of
a rapidly growing multi-sectoral NGO operational arena has hitherto been
severely limited. There is also need to harmonise more effectively all government
policies and regulations in order to provide an enabling environment for the
operations of NGO players in a liberalised economy and democratic society.

On their part, NGOs have expressed a level of discontent with what they
perceive as overbearing Government regulatory oversight which constrains their
freedom of action. NGOs that are engaged in advocacy are particularly sensitive
to the quality of the political space provided to enable them carry out their
activities. Nevertheless, there is increasing mutual recognition of the need to
ensure better coordination of the sector activities with a view to rationalizing and
strengthening the functionality of the roles and responsibilities of these Non-
State partners in national development.

National NGO Policy-Uganda

Strengthening Partnerships for Development 6 Whilst the NGO Act addresses the basic legal and regulatory issues, Uganda has
lacked a comprehensive policy to guide development of the NGO sector and,
hence, facilitate strengthening of NGO relations with Government. In order to
promote and foster a more healthy relationship, Government has now
formulated a Policy that elaborates a clear vision, objectives and key guiding
principles upon which these relations are to be developed and managed. The
entry points, in terms of roles, responsibilities, rights and obligations of the
various actors are outlined and the mechanisms for periodic review and change
management are similarly articulated.

The NGO Policy addresses the key issues and challenges that lie at the centre of
developing a responsible relationship between State and Non-State actors in
national development. These issues include but are not limited to: definition of
NGOs; clarification of mutual roles, responsibilities and expectations of the
various actors; capacity for effective coordination and oversight; lack of an
adequate and reliable database and up to date information on the NGO sector;
lack of transparency and questionable integrity of some NGOs; and the need to
ensure appropriate space and freedoms for the operations of NGOs in the
country.

The broad aim of the NGO Policy is to set out a framework that strengthens the
relationship between the NGO sector and Government and enhance capacities
and effectiveness in the areas of service delivery, advocacy and empowerment.

Ultimately, a stronger NGO sector should contribute to the institutionalization of
a culture of civic inclusiveness and participation as well as mutual accountability
by all stakeholders in the important processes that affect the lives of citizens at
different levels.

National NGO Policy-Uganda

Strengthening Partnerships for Development 7 2.0 SITUATIONAL ANALYSIS OF THE NGO SECTOR IN UGANDA 2.1 Introduction
NGOs are increasingly recognized by governments everywhere as important
players in a country’s social, economic, political and intellectual development.
NGO activities help to mobilise, sensitize, consult and aggregate citizen interest
and action. NGOs can fulfill these roles at three different levels namely: at
agenda setting; at policy development; and at policy implementation,
monitoring, evaluation and ensuring transparency and accountability in public
office. NGOs, as Non-State actors are, therefore, potent and legitimate partners to
governments in nation building. 2.2 NGOs in Uganda
NGOs have operated in Uganda for many decades especially in the health and
education sectors. Beyond the above sectors, their activities were focused largely
on relief and charity activities. From fairly modest numbers prior to 1986, the
sector has seen phenomenal growth since then and currently more than 7,000
NGOs are registered in the country. The growth in numbers has been
accompanied by growth in influence at different levels of society.

Some NGOs are nationally-based i.e. operate across the country while others
only operate in one or a few districts. Some NGOs are involved in multi-sectoral
activities while others are mono-sectoral/thematic in their program focus. NGOs
are active in the health service activities (HIV/AIDS); education, economic
empowerment of communities; agriculture; the environment; water and
sanitation; training and capacity building; peace building and conflict resolution.

The range of NGO activities in Uganda has, however, greatly expanded in recent
years to include work in the areas of macro policy advice; advocacy on a wide
range of issues including human and civic rights, integrity and accountability in
public office; good governance and democracy; lobbying and research.

Uganda hosts national, regional and international NGOs. Regional NGOs
(RENGOs) are emerging in response to the spirit enshrined in the Treaty for East
African Cooperation (EAC). Most of the international NGOs (INGOs) are
involved in either development activities or relief and emergency work, and
many of them work in close collaboration with local NGOs and with some line
ministries.

Faith-Based Organizations (FBOs) which until now have been obliged to register
as NGOs, shall not fall under the ambit of NGO Policy. However, where an FBO

National NGO Policy-Uganda

Strengthening Partnerships for Development 8 is engaged in NGO – type activities as defined herein, the FBO shall be required
to comply with the provisions governing the activities of NGOs in Uganda. Until
Government takes measures to provide an appropriate separate framework for
promoting coordination of the spiritual activities of Faith Based Organizations in
the country, the existing arrangements shall obtain.

Likewise, trade unions, microfinance institutions and other social or professional
membership associations shall not be covered by the provisions of this Policy.

