All our efforts under this component are designed to develop the capacity of Uganda’s civil society so that the CSO sector can deliver its core mandate and influence development policies and practices
Under this intervention area, UNNGOF will continue to provide capacity development initiatives in several ways. These will include; work related to strengthening Boards of Directors of CSOs organizations, work with Women Leaders in civil society as well as general capacity development work for organizations. Evaluation results of the last strategic plan indicate that there is a need for more innovation in the area of capacity development so that it creates more impact and is more relevant to our members and constituencies. We shall, therefore, seek to develop initiatives with universities and other institutions of higher learning.
At the heart of our work on capacity development is the need to ensure that we build strong organizations especially at the sub-national level. This will now focus on using participatory processes that build on the strengths that are resident in some parts of the country. Currently we work with 35 district networks that have a presence in 61 districts in Uganda. We have also experimented with a model of Regional Advocacy Networks that act as hubs at the regional level. Going forward, we would like to strengthen these advocacy networks because of their ability to ensure that our collective programing reaches far, wide and deeper in communities.
The component area of capacity development is therefore about building a strong network of civil society organizations that can collectively engage in a coherent and respected manner. Strong civil society organizations are the bedrock for movement building and at the subnational level, they are ‘greenhouses of democracy’. Our work in this area will therefore focus on ensuring that institutional strength is garnered in an ‘organic way’ that civil society groups are working together in collective advocacy without any top-down designs.
Membership and Constituency Servicing
UNNGOF is a membership organization and we acknowledge that, for any membership organization to remain useful, it must manage and satisfy to all extents possible, expectations from a diverse group of members and other actors. This programme component presents UNNGOF as a service organization providing regular and specialized services to members, other NGOs, civil society and a wide range of other actors that demand information and support services. These include: students, government, private-sector and development partners. The aim of this programme area is to provide both general and tailored information and other support services to a wide range of UNNGOF service subscribers to enhance their capacities and inform their work. This component will continue most of our previous work but with a clear objective to create a quality membership base. We shall develop a program that awards loyalty of members but also ensures that we know all our members intimately enough to be useful to them. We shall therefore not concentrate on growth in numbers, but on quality of the number of members we have. This will be done through a process of carefully auditing our membership data base, both physically and in documents. We shall define the benefits to and contributions from members more sharply on an annual basis so that our accountability is based on benefits that we shall have agreed on.
Promote and Strengthen UNNGOF Engagement in the Quality Assurance Mechanism
UNNGOF is listed as ‘promoter’ of the QuAM initiative in the QuAM documents. We also have a membership of over 600 member organizations and this membership needs to go through the process of QuAM. The number of members that are QuAM certified is still dismal, but a few have gone through. In order for us to increase the numbers of ‘QuAMed’ organizations, we shall continue to work to popularize and promote QuAM and prepare our members to go through the QuAM process. Over the strategic plan period, we desire to achieve over 80% QuAM compliance by our member organizations. In terms of strategy, we shall have to work closely with the QuAM Council, QuAM Assembly, Regional and District QuAM Committees and DENIVA, the secretariat for QuAM, to deal with all the bottlenecks that have been identified.
CSO Infrastructure Development and Strengthening
This work will continue to be coordinated through a programme called Support to Advocacy Networks (SPAN). SPAN is anchored on four broad interventions areas: a) building effective leadership of civil society organizations at the local level b) influencing effective public service delivery through developing strong sub national advocacy networks, c) catalyzing local advocacy initiatives; and d) learning, networking and accountability for results at the local level. We envisage that these four broad intervention areas will contribute to more responsive and accountable duty bearers and improved quality of life for citizens. SPAN will have to work upstream – focusing on building a local level civil society infrastructure as well as effective management and oversight as well as internal governance organs for civil society, that they are aligned to the current development challenges in the country. On the downstream, the programme will develop initiatives that reach millions of citizen across the country in their different spaces, continue creating civic consciousness innovatively, and building evidence networks that will put important information in the hands of citizens in simple and accessible formats so that they can create pressure from below that will lead to the creation of public value. We shall develop a full programme document for SPAN so that it can stand alone as a sub activity.