“Our partnership with UNNGOF has enabled us to connect better with the communities we serve,” Peter Byakuyamba, Kabarole NGOs and CBOs Association (KANCA).
Last week, UNNGOF held the Regional Advocacy Network (RAN) Leaders Congress. The meeting was a time to reflect on the challenges, successes, and cooperation map of the partnership UNNGOF has with its implementing partners for the Philanthropy for Development Programme and the USAID/Strengthening Citizens Engagement in Elections (SCENE) activity.
The two-day meeting was held in Arua City in collaboration with West Nile Civil Society Network (WECISNET), a regional partner in West Nile. The meeting, which was also an exchange visit for partners, yielded reflections on programme implementation, financial management, and institutional governance.
Partners noted that over the past two years, they had witnessed a mindset shift amongst communities moving to embrace local philanthropy and civic rights. They noted, however, that there was the need to further document, localize and engage duty bearers on the potential of philanthropy.
Additionally, the reflections on Financial Management revealed that partners had to beef up their financial departments with the latest skills and systems. This would allow them to smoothly carry out financial reporting to minimise audit and fraud issues.
Regarding Institutional Governance, partners expressed concern about the prevalence of 'founder syndrome,' which causes hiccups in decision-making. In addition, the ever-evolving government regulations and restrictions further burden institutional governance as they set cumbersome obligations for the organisations.
Since the RANs also form the Communities of Practice for the Philanthropy for Development programme, they were able to make work plans and reflect on how to engage in their thematic areas.
The main takeaways for partners were that compliance with government regulations is still vital for CSOs to operate in Uganda; storytelling and documentation are a means to outcome harvesting; and the best accounting practices contribute to the financial stability of an organisation.
The Congress ended in the most exciting way with a field trip to Mariadua falls in Arua District and team-building activities that enlightened partners on soft skills like teamwork, patience, trust, strategizing, listening, respect for diversity, and much more that would enable them to efficiently implement programmes in their communities.
Click here to view photos from the Congress;