National NGO Policy-Uganda

Strengthening Partnerships for Development 9 2.3 Definitions

For the purpose of this Policy, the following definitions shall be used in Uganda:

o Non-Governmental Organization: Any legally constituted private,
voluntary grouping of individuals or associations involved in community
work which augment government work but clearly not for profit or
commercial purposes.

o National Non-Governmental Organization: An NGO that is wholly
controlled by Ugandans, registered exclusively within Uganda and with
authority to operate within or across two or more districts in Uganda.

o Regional Non-Governmental Organization (RENGO): An NGO
having its original incorporation within one of the states of the East
African Community (EAC) and partially or wholly controlled by citizens
of one or more partner states in East Africa but operating in Uganda
under a certificate of registration

o International Non-Governmental Organization (INGO): An NGO
having its original incorporation in and partially or wholly controlled by
citizens of one or more countries other than the Partner States forming the
East African Community, but operating in Uganda under a certificate of
registration.

o Community Based Organization (CBO): An organization wholly
controlled by Ugandans, operating at sub county level and below, that is
involved in NGO type activities (as per attached schedule) augment
Government work but work clearly not for profit or commercial purposes.

National NGO Policy-Uganda

Strengthening Partnerships for Development 10 2.4 Characteristics of NGOs in Uganda

NGOs have their roots in voluntarism and philanthropy i. e. they are founded by
individuals or groups of people desirous of serving the needs of people
especially the poor and marginalized groups in society. A central strength and
distinguishing feature of NGOs is additionality, or their ability to mobilize and
bring in additional financial, technical and sometimes political resources to
complement the efforts of the State. Globally, NGOs bring in as much money as
what the large multi-lateral development agencies can mobilize annually.

The majority of NGOs in Uganda are small, fragmented and Community Based
Operators. The sector also tends to be characterized by independent, vibrant and
flexible easy entry- easy exit often with limited and selected ownership, funding,
scope of operations and target beneficiaries. So while the small CBOs have the
potential to grow into large and international organizations, the NGOs often
have to rely on the smaller more flexible NGOs and CBOs in order to have any
impact.

The NGO sector in Uganda is highly donor dependent. Most NGOs in Uganda
access funds from external donors either directly or through international NGOs
(INGOs) with operations in the country. High donor dependence highlights the
fragility of the local NGO sector and weak sustainability of its program activities.

One significant dimension in NGO sector development in Uganda is the
increased organizational initiatives that have resulted in the formation of
clusters, networks or umbrella organizations most of which extend their
activities down to the district and sub-county level. Such organs should be
supported to strengthen their work as they provide, inter alia, an important
opportunity for addressing self regulation and other sector development issues
in a harmonized and constructive manner.

2.5 Contribution of NGOs to Development

NGOs have been major contributors to Uganda’s social, economic and political
development. Their contribution is evident in the Social Development Sector
(SDS) including education, health, water and sanitation, environmental
management, infrastructure development and a host of other important areas
that impact the quality of life of Ugandans. Humanitarian and relief-oriented
NGOs continue to make vital contribution to emergency management efforts in
different parts of the country, supplementing the work of Government.

National NGO Policy-Uganda

Strengthening Partnerships for Development 11 On the other hand, NGOs engaged in policy advocacy work have variously
made contributions to the country’s evolving democratic processes, human and
gender rights, conflict resolution and peace building, good governance and
accountability in public office, among other challenges, by keeping the spotlight
on policy and behavioral issues that shape the character and direction of national
development, including championing participatory development.

2.6 NGOs-Government Relations

Government has been engaged with NGOs and the broader Civil Society for
some time and at different levels. At the national/sectoral level, a number of
development-oriented NGOs have signed Memoranda of Understanding with
line ministries and districts to provide for formal modalities of operationalizing
partnerships in development and service delivery. The consultative model
involving NGO stakeholders has been encouraged and implemented by different
sector ministries, departments and agencies. At district level as well, a number of
Local Governments have signed and implemented MOUs with a fair measure of
success.

Despite these achievements, however, there is still need for improving the
quality of relations in terms of perceptions, attitudes and enhanced cooperation
between State and NGO actors at national, district and lower level. The challenge
of fostering improved mutual perceptions between State and Non-State actors is
particularly critical with respect to those NGOs engaged in advocacy activities.

2.7 Legal Framework

As NGOs have proliferated, and their roles expanded beyond the traditional
service delivery in relief and other humanitarian interventions, Government
responded with measures to regulate their activities.

The Constitution of Uganda 1995 provides the fundamental freedoms to
Ugandan citizens to engage in peaceful activities aimed at influencing the
policies of Government through civic organizations. Freedom of association is
similarly enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) of
1948 to which Uganda is signatory.

