“Be Creative and Show Your Value”, SPAN Partners Urged

Published By UNNGOF |  October 12, 2015

The week of 14th September 2015 saw the start to the Regional Reflections of the Support Programme for Advocacy Networks (SPAN), organized by Uganda National NGO Forum (UNNGOF). The aim of these meetings was to foster reflection, learning, the sharing of success and challenges encountered in implementing the 3 year SPAN funded by DGF UNNGOF.

The first of these meetings was held in Eastern Region at Kayira Hotel, Mbale on 14th September 2015. That for Northern region on 18th September at Pacific Hotel Lira; Western region on 22nd September at Catholic Social Center Mbarara; and Central region on 26th September at Reproductive Health Uganda Hall in Luweero. These meetings were attended by the coordinators and chairpersons of all the District Networks (DNs) in each of the regions. The Chairperson of UNNGOF Board, Hon Aidah Mehangye; Executive Director Mr. Richard Ssewakiryanga; Head of Programmes UNNGOF, Mr. Alfred Nuamanya; Coordinator for Capacity Development at UNNGOF, Ms Sophie Kange; and Mr. Mugole facilitated this process in the four regions. Local leadership in each of the regions, like the LCV Chairpersons and councilors, were invited to be part of these meetings.

Hon Aidah Mehangye stressed the importance of DNs successes which in turn are successes of UNNGOF, and called on all coordinators and chairpersons to be mindful of the quality of work and its relevance to the needs of the people. She emphasized that CSOs are key actors in community transformation, and were therefore expected to serve the people diligently.

Mr Ssewakiryanga noted that to participants that there were visible opportunities emerging in Uganda’s diverse culture, entrepreneurship, associational life and politics which DNs should tap into to enhance their legitimacy and relevance as CSO networks. He underscored the need for DNs to work creatively in future and show what values they stood for, change their assumptions and attitudes, build credible systems for advocacy and engage the citizens from where they are. He called on all DNs to work in solidarity to protect the spaces of engagement through transparency, accountability and build their internal organizational capacities for productive advocacy.

Mr. Alfred Nuamanya highlighted the importance of building DNs’ agency to amplify communities’ voices and priorities as a sustainable way to create impact in advocacy work. He cautioned that the strength of DNs was neither at the District nor in resources but at community level where the people they serve reside and where relevant issues for advocacy are found. In their advocacy work, Mr Numanya expressed the importance of community connection, programme mapping and focus. DN’s positioning to take advantage of enormous opportunities by virtue of their location in the Districts and closer to the people. Management efficiency was cited as fundamental, coupled with better human resource spotting, deployment and talent development of those that the DNs engaged with in their advocacy work.