The Uganda National NGO Forum (UNNGOF) in collaboration with Oxfam International has launched a humanitarian platform for NGOs within the country to improve their transparency, accountability and coordination during humanitarian response.
Richard Ssewakiryanga, executive director UNNGOF said at the launch at Hotel Africana that, the humanitarian platform would offer space for better coordination for local and national NGOs united together by humanitarian action and response.
“This [platform] was done because in many communities when there is a crisis, the first responders are not international organisations, the people who respond first are local organisations. It is the local organisations that are actually living in those communities. So our reason for coming together is to make sure there is a more coordinated approach among the local organisations to be part of humanitarian response,” said Ssewakiryanga.
Following a stakeholders workshop in June last year in Gulu, it was concluded that, unless they introduce a platform where there is sharing of information, working together, helping to build capacities, the organisations would not operate well.
Ssewakiryanga stated that the platform has the capacity in terms of resources because they are aware of the work that they need to do.
“I don’t think we have to rush to look for new money immediately. But we know that the money that exists within the sector, we can leverage some of it to support some of the initiatives that we are talking about.”
He further advised the public to have hope in the initiative, especially those who are living in affected communities because they now know that the community groups have a platform to work with for humanitarian response.
Minister for Relief, disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Hillary Onek commended UNNGOF for the initiative saying, a platform like this one will bring together and organise the NGOs so that they have a front where they can speak in one voice.
“It will also generate confidence in to our local NGOs because now when you are working as a group, I think you will have within your group some other norms of operation and sanctions. So this one is going to strengthen you” said Onek.
The minister also asked the organisations to focus their work on benefiting the people instead of the officials involved. He urged them to allocate at least 80 per cent of their funds to the community beneficiaries and use the 20% for the other things.
Non government organisations have often been accused of allocating a big chunk of the donor funds to their staff welfare and well being through high salaries and allowances, fuel guzzling cars, expensive office space.