Uganda is also a party to various pertinent International Conventions including
the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) 1966, and the
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) 1966.

National NGO Policy-Uganda

Strengthening Partnerships for Development 12 At the regional level, the Treaty for East African Cooperation advocates for the
promotion of a supportive operational environment for NGOs. The Treaty
enjoins Member States to facilitate and ensure public participation and civic
involvement in decision making both at national and regional level. Similarly,
the vision and principles of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM)/New
Partnerships for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) to which Uganda subscribes
underscore the pivotal role of civil society in sustainable national social,
economic and democratic development.

Most significantly, Government enacted the 1989 NGO Statute and more
recently, the Non-Governmental Organizations Registration (Amendment) Act
2006. The evolution of the NGO regulatory landscape, however, has not been
without challenge. Thus, NGOs have continued to call for further review of the
Act to ensure it supports a more conducive regulatory environment for the
operations of NGOs in the country, hence the urgency for this Policy.

The NGO Policy will, therefore, be implemented within the broader context of
other pertinent policies and laws that seek to promote constitutionalism, good
governance, socio-economic empowerment and democratic processes taking
place in the country.

2.8 Key Issues of concern

The key issues and challenges that this Policy seeks to address include the
following:

? Lack of clarity of what constitutes an NGO in Uganda;

? Inadequacies in the existing legal and regulatory framework for the
operations of NGOs;

? Inadequate clarity of the mutual roles and responsibilities, rights and
obligations of key actors in the NGO sector and the need to create
harmony/facilitate the contribution of NGOs to national development;

? Inadequate capacity in Government and amongst NGO actors to propel
sustainable NGO sector development;

? The NGO sector is donor dependent, a factor that has made foreign
influence inevitable in Uganda governance processes

National NGO Policy-Uganda

Strengthening Partnerships for Development 13 ? Some NGOs have been involved in politics by taking sides and generally
other unlawful activities

? Weak sustainability of the NGO sector;

? Inadequate integrity, transparency and accountability by some NGO
actors for the public resources received, and

? Lack of adequate and reliable data and information on the NGO sector;

3. VISION AND GUIDING PRINCIPLES

3.1 Vision

The vision of the NGO Policy is: a vibrant and accountable NGO Sector enabling
citizens’ advancement and self transformation.

3.2 Guiding Principles

The National NGO Policy is an integral part of the national development policy
that aims at achieving maximum synergy from Public-Private Partnerships. It
complements and promotes Uganda’s overall development goals and is
cognizant of other policies and programs designed to promote and support
holistic human development.

The Policy espouses the following values and beliefs:

i) Respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms with regard to
social, cultural and religious beliefs and practices, which rights will be
exercised responsibly;

ii) Freedom of association and independence of individuals and NGOs
within the overall framework of the law;

iii) Voluntarism and respect for diversity within the NGO sector;

iv) The right of NGOs to autonomy, self-governance and self-regulation
consistent with the laws of Uganda;

v) Dignity, mutual respect and trust underpinned by open dialogue,
transparency and accountability; and

National NGO Policy-Uganda

Strengthening Partnerships for Development 14
vi) Gender equity and equality.

The Policy recognizes the immense opportunities for collaboration between
different stakeholders based on common interest and strategic complementarity
while acknowledging the right of stakeholders to adopt differentiated
approaches to the same end.

The Policy further recognizes the dynamic nature of the operating environment
and, thus, the need to provide sufficient flexibility to accommodate emerging
developments and demands.

4.0 GOAL AND OBJECTIVES OF THE POLICY

4.1 Goal

The broad aim of the NGO Policy is to set out a framework that strengthens the
relationship between the NGO sector and Government, and enhance capacities
and effectiveness in the areas of service delivery, advocacy and community
empowerment.

4.2 Objectives

The specific objectives of the Policy are:

i) Define NGOs and their role with a view to promoting increased citizen
participation in policy-making processes and development issues;

ii) Clarify the role of other stakeholders and their relationship with NGO
actors;

iii) Provide for legal, policy and procedural changes that will allow NGOs
to effectively contribute to national and district development planning
in a harmonized manner;

iv) Ensure the autonomy of duly registered NGOs; and

v) Promote a culture of accountability amongst different players in
national development;

vi) Provide for guidelines for partnership between government and NGOs
in implementing specific programmes

National NGO Policy-Uganda

Strengthening Partnerships for Development 15 It is expected that when the Policy is embraced and fully implemented by the
responsible players, the following impact will be registered:

i) A vibrant relationship and productive synergy between a publicly
accountable NGO Sector, Government, the Private Sector and
Development Partners at both the centre and local level;

ii) Improved coordination of the respective contributions of State and
Non-State Players to sustainable development;

iii) Availability of a strong and efficient mechanism for effective
monitoring and assessing of the impact of the NGO sector to
development;

iv) Enhanced integrity, accountability, and transparency amongst sector
players, and

v) An empowered population that ensures it gets what it is entitled to
and that takes the initiative to mobilize additional resources for
development.

5. IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGY

5.1 Institutional Arrangements

The key considerations that have shaped the determination of the institutional
framework for implementation of the NGO Policy include:

i) The need for cost-effective coordination of Government engagement
with the NGO sector;

ii) The need to strengthen mechanisms through which NGOs generate
policy debate and channel the contribution of the NGO sector to
Uganda’s development at central and lower level,

iii) The need to strengthen an internally-driven culture of responsible and
accountable conduct by the NGO actors, and

iv) Viability, functionality and sustainability of the proposed institutional
arrangements.

National NGO Policy-Uganda

Strengthening Partnerships for Development 16 In light of the above considerations, the main objectives of the implementation
arrangements are to:

i) Clarify and rationalize the roles and responsibilities of the Central and
Local Government actors with a view to streamlining and enhancing
the effectiveness and efficiency of the services provided to the NGO
sector;

ii) Clarify and rationalize the role and responsibilities, rights and
obligations of NGO actors;

iii) Clarify the role and responsibilities, rights and obligations of other
actors, and

iv) Promote effective utilization of existing Government and NGO
structures to operationalize the NGO Policy objectives within
Government’s Sector-Wide Approach (SWAP) to development.

5.2 National Level Coordination Mechanism

i) Office of the Prime Minister

The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) is the overall coordinator of the NGO
Policy in line with its Constitutional mandate under Article 108(A) as the
coordinator of implementation of the all Government Policies across Ministries,
Departments and other public institutions and will work closely with the Lead
Ministry responsible for monitoring and overseeing the NGO sector. OPM shall
also be represented on the National Board for Non-Governmental Organizations.

ii) NGO Sector Lead Ministry

The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) shall be the Lead Agency for monitoring
and overseeing the operations of NGOs in Uganda. MIA hosts the NGO Board
and shall be represented on the Board.

iii) The Non-Governmental Organizations Board (The NGO Board)

The NGO Board shall exercise its mandate for registration, regulation,
monitoring and overseeing the activities of NGOs as per the NGO (Amendment)
Act 2006 and Regulations as may be amended from time to time, and as provided
for under this Policy. Stakeholders are expected to fully acquaint themselves
with the provisions of the NGO Act (including any amendments thereto) and
workings of the Board to facilitate effective and efficient relations. The status and

National NGO Policy-Uganda

Strengthening Partnerships for Development 17 institutional capacity of the NGO Board shall be strengthened appropriately to
enable it carry out its expanded functions both at national and district level.

In constituting the Board, effective, fair and equitable consideration of NGO
sector needs, should be seriously considered so as to ensure improved
communication and information flow with a view to promoting smooth relations
between the government and various stakeholders.

The NGO Board structure shall be reflected at the district and sub-county levels.
The structures created shall perform in accordance with guidelines issued by the
national NGO board and the Local Government Act to enable these authorities
carry out their mandated functions with respect to NGOs effectively and in a
harmonized manner.

At the district level the National NGO Board shall be represented by the District
NGO Monitoring Committee (DNMC) which will be composed of;

i) Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) – Chairman
ii) Community Development Officer (CDO) – Secretary
iii) District Internal Security Officers (DISO) – Member
iv) District Director of Health Services (DDHS) – Member
v) District Education Officer – Member
vi) Representative of NGOs in the District
vii)The Committee will have powers to co-opt technical officers to deal with
specific issues.

At the Sub-county level there will be a Sub-county NGO Monitoring Committee
(SNMC) composed of;

i) Assistant Chief Administrative Officer (ACAO) – Chairperson
ii) Assistant Community Development Officer (ACDO) – Secretary
iii) Gombolola (Sub- county) Internal Security Officers (GISO) – Member
iv) Sub-county Health Inspector – Member
v) Representative of NGOs in the Sub – county – Member
vi) The Committee will have powers to co-opt technical officers to deal with
specific issues.

The specific roles and responsibilities of the District NGO Monitoring Committee
(DNMCs) and Sub-county NGO Monitoring Committee (SNMC) are outlined in
Annex II. The NGO Board shall provide appropriate guidelines to the District
NGO Monitoring Committee (DNMCs) and Sub-county NGO Monitoring

National NGO Policy-Uganda

Strengthening Partnerships for Development 18 Committee (SNMC) to enable them facilitate the NGO Board and Ministry of
Internal Affairs in carrying out the functions appropriately.

