Factors responsible for the Growth in the NGO sector in Uganda
• Post war focus on rehabilitation and reconstruction.
• Failure of the 1990s economic growth to trickle down to the poor which forced them to look towards safe organizing mechanisms to solve their plight.
• The surge of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
• The rhetoric of civil society as gap filler.
• The good governance agenda as advanced by the donors, whereby NGOs play a watch dog role to ensure transparency and accountability.
• The restoration of cultural ethnic institutions in 1993 has also contributed to the growth of culturally related NGOs such as the Buganda Cultural Development Foundation-BUCADEF (1994).
• The war in the northern part of the country inspired new and existing NGOs to expand to the region to offer relief and psychosocial support.
In Uganda some NGOs are involved in multi-sectoral activities while others are mono-sectoral/thematic in their program focus. Currently, most NGOs are active in the health service activities (HIV/AIDS); education (especially non-formal activities); micro-credit and arrange of income-generating activities; agriculture (especially agricultural extension and fisheries); the environment; water and sanitation; training and capacity building; peace building and conflict transformation, social development and community empowerment.
However in the recent past, the range of NGO activities in Uganda has expanded to include work in the areas of policy and policy advice; advocacy, lobbying and research; monitoring, including human rights monitoring; and several activities focusing on building up, deepening and strengthening civil society, good governance and democracy. To this end, a number of lobbying NGOs have developed a range of broadly positive relationships with various Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
In recent years the NGO sector has taken a new twist in relation to organizational initiatives. This has been witnessed in the development of networks or umbrella organizations such as Development Network of Indigenous Voluntary Associations- DENIVA (1988), National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda-NUDIPU, NGO Forum (1997), Human Rights Network-HURINET (1998) and National Association of Women Organizations of Uganda (NAWOU) among others. Such initiatives have come up to coordinate the work of NGOs and exploit synergies.
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