02 / 1999
SNV Uganda’s goal is to improve the econmic status, livelihood and political influence of poor and vulnerable people, mainly women in priority areas. It aims at strengthening civil society by building the capacities of local government, NGOs, CBOs and the private sector with a focus on interface and interactions between all actors. The less favoured districts have been selected as the priority areas.
Although general political climate is one of stability, unrest in the North and the South-West is increasing with the Congo war. The decentralisation policy, translated into law, with elected councils in place provides another factor of stability. Despite a high economic growth, there is still a big poverty among the people - that indicates that the outcomes of the growth do not trickle down to the big majority.
NGOs and CBOs are rathter encouraged by the government to play a role where the government support is defficient. Many of these organisations are not well equipped to fulfil their mission. Target groups of the SNV programmes are the rural population mainly women. Many NGO’s and CBO’s collaborate with local communities. But the way they interact with these local actors is not very clear. It is one of the challenge of SNV to identify active and grass-rooted partners with development potential for capacity building support.
Local government’s (councils)structures are still weak, they lack organisational and implementation capacity. Local councellors have been democratically elected but they can hardly work. Lack of qualified staff, lack of salary payment to civil servants and corruption paralyse the councils.
SNV gives technical advisory support to its partners. Through Technical Advisors, it build capacities of the partners from inside. In the districts where it intervenes, SNV has community action programmes whereby it strengthens the civil society and women empowerment. At the same time, it collaborates with local government structures to make them able to respond to the expressed needs of the community. Both local councillors and local government technocrats are trained to deal with local policies. Such training is done through various means. Exchange visits with other councils in the country or neighbouring country as Tanzania are organised aiming at rxposing people to other situations where they can observe how to create the conditions for a good governance in their area. SNV plays a big role in institutional development by encouraging exchanges and articulating various levels of organisation from local to national.
SNV built its reputation and credibility over the years through the implementation of numerous workshops bringing people together, so they know each other and learn how to work together. Their bottom-up and participatory approaches in rural areas allow them to establish genuine contacts with all the actors involved in local development process. As far as sustainable agriculture is concerned, it was important to associate agricultural research centres to this activity and to force them to launch research programmes in the fields in close coordination with active local community groups.
To address the demand of the numerous NGOs and CBOs that require their support, SNV recently started a new kind of technical advise provided by a team of officers posted in the national network of NGOs and who are very flexible in their intervention. For a short period of time, they focus on an NGO that requested a support and after few months, the assistance is postponed to let the group digest the changes and recommendations made.
At the same time, this pool of flexible technical adivosrs - as they are called - encourages linkages between the NGOs. All collaborations are done through a contract that defines and specifies all parties’ responsibilities.
Donors are provided with annual plan that presents the situation and the trends. Financial and narrative reports are presented on a quarterly basis. Each programme is audited every year by external auditors. Since SNV works with local communities, it has to work at their pace. The partners are the ones who are to become the real owners of the development process Such concerns often cause delays in the implementation of the activities but it is something which is documented and donors do not show difficulties to understand it. The combination of project implementation at community level and institutional capacity building at different levels makes SNV a very interesting partner. SNV moves away from a traditional donor-recipient relationship to mediation and joint ventures. SNV plays the role of an interphase beween local governments, NGOs and local communities. Furthermore, SNV has established capacity for providing services in the management of funds, accountability and capacity of administration. SNV plays an important role of mediation between local Ugandan institutions and donors.
SNV Uganda developped a unique competence to intervene in a very complex way. It has been identified as the most credible actor to implement decentralised cooperation programme with the European Union delegation. Its weaknesses may rely in its perfectness. It seems that there is a tendency to believe that since everything has been planned everything must go smoothly. There is very few space for the unknown which always occurs and it is the way an organisation can address an unplanned or unwanted situation that also indicates its degree of empowerment. How do people really integrate all the technocratic aspects of policy planning along the logical framework ? Produced reports makes the organisation really transparent. They come with a very pertinent analysis of the situation. SNV also has a commendable policy to hire staff from the region.
Programme Officer, Gender Advisor, Nethelands development organisation SNV P.O. Box 8339 Kampala, Uganda Tel: 256 41 223995, fax : 25641-22-07-80, Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
[[Written for the public debate "Actors and processes of the cooperation", which could feed the next Lome Convention (European Union/ACP countries relations). This debate, animated by the FPH, has been started by the Cooperation and Development Commission of the European Parliament and is supported by the European Commission.]
Interview with KADURU, ROSEMARY A.