Line Ministries, Departments, Agencies and Districts

There are several line ministries, departments, agencies and districts with direct
involvement in the NGO Sector. Where a line Ministry, Department or Agency
collaborates with an NGO on specific programs or projects, the NGO shall sign a
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ministries covering the terms
and conditions of the partnership. The Ministry of Internal Affairs through the
NGO Board shall provide line Ministries, relevant Departments and Agencies
with appropriate guidelines to facilitate harmonization of Government
engagement with the NGO actors.

The specific functions of Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies are
elaborated in Annex I.

iv) Other Players

Other key players in promoting effective coordination at national level include:-

i) Non Government Organizations (NGOs)
ii) NGO umbrella organizations (clusters, networks, etc) that are voluntarily
formed by NGOs to promote and protect the interests of their member
organizations and the cause of the NGO sector as whole;
iii) The development partner community (comprising bilateral and multi-
lateral agencies as well as the regional and international NGOs that
provide technical and financial support for NGO sector operations and
development;
iv) the media (print, and electronic);
v) the private sector;
vi) Uganda Local Governments Association (ULGA),
vii) Research and academic institutions, among others.

Their individual and collective compliance with the principles and
partnership modalities contained herein this Policy is crucial to the successful
achievement of the overall goal and objectives of the Policy.

The respective roles of the above national-level actors are outlined in Annex I.

National NGO Policy-Uganda

Strengthening Partnerships for Development 19 5.3 District Level Coordination Mechanism

The Local Governments Act 1997 establishes the Local Government Council as
the highest political authority within its area of jurisdiction (District) with both
legislative and executive powers to be exercised in accordance with the
Constitution of Uganda and the provisions of the Act.
More specifically, under Article 17 (b) of the Act, the District Executive
Committee (DEC) of the Local Government Council is charged with overseeing
the implementation of the Government and Council’s policies and to monitor
and coordinate activities of Non-Governmental Organizations. Additionally,
Article 35 mandates the Local Government Council to be the district planning
authority, a responsibility that is subsequently delegated to the District Technical
Planning Committee (DTPC) chaired by the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO).
The DTPC, on behalf of the District Council, prepares comprehensive and
integrated development plans incorporating plans of lower level local councils
for submission to the National Planning Authority (NPA).

Implementation of the NGO Policy is, therefore, cognizant of the important role
Local Government Councils must play in the successful achievement of the goal
and objectives of the Policy. To this end, the DEC shall ensure that effective
measures are put in place at district and lower council level to enhance the
processes of timely information sharing, quality assurance, monitoring and
assessment of the contribution and impact of NGO sector activities in the district.

The CAO shall provide the NGO community in the district with guidelines to
enable the NGOs to participate effectively and in a coordinated manner in the
district planning and program implementation.

Where an NGO(s) collaborates with Local Government Authority on specific
programs or projects, the Local Government Authority shall sign a
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the NGO(s) covering the terms
and conditions of the partnership.

? NGOs and CBOs

All NGOs and CBOs engaged in development activities within a district shall
share their program activity plans and budgets with the Local Government
Authority for purposes of harmonization of such program activities into the
broader sectoral or area development plans and resource estimates. The Chief
Administrative Officer shall be responsible for providing the guidelines to
facilitate this process.

National NGO Policy-Uganda

Strengthening Partnerships for Development 20 ? Community Leaders and the Communities

Community leaders enjoy the trust and confidence of the people they lead and
are, therefore, key to the successful implementation of the NGO Policy.

Communities represent the final beneficiaries of all the activities undertaken by
NGOs. Accordingly, communities are expected to be well-placed to welcome and
evaluate the activities of these organizations

The specific roles and responsibilities of the various actors at district and lower
level are outlined in Annex II.

5.4 Transparency, Accountability and Self Regulation

The growing number and diversity of NGOs in the country present a great
challenge in terms of ensuring that all NGO actors exercise responsible and
accountable behavior that protects the basic interests of the different NGO sector
stakeholders, especially the vulnerable segments of society.

In seeking to promote and institutionalize best practices in NGO sector
development and operations, Government recognizes and welcomes the efforts
by sections of the NGO community to develop mechanisms for self-regulation.
These efforts aim at promoting the adherence by Civil Society Organizations to
generally accepted ethical standards and operational norms.

Government believes that self-regulation, if effectively applied by all NGOs is the
most cost-effective means of fostering discipline and benchmarking quality
assurance by sector stakeholders. Such success minimizes the need and extra
costs of implementing a government-driven policing regime. To this end,
therefore, Government, through the NGO Board, shall;

i) Approve and encourage self regulatory mechanisms
ii) Ensure that such mechanism(s) are registered by the NGO Board before
they are operationalised

The overall aim in this respect is to ensure the promotion of high and generally
acceptable ethical standards and operational norms that, inter alia, protect the
interests of all stakeholders, especially the communities served by NGOs and
CBOs. It is the desire of this Policy that all NGOs and CBOs in the country
recognize the value of institutionalizing ethical, transparent and responsible
behavior.

