Wilde Ganzen Partners reflect on Community Participation

Published By UNNGOF |  June 1, 2022

Ms. Imke Straaten, Project Officer – Wilde Ganzen Foundation.

Shifting the Power (#ShiftThePower) is currently a hot topic in the development cooperation arena; according to Caesar Ngule (of Kenya Community Development Foundation – KCDF), Shift the power means surrendering decision-making power closer to the ground, and focusing more on growing grassroots ability to design their own projects. Caesar notes that Shift the Power is not just an opportunity for Southern NGOs to reposition themselves for more funding, it is about appreciating that different actors have different capacities and roles to play, and finding the best point of convergence that allows all to leverage one other’s efforts.

Important to note is that, the shift the power conversation should not only start from the global north or donor world but also locally, by grassroot organisations providing forum for interacting, strengthening collaboration, intentional capacity strengthening among others. Accordingly, on the 19th and 20th May 2022, Wilde Ganzen Foundation, in partnership with Uganda National NGO Forum, held a linking and learning meeting bringing together Wilde Ganzen partners in Uganda. The event that attracted 56 participants representing 37 Local Organisations aimed to provide a platform for interaction, networking, reflection and exchanging experiences amongst the partners.

 The highly interactive meeting was guided by two themes; community participation and organizational development. Using approaches like world café and SWOT analysis, participants were able to share realities and experiences within their respective organisations and this facilitated learning from one another. Participants gained insights on multi-stakeholder cooperation and different levels of community participation as well as on the role of Civil Society Organisations to mobilise communities in programme implementation. This spurred the need for strengthening collaboration and partnerships, peer to peer learning and mentorship within Ugandan partners.

Ms. Imke Straaten was fascinated by the vast knowledge exhibited by partners. She noted that it was very evident that platforms which enable partners to share and learn from each other are of great importance in nurturing local partnerships and building the shift the power movement. This meeting has made me realize that there is so much knowledge and experience within Uganda. By providing a platform for Linking and Learning, partners can unlock this knowledge, Imke said.