The Humanitarian Platform participates in the Livingstone Formula on “Silencing the Guns in Africa by 2020” Forum: Tracking Progress on the Implementation of Lusaka 2016 Master Roadmap
“All African states must sign, ratify and fully domesticate all AU instruments relating to the promotion of peace, justice, governance and development”
The Economic, Social and Cultural Council of the African Union (ECOSOCC) through its Peace and Security Cluster organized a Civil Society Forum from 11-13 September 2019 at the Mombasa Continental Resort in Mombasa, Kenya to track progress on the implementation of the Lusaka 2016 roadmap for silencing the guns in Africa by 2020. This brought together fifty-five (55) Participants from twenty-one (21) different countries made up of: -ECOSOCC CSOs, Peace and Security Cluster members, Experts from the Diaspora and the Wider Civil Society, Representatives of Regional Economic Communities (RECS) and Representative from Peace and Security Department (PSD).
The main purpose of the 2019 Livingstone Formula Consultative Meeting was to assess progress and identify challenges to the implementation of the 2016 Master Roadmap on Practical Steps and Modalities for Mobilizing Actions for Silencing the Guns in Africa by 2020. The meeting particularly focused on tracking progress and challenges to the implementation of peace, security and stability related tasks which were assigned to ECOSOCC/CSO in the roadmap.
Among the things that were line up for discussion was the adoption of the 2019/20 Work plan of the ECOSOCC Peace and Security Cluster, Perspectives on the effectiveness of the Livingstone Formula- PSC-CSOS dialogue and engagement in the promotion of peace and security in the continent and it emerged that the AU definition and use of the concept of Peace and Security is very state centric, and justice is ignored; but also the role and contribution of Civil Society to Peace and Security in Africa is not systematically documented or highlighted.
Members suggested that ECOSOCC Peace and Security (P/S) clusters should (in addition to the submissions by the Presiding officer) prepare a briefing to the PSC on the normative framing of peace – as peace, JUSTICE and security – to better capture the accountability aspects and push out the “impunity” concept that is inherent in the current “Peace & Security” normative framework of the African Union. ECOSOCC to commission a study to document the Role/Contribution of CSOs to peace and security which would also be a landmark contribution to showcase the contributions made by youth, women, and religious communities towards standard treatment guidelines (STGs) on the continent. A similar study is being done on Youth Contribution to peace on the continent which will go a long way to be presented to the Peace and Security Cluster in November, 2019.
Other issues that emerged were that Conversations are only focusing on the demand side of weapons and not on the supply side realizing the need to bring a balance in this conversation and discuss it on both the demand and supply angles. That the Disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) and security sector reform (SSR) processes are overly militarized, and fixated on the role of formal, security forces at the expense of other actors in the Security sector for example Women and youth have a very important role to play in conflict situations so their roles should not be underestimated. Members therefore suggested that the ECOSOCC Peace & Security Cluster should also emphasize the importance of the non-military aspects of DDR and SSR (justice, police and prison workers) and Civil Society (youth, women, academia, religious leaders, etc.) and legislators who are then at the end of the day should rehabilitate former combatants, as well as provide oversight roles to military spending. The Justice and police sectors cannot be left aside.
At the end of the 3-day consultative meeting, participants adopted the ECOSOCC Peace and Security Cluster Work plan for 2019/20 and agreed on relevant inputs and suggestions from CSOs for the consideration of the AU PSC Secretariat in the process of drafting and finalization of the Annual report of the Peace & Security Cluster on the state of peace and security in Africa to be presented to the Assembly of Heads of States during the 2020 Summit.
HUMANITARIAN PLATFORM STRATEGIC PLANNING RETREAT
Botanical Beach Hotel, Entebbe
4th -7th March 2019
Fifty National, Local and
International Organizations in Uganda representing various civil society
institutions, met at Bomah Hotel in Gulu District on 7th – 8th June 2017, to
discuss issues and concerns relating to the role of Local and National CSOs in
the refugee response. It is in this meeting that that the Humanitarian Platform
On 7th march 2018 the Humanitarian Platform for Local and National Organizations was
launched with a vision to see strong local and national organizations that are
well coordinated, informed and have the ability to influence the humanitarian
agenda. However, this vision cannot be realized until local and national
organizations have the requisite capacities to effectively prepare, respond and
engage in the humanitarian system.
One year down the road, it is very pertinent to highlight what the
journey has been and reflect on what led to successes but also the failures so
that clear key lessons are carried forward. In that light, the Humanitarian
Platform organized the strategic planning retreat 4th-7th
March 2019, to stimulate
discussions, debate and agree on the strategic focus of the Humanitarian
Platform. This brought together 16 members representing carious humanitarian
organizations and Office of the Prime Minister.
Taking stock and Reflecting
Since the inception of the
Platform, what has been the change in the external environment; and what has
been the relevance of the Platform in the changing context.
The refugee population has reduced. Towards end of 2017, the total population of refugees and
asylum-seekers in Uganda was 1,395,000 people, with 986,600 people
from South Sudan, some 236,400 from the DRC, and some 39,700 from Burundi.