National NGO Policy-Uganda

Strengthening Partnerships for Development 21 5.5 Monitoring and Impact Assessment

Being able to effectively monitor and evaluate the operations of NGOs is pivotal
to the ability of stakeholders to determine the contribution of the NGO sector to
national development and its impact on the quality of life of the communities
targeted by the sector. Timely monitoring also enables stakeholders to identify
and address emerging problems and issues before they get out of hand.

The Policy recognizes that the basic principles upon which cost-effective
monitoring, evaluation and impact assessment is undertaken must be embedded
in a shared culture of transparency and concern for quality assurance and value-
addition. This culture must be institutionalized within the methods of work of
the key actors.

Responsibility for monitoring of NGO sector activities shall be shared between
the key State Ministries and Agencies namely OPM, relevant line ministries, the
NGO Board and Local Government Authorities on the one hand, and NGO
actors at national and local level, on the other.

The specific roles and responsibilities of the different State and Non – State actors
in monitoring and impact assessment are outlined in Annex I

5.6 Sustainability of the NGO Sector

Government recognizes existing inadequacies in the institutional capacities of the
NGO sector actors in the country. This challenge is faced by both the NGOs and
Government agencies. NGOs in Uganda are still largely donor dependent
especially in respect to funding. It is imperative that stakeholders identify and
give effect to ways and means that can lead to improved institutional
sustainability of the local NGOs in the long-term.
For its part, Government shall strengthen the performance effectiveness of the
Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies involved in the NGO sector
development to enable these actors to deliver the expected services effectively
and efficiently. Particular attention shall be given to enhancing the delivery
capabilities of the NGO Board to enable it to undertake its enhanced mandate to
the satisfaction of all stakeholders.

In recognition of the complementary and beneficial contribution of NGOs to the
various spheres of national and community development, Government shall
explore innovative measures to support NGOs such as extending tax
exemptions/rebates and other appropriate benefits design to mitigate against
some of the financial constraints faced by registered NGOs. Government shall

National NGO Policy-Uganda

Strengthening Partnerships for Development 22 continue to work with other stakeholders including the development partners to
enhance access to resources by NGO actors. The Policy encourages NGOs to
enhance their self generated income for purposes of sustainability

National NGO Policy-Uganda

Strengthening Partnerships for Development 23 ANNEX I: ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF NGO SECTOR ACTORS AT
NATIONAL LEVEL

The expected broad roles and responsibilities of Ministries, Departments and
Agencies are outlined below:

CATEGORY 1: GOVERNMENT MINISTRIES, DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES

? Office of the Prime Minister

The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) shall carry out its mandated function
with respect to NGO Policy implementation in the following manner:

i) Coordinate the implementation of the Policy across line Ministries,
Government Departments and Agencies as well as the Private sector in
NGO sector activities to ensure harmonious and cost-effective
operations;

? Ministry of Internal Affairs

The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) shall be the NGO Sector Lead Ministry
with responsibility to:

i) Promote the National NGO Policy which shall be integrated within the
framework of the overall national development policy of the country;

ii) Support the NGO Board to build the institutional capacity required to
carry out its mandated functions;

iii) Ensure effective supervision of the NGO Board; and

iv) Prepare and disseminate periodic NGO sector performance reports
including an Annual Report covering the contribution of the sector to
Uganda’s development efforts, issues and challenges faced, and
proposals for promoting the objectives of this Policy.

National NGO Policy-Uganda

Strengthening Partnerships for Development 24 ? The NGO Board

The functions of the NGO Board shall include the following:

i) Conduct background checks and scrutinize the credentials and status
of all NGOs, including RENGOs and INGOs seeking to register and
operate in Uganda. Only legitimate NGOs are to be allowed to operate
in Uganda.

ii) Make recommendations to the relevant authorities in regard to
employment of non-citizens by an NGO, or whether an NGO may be
exempted from taxes and duties or be accorded any other privileges or
immunities;

iii) Consider new applications for registration by Non-Governmental
Organizations including NGO umbrellas/networks/clusters;

iv) Consider applications for renewal of NGO permits;

v) Keep a Register of all registered NGOs;

vi) Monitor compliance by all registered NGOs with the terms and
conditions of their certificate of registration/incorporation , and their
Constitution;

vii) Provide appropriate guidelines for operationalization of the NGO
Policy at line ministry, district and lower levels of administration
consistent with the principles of this and other related policies;

viii) In liaison with designated officers in line ministries and Local
Government Authorities, monitor district relations with NGOs to
ensure compliance with set guidelines;

ix) Coordinate Government engagement with other NGO sector
stakeholders including umbrella organizations to promote responsible
and accountable conduct amongst NGO sector actors in the country;

x) Coordinate Government engagement with other stakeholders,
including development partners, in efforts to enhance capacity
building and sustainability of the NGO sector;

