|History of NGO Forum|
The contribution of NGOs to good governance and development is now widely acknowledged by citizens, governments and the international development community, even though this varies from country to country. In a world characterised by unequal development, social, economic and political injustices, conflict and marginalisation, many NGOs have emerged to challenge the status quo and provide hope to millions of people.
NGOs not only deliver essential services to disadvantaged citizens, they also offer space through which political, social and economic pressure is built to challenge injustices. In Uganda, the NGO contribution to the health and relative stability of the country cannot be underestimated:
programmes and innovations in service delivery, advocacy and citizen empowerment, have been valuable. The NGO sector, and civil society generally, is however still perceived by government, political actors, development partners and even some sections of civil society itself to be either ï¿½weakï¿½, fragmented, or too apolitical, and lacking in conviction and relevance to tackle fast changing social, economic and political dynamics. While this perception is partly informed by the lack of a systematic documentation of the value of the NGO sector in our countryï¿½s development, it also points to the need for NGOs to do a lot more. This strategy reflects both positive and critical views on the NGO sector.
It recognises the need to consolidate its positive attributes, while seeking to overcome challenges that prevent it from realising its full potential. From the consultations that have informed our strategy making process, a clear demand emerges for more activism by NGOs, as well as for an improvement in the way the sector is organised, especially at the national level, to provide more effective leadership on strategic issues that concern all NGOs and which are of consequence to Ugandaï¿½s democratic development.
This strategy therefore reflects a commitment to change, and presents the National NGO Forum with a fresh mandate to nurture an independent space for NGOs to share, reflect and act to strengthen the role of Ugandans in influencing key governance and development outcomes. The National NGO Forum thus defines itself as a national platform for NGOs, creating an avenue through which a ï¿½national voiceï¿½ of NGOs on collective agendas is developed, articulated and represented, through the following dimensions of its identity: