Civic Space and Governance Monitoring

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We aim to influence internal and external (including global) operating environment issues of CSOs and to ensure a positive environment for NGO operations and citizen engagement in governance processes through this component.

Our work under this component include:

Coordination of NGO Legislation Efforts;

The NGO Act 2016 is fully operational and several set up activities are taking place.  The National NGO Bureau is being formed, the regulation for the operationalization of the NGO Act will be formulated in 2016 and the National NGO Bureau will roll out its infrastructure.  These developments require that civil society sector prepares itself for these new changes.  UNNGOF has been taking lead in several of these processes and it will continue to do so.  The NGO Act 2016 was passed into law and will require each Local Government in Uganda to put in place a District or Sub County NGO Monitoring Committee.  This implies that at least 122 NGO Leaders will be sitting on the committees at district level and close to 900 NGO leaders at sub county level.  This is a very big number of representatives from the NGO sector and a potential opportunity which if not harnessed can be abused.  Each of the representatives will have to be chosen by the local NGOs in each district.  There is no clear methodology to select the NGO leaders who will participate in the NGO Monitoring Committees.  Information available to us is that even the selection of representatives of NGOs is unstructured and those participating do not know what they should do while sitting on those committees.  There is also no feedback mechanism for representatives that attend monitoring committees to report to civil society in their localities.  This situation if not addressed creates a potential risk for NGOs across the country and can lead to significant constraints to civic space.  If there is no proactive measure taken to prepare civil society to engage proactively in these committees, they will become prone to abuse.

Promoting an Enabling Environment for Civil Society

This component area builds on our previous work on enabling environment for NGOs in Uganda, drawing inspiration and experiences at local, national, and international levels. Our understanding of a conducive operating environment goes beyond the legal and regulatory space as defined by the state, to include emerging lessons from the work of NGOs locally and internationally. It also includes public support for NGO work, leading to greater public legitimacy; the fast changing policy making process, and implications for advocacy; as well as the unequal power relations in the aid industry, the changing face of international aid, donor policies and practices. All these have a bearing on the activities and sustainable impact of NGO work.

Under this program, continue to carry on with our work on profiling the value of the NGO sector. We shall work closely with Government institutions such as the Office of the Prime Minister, the NGO Bureau, and the Offices of Resident District Commissioners and the Justice, Law and Order Sector and the media to work on products like the Value of the NGO Sector Study, the State of the Civil Society Report and other publications that profile the sector’s work and operating environment.  We shall also continue to hold NGO leader’s reflections and joint meetings with the Government. This component area will also focus on building skills in security of human rights defenders.

Monitoring Governance Processes

 The Citizen Manifesto

This work is driven largely by the Uganda Governance Monitoring Platform (UGMP) which is hosted by UNNGOF. Since 2009, UGMP has been implementing the Citizens’ Manifesto Initiative. In the Citizens’ Manifesto (CM), citizens set the agenda through a political statement of their demands before aspiring leaders. Consequently, during the election campaigns period in 2011 and 2016, aspiring leaders made promises to ordinary citizens, and some of them went ahead to sign forms committing themselves to deliver on the aspirations of the citizens in the Citizens Manifesto by 2016 and now by 2021. As part of taking the Citizens’ Manifesto process forward, UGMP will implement a follow up project on the Citizen Manifesto that builds on the CM and is designed to mobilize people in the crusade to demand for state accountability.

Campaigns and Governance Work

Additionally the work on governance monitoring will also be a continuation of three critical campaign areas: the African Peer Review Process; Black Monday and related integrity campaigns; and free and fair elections campaign.  In all these campaigns the central message build on a core message of citizen agency or what we have called – the ‘citizen is central’. Our environmental scan did indicate that at 53 years, Uganda is at crossroads.  It is a country that is blessed and cursed.  Cursed, with the ongoing failure to build a credible governance infrastructure that can allow for smooth change of leadership, and blessed, with a resilient citizenry that exudes hope in creating a better Uganda.

Uganda, therefore, stands at an intersection that brings a confluence of challenges that need to be dealt with decisively.  In the first instance, citizens of Uganda need to take back their country and ensure that it is led by leaders that derive their legitimacy from citizens.  For citizens to take back their country, they need to look within each one of themselves to find the internal strength that will build, motivate and create momentum for solutions at all levels.  This requires that each citizen is supported to rediscover their dignity, by appreciating that they are owners of this country, leaders are servants and not masters and that what drives true progress in any country is the ability of a state to value its citizen by affirming and recognizing their dignity.  Dignity for one should be dignity for all.  It is imperative, therefore, for citizens not to build individualistic cocoons around themselves but live and work in solidarity to ensure that the collective strength of the nation is unleashed and that the power of togetherness drives that engine of progress in Uganda.  It is only citizens with dignity, working and living in solidarity that can exploit all opportunities that Uganda has to offer to its citizens. As a country we are blessed by one of the best climates in the world, best soils, a diversity of cultures and communities and a history of struggle with a remarkable story of resilience.  These opportunities and many more need to be exploited for citizens of Uganda to live to their full potential.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

s at influencing internal and external (including global) operating environment issues of CSOs and to ensure a positive environment for NGO operations and citizen engagement in governance processes.

 

 

 

 

 

Civic Space, Mobilization, Campaigns, and Governance Monitoring

The KRA2 aim

ce to include emerging lessons and public support for NGO work, drawing inspiration and experiences at local, national, and international levels.

We profile the value of the NGO sector work, working closely with Government institutions such as the Office of the Prime Minister, the NGO Registration Board, and the Offices of Resident District Commissioners and the Justice, Law and Order Sector

Citizen Mobilization and Campaigns is largely driven by Uganda Governance Monitoring Platform (UGMP) – a programme hosted by UNNGOF since 2009. UGMP implements the “Citizens Manifesto” (CM) Initiative and the Movement for Accountability. In the Manifesto, citizens set a political statement agenda with their demands before aspiring leaders to fulfill the promises made during the 2011 elections. MOPA helps citizens reclaim the power bestowed upon them by the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda (Article 1), and facilitates them to play their part in the political process. 

Civic literacy ensures that we identify effective channels and forms of communication and dialogues that work for various communities to create meaningful and accessible information products for citizens. We also ensure that civic education is well coordinated to empowered citizens with information and enable them make informed choices.

We have turned 09th October into a Citizen Day, where citizens celebrate their citizenship, have a sense of citizen pride and national celebration of diversity.

We drive the Annual Civil Society Fair and Civil Society Days in the regions working with different civil society actors especially the Regional Advocacy Networks to ensure that we hold Regional CSO Days that culminate into a National CSO Fair. 

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