National NGO Policy

Article 38 of the Constitution of Uganda 1995 embeds the right of every Ugandan to engage in peaceful activities to influence the policies of Government through civic organizations. Additionally, the Local Government Act 1997 specifically provides Civil Society Organizations (CSOs)-including Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)-with an important role in service delivery at community level. Furthermore, Government, through its overarching policy framework, the Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP), recognizes Civil Society as an important actor and influencer in the promotion of grass root democracy. Specifically, Government fully acknowledges and recognizes the key role NGOs play in improving accountability of public institutions including Ministries, Departments and Agencies, and promoting demand for public services by society generally and marginalized groups in particular.
Under the Non-Governmental Organizations Registration (Amendment) Act 2006, all NGOs must obtain official registration by the National Board for Non-Governmental Organizations (commonly known as the NGO Registration Board), in the Ministry of Internal Affairs, before they can operate in Uganda. Community Based Organizations (CBOs) are required to register with and obtain certification from the District Local Authorities unless they have one or more none Uganda promoters.
The NGO Board is also responsible for monitoring the activities of NGOs across the country. Whilst the NGO Board and the Ministry of Internal Affairs have done a commendable job, especially with respect to registration, their capacity to adequately document, coordinate, monitor and facilitate the diverse activities of a rapidly growing multi-sectoral NGO sector has hitherto been severely limited. There is also need to harmonise more effectively all government policies and regulations in order to provide an enabling environment for the operations of NGO players in a liberalised economy and democratic society.
On their part, NGOs have expressed a level of discontent with what they perceive as overbearing Government regulatory oversight which constrains their freedom of action. NGOs that are engaged in advocacy are particularly sensitive to the quality of the political space provided to enable them carry out their activities. Nevertheless, there is increasing mutual recognition of the need to ensure better coordination of the sector activities with a view to rationalizing and strengthening the functionality of the roles and responsibilities of these Non-State partners in national development.