National NGO Policy-Uganda

Strengthening Partnerships for Development 25 xi) Coordinate Government engagement with other stakeholders to
establish a reliable database and information system on the NGO
sector in Uganda;

xii) Work closely with the sector lead Ministry, NGO umbrella
organizations and other stakeholders to prepare and disseminate
widely, periodic official reports on the status, contribution and impact
of the NGO sector to national development;

xiii) Advise the Minister on the general policy relating to the operations of
Organizations.

? Line Ministries, Departments and Agencies

In general, the roles of relevant line Ministries, Departments and Agencies shall
include the following:

i) Strengthening integration of the contribution of the NGO sector in the
programs coordinated by the line Ministry, Department or Agency;

ii) Ensuring that adequate co-operation and coordination is extended to
NGO actors to further the spirit of constructive partnership in service
delivery for the benefit of communities;

iii) Monitoring, evaluating and rendering an account of the contribution of
the NGO sector to the achievement of the objectives of the sector for
which the line Ministry, Department or Agency is responsible; and

iv) Designating an officer to be responsible for liaison with the NGO
Board and other NGOs or coordination mechanisms to facilitate
implementation of the NGO Policy including information sharing on
NGO activities.

CATEGORY 2: OTHER ACTORS

? NGO Umbrella Bodies

The role and responsibilities of registered NGO umbrella organizations/
clusters/networks in the successful implementation of the NGO Policy include
the following;

National NGO Policy-Uganda

Strengthening Partnerships for Development 26 i) Popularizing the NGO Policy amongst member organizations and
promoting compliance therewith;

ii) Providing leadership to their respective memberships in
operationalization of self-regulatory mechanisms designed to
institutionalize professionalism, ethics, integrity, transparency and
accountability in the NGO sector in the country;

iii) Collaboration with the sector Lead Ministry, the NGO Board and other
actors in identifying and addressing emerging policy, regulatory and
other pertinent issues with a view to enhancing the contribution of the
NGO sector to human development;

iv) Coordinating the participation of their members and NGOs in
government policy processes of interest to them and documenting
their experiences so as to assess NGO contributions to development.

? Development Partners

The Development Partner community plays a pivotal role in NGO sector
development and activities in Uganda. Support of the Development Partners
comes in the form of very substantial direct resource flows to NGOs as well as
through ‘co-opting’ NGOs to work on various programs and projects funded by
the Development Partners. In order to improve coordination of development
assistance, partner organizations supporting or otherwise active in the NGO
sector shall bear the following responsibilities;

i) Internalizing and complying with the objectives and principles of the
NGO Policy and relevant legislation;

ii) Supporting such NGO sector partnership coordination mechanisms as
may be duly established from time to time with a view to promoting
the orderly development of the sector;

? Media

The media is expected to play a vital role in the successful implementation of this
Policy through carrying out the following:

i) Disseminating and popularizing the Policy amongst stakeholders;

National NGO Policy-Uganda

Strengthening Partnerships for Development 27 ii) Providing wide publicity to success stories as well as challenges in the
NGO sector in Uganda; and

iii) Contributing to policy debate, review and improvements in NGO
sector development in the country.

? Private Sector

The Private sector, as a primary engine of Uganda’s growth and development, is
an important stakeholder and partner in the development of the NGO sector.
Within the context of corporate social responsibility, the Private Sector is
encouraged to extend innovative support to NGO sector development. This can
take various forms including:

i) Appreciating the complementary role of the NGO sector to the vision
and mission of business enterprise;

ii) Supporting the objectives and principles of the NGO Policy; and

iii) Developing productive linkages with NGOs aimed at improving the
quality of life of communities.

? Research and Academic Institutions

Research and academic institutions can contribute to successful implementation
of the Policy through:

i) Undertaking operational research in NGO sector policy management
and development impact, and widely disseminating the findings
thereof;

ii) Participation in the implementation and evaluation of programs
related to the NGO sector;

iii) Participation in policy debates intended to improve the policy
environment for NGO sector development.

