Civil society organizations (CSOs),a body that help shape education policies, monitor programs, and hold governments accountable for their duty to fulfill the right to education in Uganda continue to face a challenge of long term financing which has hindered their performance in a short period of time.
According to a research by LINC, a United States based organisation that focuses on strengthening Local systems in partnership with USAID on Facilitating Financial Sustainability among local CSOs in 6 countries, financial sustainability is a major issue in most of the CSOs in most African countries.
The findings also reveal that only 5% of all grants given by donors targeted organisational sustainability, while the others focused on single projects.
According to Ruth Birungi, the Executive director IDF, most CSOs in Uganda are financially vulnerable with the majority having a short life span of only five years.
She added that “This is mainly due to lack of trust by the government. They have the perception that civil societies are always pushing the foreign agenda of their donors, hence the harsh environment in which they operate.”
“Our aim is to spearhead the conversation on how government, donors and the civil societies can help each other to improve the financial sustainability of the civil societies because they play a big role in social and civil developments,” Birungi said.
The meeting that was held yesterday at Hotel Africana aimed at bringing together donors and the CSOs to discuss new strategies on how they can solve the issue of financial sustainability.
According to Matthew Guttentag, the Program Director at LINC and a Lead Researcher for FFS, CSOs in Uganda lack the capacity to build strategic development financial systems that can be sustainable in long term hence, the need for LINC and other development partners including government to equip them with the necessary skills.
“What we want to do through these Action Learning Groups is to create a platform where civil society members can meet and come up with solutions that will enable financial sustainability. We want them to come up with home grown solutions so that they can reduce dependence on donors and survive beyond the donor grants,” Guttentag said.
The Facilitating Financial Sustainability (FFS) program was launched in 2017 to develop and test ways that different actors (including donors, policymakers, intermediary organizations, and CSOs themselves) can work together to improve the factors that drive local organizations’ financial sustainability in different development contexts.
The ALG activities have been launched in Uganda, DRC, and Colombia will last for about 2years.