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Opinion: Optimal Social Fund: Philanthropy Model Through Togetherness Is On The Rife

Uganda like many Africa or developing countries continues to face social inclusion challenges.  According to Uganda Bureau of Statistics, Uganda’s social inclusion progress is in part outstripped by population growth – consequently many Ugandans are trapped in poverty (at least 8 million people nearly as many as there were in 1990). A child born today is at risk of not being as half as productive at 18 years relative to one who receives full education and health life.

Uganda also faces a food paradox, where nearly one in three Ugandans are at risk of food insecurity.  The challenges facing Uganda’s social inclusion are of multi-dimensional nature; including a negative mindset, limited and dwindling public social sector spending among others. Government resources are limited relative to investment needs. To relatively mitigate the situation, the Optimal Social Fund idea – Philanthropy through togetherness was started late June.

The optimality is also encapsulated in the amount chosen as minimum for each member to contribute of UGX 20,000 (approximately UGX 700 daily). It is tenable – small amount but cumulatively big impact.  The respective challenges we face as a country are big and need to leave no stakeholder behind in tackling these issues.

The struggle to invest in every Uganda is real and in part is the rationale of the Optimal Social Fund, where Togetherness through small contributions can provide intergenerational support to the needy and poor who are deprived. Yes, we can actually do it.  Uganda is a youthful country, yet the characteristics of the current youth are ominous with over 75% of Uganda’s youth still engaged in vulnerable work (own work or supporting family), often characterized by inadequate earnings, low productivity and difficult conditions of work that undermine workers’ fundamental rights. Yet social security and protection is also limited.

The fund is purposeful set to complement existing mechanisms.  The mobilization so far has leveraged over 182 members – through a WhatsApp group, over 130 members already paid membership contribution of 20,000 for June an interim treasurer as the process for institutionalization of fund is being undertaken.  Details are found in the figure below.

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Key highlights

  1. Concept note drafted and will be shared for comments. Near final.
  2. Optimal Social Fund limited by guarantee (nonprofit reserved at URSB). Full regularisation of OSF expected in July.
  3. June collections on. During the first two months (June and July), contributions of the fund (UGX. 20,000) is sent directly to –Ms. Mercy Kyomugasho Kainobwisho on 0772555878 and Dr. Enock Nyorekwa on 0702889253. The Committee agreed that Mercy is the overall in charge and will ensure that the collections are transferred to the account once it is created in the bank. The process of account should be completed before end July 2019 to ensure that August contributions are deposited in the bank. A spreadsheet update of these collections is provided regularly – at end of each week
  4. A google contacts sheet for updates for contributing members – has been designed and here members are also welcome to share views on where funds should be allocated, where they can contribute technical expertise, and what criteria for allocation of funds will be. It is not surprising that the core emerging priority from the survey for investment of the fund is Education. It is a common denominator amongst all the contributing members and as such a necessary (but not sufficient) conduit to a meaningful life.

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By Enock Nyorekwa Twinoburyo

There is still need to conduct a theory of change exercise to ascertain the results of our intentions and that will help us narrow down the planned activities.

On transparency and accountability.  A model of publish what you receive and what you pay will enforced on a monthly basis. Books of accounts should be also published as is need to have internal and external audit. The fund also should be subject to corporate governance reviews.

Overall, the concept is collectively mitigating the market failures and in part government’s insufficiency in delivering social good. Members we spoke, indeed are enthusiastic with the planned undertaking.

To join the initiative, contact Enock Nyorekwa Twinoburyo 0702889253 or Mercy Kyomugasho (0772555878)

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