National NGO Policy-Uganda

Strengthening Partnerships for Development 28 ANNEX II: ROLE AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF ACTORS AT DISTRICT
AND LOWER LEVELS
The expected broad roles and responsibilities of Actors at district and lower
levels are outlined below:

CATEGORY 1: DISTRICT LEADERSHIP

? District Council

The District Executive Committee of the Local Government Council shall
perform the following functions:

i) Ensuring that effective measures are put in place to carry out the
Committee’s statutory mandate for monitoring and coordinating the
activities of NGOs and CBOs in the district, in liaison with the NGO
Board;

ii) Supporting the DTPC to coordinate its planning function in an
inclusive manner with the NGO actors in the district;

iii) Mobilization of communities to empower them to partner
productively with NGOs and CBOs for their development

Local Government Authorities are expected to sign a Memorandum of
Understanding (MOU), as may be appropriate, with the NGO partners to guide
management of programs or projects jointly implemented with the NGOs/CBOs.

? District Technical Planning Committee

The DTPC shall perform the following functions:

i) Put in place guidelines and procedures to enable the participation of
the NGO actors in preparation of comprehensive and integrated
district development plans incorporating plans of lower level local
councils and their implementation;

ii) Ensure effective participation of development-oriented NGOs in sub
county planning and program monitoring and review meetings within
the framework of the Sub County Development Plans;

National NGO Policy-Uganda

Strengthening Partnerships for Development 29
iii) Liaising closely with the NGO Board and NGO actors to improve the
flow of information, quality assurance, integrity and accountability of
NGO sector actors in the district.

? The Resident District Commissioner (RDC)

The RDC shall perform the following functions:

i) Facilitate the activities of the NGO Board in the area of registration and
deregistration of NGOs and CBOs according to guidelines provided by
the NGO Board;

ii) Monitor the activities of the NGO sector within the district and ensure
compliance with the approved NGO policy, regulations and
procedures, the constitutions of the NGOs/CBOs as well as the
framework of the district and country’s overall development policies
and bye-laws;

iii) Liaising with the District Council to ensure that registered NGO and
CBO actors enjoy the political and legal space within which to
undertake legitimate activities that advance the process and impact of
development of the people of the district;

iv) Provide information to the NGO Board on the activities of the NGO
sector within the district based on guidelines issued by the Board.

? District NGO Monitoring Committee

The functions of the District NGO Monitoring Committee include:-

i) Registration of CBOs;
ii) Recommending NGOs to the National NGO Board;
iii) Advising RDC on matters of NGOs including registration and
monitoring;
iv) Reporting on sector performance of NGOs;
v) Monitoring and provide information on the activities of the NGO
sector in the District;
vi) Reporting to the National NGO Board on matters of the NGO Sector.

National NGO Policy-Uganda

Strengthening Partnerships for Development 30 ? Sub – county NGO Monitoring Committee

The functions of the Sub – county NGO Monitoring Committee include:-

i) Recommending CBOs to the District NGO Monitoring Committee;
ii) Advising the DNMC on matters of NGOs and CBOs;
iii) Providing the CBO community in the sub county with guidelines to
enable the CBOs to participate effectively and in a coordinated manner
in implementation, monitoring and evaluation of any joint programs
undertaken;
iv) Monitoring and providing information on the activities of the sector in
the sub counties;
v) Reporting to the DNMC on matters of the NGO Sector.

CATEGORY 2: NGOS AND CBOS

? Individual NGOs and District Umbrella Organizations

The functions and responsibilities of NGOs at district and lower level include:

i) Internalizing and complying with the principles and provisions of the
Policy as well as the relevant provisions for registration;

ii) For organizations engaged in development activities, sharing their
program activity plans and budgets with the District Authorities for
purposes of reflecting such program activities into the broader sectoral
or area development plans;

iii) Signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), as may be
appropriate, with the Local District Government with respect to
programs or projects jointly implemented with the District Local
Government;

iv) Conducting themselves in a responsible and accountable manner
consistent with their establishing constitution, generally accepted best
practices in the NGO sector as well as the laws of Uganda;

National NGO Policy-Uganda

Strengthening Partnerships for Development 31 CATEGORY 3: THE COMMUNITY

? Community Leaders

Community leaders enjoy the trust and confidence of the people they lead and
are, therefore, key to the successful implementation of the NGO Policy.

They are expected to undertake the following functions:

i) Mobilize communities to actively engage with NGOs to improve
service delivery and civic empowerment;

ii) Participate in grass root level audit of the contribution of NGOs to
community development;

iii) Contribute to the identification and resolution of operational problems
affecting smooth relations between NGOs and their communities.

? Communities

Members of the various communities represent the target beneficiaries of all the
activities undertaken by NGOs. Accordingly, communities are expected to be
well-placed to welcome and evaluate the activities of these organizations. More
specifically, communities are expected to play the following roles:

i) Support the legitimate activities of NGOs based on clear
communication of the objectives and methods of work of the said
organizations; and

ii) Participate in individual and collective efforts to demand effective
service delivery and to hold NGO sector actors accountable.

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