Uganda’s 2021 CSO Sustainability Index is Here!

Published By UNNGOF |  December 1, 2022

Over the years, UNNGOF in partnership with FHI 360 and ICNL (International Center for Not-for-Profit Law) has developed the Civil Society Organization Sustainability Index (CSOSI) in Uganda. 

The Index measures the civil society sector’s sustainability across the seven dimensions of;

  • Legal environment, 
  • Organizational capacity,
  • Financial viability,
  • Advocacy, 
  • Service provision,
  • Sectoral infrastructure, and 
  • Public image.

The sustainability of the CSO sector deteriorated moderately in 2021 as six of the seven dimensions recorded a decline. 
With a controversial election in January, followed by severe restrictions on social and economic activity as a result of a surge of infections from COVID-19 in the spring, CSOs in Uganda had a difficult year in 2021. Setting the tone was the indefinite suspension on February 3 of the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF), a five-year governance program funded by a consortium of European donors. Civil society was further constrained by a pandemic lockdown that started in June and the suspension of fifty-four CSOs in August.

These events left CSOs grappling with a declining human rights situation, a national health crisis, crippling pandemic prevention measures, and hostile posturing by the state. Many CSOs found themselves caught in an existential struggle for survival as state-led crackdowns and financial constraints grounded their operations for a significant portion of the year.

The Index is an important tool for civil-society, governments, donors, academics, and others to understand and measure the sustainability of civil society, inform areas for investment, and formulate national agendas in promoting and strengthening the sector.