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Iganga District NGO Forum

Overview of Iganga District NGO/CBO Forum

Iganga District NGO/CBO Forum is an umbrella organization representing and coordinating over 150 registered Civil Society Organizations in Iganga District. The Forum started in January, 2003 with a General Assembly of over 200 delegates. The organization is located in a rural region in Eastern Uganda that is strategically located with the Jinja-Tororo and Jinja-Mbale highways running through its town center. In its initial stage the Forum was assisted by the Uganda National NGO Forum, Iganga District Local Government and later with DevelopNet Volunteers from the United States. Before establishing the NGO Forum, a large gap existed between civil society and local government, creating a duplication of services and wastage of resources amongst the different service providers. Civil society was too weak to influence policy issues in the interest of the poor.

The Vision

Improved livelihoods of the poor in Iganga District through empowered civil society towards pro-poor development.

The Mission

Iganga NGO/CBO Forum exists to provide a platform for advocacy, lobbying and strengthening capacities of member civil society organizations through technical support, linkage and information sharing for effective service delivery.




FORUM MANAGEMENT AND INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENT

Iganga District NGO/CBO Forum is a membership Network of Community based Organizations, Non-Governmental organization at District, National and International level, Faith based organizations, other Thematic Networks and coalitions that operate as registered entities engaged in the promotion of effective and sustainable delivery of services.

Iganga District NGO/CBO Forum has membership of 117 CBOs and 34 NGOs representing about 65% of the active CSOs operating in Iganga District.  The overall organ of the Forum is the General Assembly that convenes annually and after 3 years elects the new Executive Committee.  The Executive Committee is elected on an agreed and representative manner to accommodate all the vulnerable and minority groups.  At present the Forum activities are carried out mainly by the Executive Committee members. The Forum has contracted 2 staff members seconded by member organizations to manage the D’Net Internet Café project on a daily basis.


Activities carried out 2003 -2006

  • The Forum with support from DevelopNet, Partners and Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) established an Information Communication Technology/InterNet Café Project in Iganga Town for the members and the entire Iganga rural community.

  • It has also been able to improve coordination of the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the district and works together with the other thematic Networks in the fields of HIV/AIDS, Adult Literacy, People with Disabilities, the District Farmers Association and other advocacy coalitions.

  • The Forum has influenced Iganga District Local Government on a number of issues that affect the poor and the operation of Civil Society Organizations in the District.  A memorandum of understanding with Iganga Local Government has been signed to guide the engagement. 

  • The Forum has worked with Action Aid International, for raising awareness on genetically modified crops amongst its rural members throughout the district.

  • Iganga NGO/CBO Forum mobilized and organized over 150 community members towards a campaign to increase their participation in civic matters, ‘The Peoples Agenda’ was supported by  the International Republican Institute during the previous political elections of 2006.

  • The first draft of the District Directory including all civil society organizations was published in 2005.


Sustainability

Sustainability of organization and programs: the structures that are being set from parish to district level are of a reinforcing nature to build synergy for teamwork with the existing local government structures, to strengthen a partnership culture in participatory planning and pooling of resource.  The Forum hopes that the construction of the permanent structure with the Forum administrative offices, resource center, conference hall and Internet Café/DevelopNet Project will provide a permanent home for Iganga District NGO/CBO Forum that will save valuable resources that would be otherwise spent on hire of premises and annual rent for office accommodation. The Internet Café and other social services will generate income for the Iganga District NGO/CBO Forum.

PROFILE OF IGANGA DISTRICT

Iganga District has a population of 596,852 with 80% of the population living in the rural areas and engaged in small-scale agriculture as the major economic activity. Small scale trading is another major economic activity especially around the Trading Centers. However, poverty is still rampant and about 46% of the people live below the poverty line. The HIV prevalence rate is at 8% above the national level of 6% and illiteracy is at 43%, most of whom are women, making  them among the most vulnerable and marginalized groups. Despite improved enrollment, the quality of Uganda’s Universal Primary Education initiative remains low. The major prevalent diseases in the district are preventable and include: malaria, URTI internal worms, and HIV/AIDS material problems that contribute to 60% of the ten killer diseases (Some HMIS 2005).

It is widely recognized that involving local communities is a prerequisite to effective community programming. This is especially true for communities with poor and marginalized persons.  Iganga District has a host of social and economic challenges, and a robust and diverse cast of nongovernmental organizations which have arisen to meet these challenges. Yet a general lack of information and exchange has prevented this community from leveraging its assets towards the public good.

Written by: Michael Bazira of MURUDA

 

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