NGOs in Uganda lack accountability and transparency


You have decide that you want to start an NGO.  Talk to me because there is much you need to learn.  You already run one, then talk to me and show me your financials for the last 2-3yrs.

In case you did not know, Uganda is known as one of the biggest thieves in the world of donor funds.  Try to explain how 430 million euros from The Global Fund vanished with no trace.

Contrary to a mis-conception, the world does not have money to throw at your work without you accounting for it.

I have seen many Ugandans tell me about their NGO projects and when I ask for financials, they kind of vanish.

Think of your NGO as a business.  Prepare a business plan aka project proposal to send to potential donors.  Anything less than this means that you are looking to enrich yourself.

Uganda has far too many NGOs and most cannot even account for what they use the money they receive for.

We have no money trees in our back yards.  Whites do not have money to give away without you accounting for it.

You make a very big mistake that people outside Uganda will fund your NGO without you accounting for how you spend the money.  The average donor knows living expenses and will usually allocate enough money for salaries for you and your staff.  Some of you use the money to buy SUVs and how does that look to the funder after you have conned them into believing that all the money you get is for orphans from Bududa landslides.

The world is now a global village.  It is very easy for anyone to find out about your work.  Those phones in your hands are very powerful for communicating with the world and do remember that your staff or someone else will use their phone to contact one of the donors.

If you have never written a business plan or project proposal, send me a request by email.  We can partner to help Uganda but please at least write a proposal or plan because anything short of that means you are a mufeere (new word in my vocabulary).  Write a killer proposal and then the funders will find you.  If you already run an NGO, prepare those yearly financial statements so that people can know what you use the money you are looking for.  Most NGOs look for more funding to expand their service offerings.  Do not cheat yourself and your NGO by not keeping accounts.

Did you know that most countries require that an NGO is run by 85% of the board as non families.  I have no idea why Ugandans think the world owes them when their NGO is run by Dad, Mom, Sister, Brother, other sister, the other brother, the cousin, the aunt, the uncle, that nephew, the niece, daughter, son, etc… You get the picture.  Get a board of directors and ensure that most are non family members.  No one wants to enrich one family.

Martha Leah Nangalama

Moncton, Canada

The writer has volunteered with NGOs and has business plan and project proposal experience.

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