All CSOs Ought to Be Legit

Published By UNNGOF |  March 17, 2024

It is a fact – Civil Society Organizations provide vehicles or space for people to participate in development and social change in ways that would not be possible through conventional government programs.  

As they engage in development processes, they are expected to comply with the regulatory framework and the different regulators for the sector, including Uganda Registration Services Bureau, NGO Bureau, Finance Intelligence Authority, Uganda Revenue Authority, and National Social Security Fund, to mention but a few.

Over the years, most NGOs have paid little attention to the regulatory obligations affecting their relations with the Government. Compliance with the edicts of the regulatory framework is critical if Government is to recognize NGOs as legitimate and credible entities that contribute to the development of this country.

If this compliance is voluntary and self-driven, all the better. NGOs should not wait to be whipped into submission where their compliance is concerned. Therefore, interventions like the recent Door to Door legal health checks of the Uganda National NGO Forum (UNNGOF) and the Quality Assurance Mechanism (QuAM) hosted at the Development Network of Indigenous Voluntary Associations (DENIVA) are heartwarming, and proof of NGO efforts to comply and self- regulate.

The #BeLegit Campaign that was launched on 28th September is further proof of sector efforts to enhance the capacity of CSOs to comply with these legal obligations. This campaign will foster an appreciation and understanding of the laws governing NGOs and improve the capacity of NGOs to comply with the NGO laws. 

The campaign’s harmonized sectoral approach to addressing the current legal and administrative challenges is to be applauded. It will not only highlight the value of NGO self-regulation but also ensure uninterrupted operations for NGOs. It will also culminate in a vibrant CSO sector with harmonious relations with the relevant Government MDAs.

At the launch, Mr. Stephen Okello, Executive Director of the NGO Bureau, called upon NGOs to increase their legitimacy and credibility by ensuring voluntary and timely compliance with the regulatory framework. He urged them to wholly identify with and support the efforts of UNNGOF and DENIVA with this campaign that can only be described as timely, relevant and beneficial to all players in the NGO sector.

“As the NGO Bureau, the three parameters of good governance, accountability and transparency are key to ensuring that NGOs remain relevant, without waiting for anyone to come and remind them of compliance,” he said.

“The moment QuAM is rightly done, we shall have more legitimate organizations which will improve the sector’s image,” Stephen added.

The NGO Bureau pledged to continue working with all stakeholders to ensure the compliance and legitimacy of NGOs in the country.