Currently according to the 2019 January UNHCR report the number stands at
Coordination has been strengthened. Since the inception of the Humanitarian Platform, there
has been an effort to bring together humanitarian actors together and to
influence the humanitarian agenda collectively. Maximizing on the comparative
advantage of members to engage meaningfully.
3. Partnership and Engagement
spaces availed to local actors. Since 2016, UNHCR
has actively made an effort to meet the 25% Grand Bargain commitment and
piloted approaches to achieving this for
example, they initiated Partner-Equip-Coach Approach (PECA) – twinning INGOs
with Local NGOs as a requirement for funding, the Humanitarian Platform was
embraced by the INGO Directors Coordination Group , the Platform has presence
at CRRF Steering Group and several other entities like the Office of the Prime
Minister, Local Government, continue to
express interest to partner and support local humanitarian actors.
funding has shrunk;
Uganda is known to have one of the most
progressive refugee policy yet again Uganda is one of the worst funded refugee
hosting countries despite being third in ranking as a country hosting refugees
globally. The country’s funding gap was at 85% and by November 2018 it was at
Response Plan requirements 869,671,414(US $) – Funding received 352,307,881 (US
$)) according to UNHCR.
The capacity among local and national actors has improved. Some local organizations
have gained the trust from donors and can be entrusted with relatively bigger
funds for example some local organizations from West Nile are receiving funds
directly after putting in place systems with required and recognized standards.
6. Shift in focus from
refugee response to addressing humanitarian issues holistically. Currently the humanitarian
system covers Internally Displaced Persons and disasters. In addition, there
has been an effort to shift from humanitarian response exclusively to focus on
recovery and development too.
Looking back at
the one year the Humanitarian Platform has existed, what hasn’t worked, why
hasn’t it worked and what should be done to address the existing gaps.
1. Identity. There has been an issue of identity of the Platform; who
are the members, what are their specialties, what sectors do they belong to,
what is the Platform agenda, where does it draw the mandate from. These kinds
of questions came as a result of lack of clarity among members and other actors
engaging with the Platform. As a result even members were hesitant to identify
themselves with the Platform in different spaces.
As the way forward, members suggested the
need to review the registration criteria. To introduce certificates with a
reasonably minimum price to ensure members have something to show as members of
the Platform but also to have a clear Platform agenda by the end of the retreat
The Platform to be proactive and work on
their visibility through involving media in their engagements and taking
advantage of big events to make presence and participate meaningfully
2. High expectations. From the inception of the Platform, members
realized that this was long overdue and recognized that INGOs and other
humanitarian agencies were thriving because of their coordinated and organized
systems. This created the thirst to see local actors doing the same without
considering the process. Secondly, other members expected grants extended to
them through the Platform which has not happened unfortunately; and as result
many have pulled out
One of the reasons why this keeps happening
is the fact as a loose coalition, members are free to enter and exit at no
cost. Members suggested a token membership by subscribing a fee to become a
registered member. As such members will attach value to the Platform and also
develop ownership and will to see it grow
3. Representation. The concern around the representation on
the Steering Committee was among the issues discussed. Representation in terms of the committee
composition and in terms of reflecting the Platform agenda in the individual
organizational engagements in various spaces.
As the way forward there is need to revamp
the regional Platforms and have them represented on the Steering Committee.
The need to develop a joint activity calendar
on the aspects to be delivered on jointly, for example the big events at
national and international levels such as the UN General Assembly, the World Refugee Day, International Day for Disaster Reduction
4. Funding. Humanitarian action is a costly venture that calls for
concerted efforts that draw on national and global resources. As such, local
and national organizations face difficulties in finding appropriate and
sustainable funding for humanitarian interventions. It was also noted that the
25% funding Grand bargain commitment is coming to an end in 2020. Therefore
there is need for the local humanitarian actors to think beyond and
One of the solutions is for
the Local and National Organisations to raise the issue of commitment to donors
in Uganda to take action through advocacy
Secondly is for Local and
National Organisations to start figuring out how to survive with the available
funds and consider the aspect of sustainability in various contexts
is been an issue of transparency and loss of trust amongst the humanitarian
local NGOs as a result of unhealthy competition due to shrinking funds ; but also the rise in
corruption cases in the sector
According to members this
calls for proper and recognized systems in place that match up to the donor
requirements; the need for self regulation through the Quality Assurance
Mechanism (QuAM) and ensuring.
question of capacity will keep coming up if there is no definition of what
exactly we mean by capacity as local humanitarian actors ; capacity compared to
what. As such we would still considered to have low capacity by the
There is need for the local
and national humanitarian actors to build consensus on what capacity we mean
and as such it is easier to address it uniformly.
Legal Framework. Part
of the unanswered questions is the issue about where the Platform draws its
mandate and its sustainability plan in the operation environment; when does it
stop being a loose coalition.
It was noted that this
concern be taken forward by the Steering Committee; have a discussion with the
Uganda NGO Bureau on the way forward
Membership criteria. The
issue of membership still lacks clarity to many; what does it take to become a
member of the Platform, who are the humanitarian actors, what is humanitarian
action, how and where do other sectors like the Private Sector, Academia,
INGOs, Government entities see themselves in the Humanitarian Platform for
Local and National Organisations . As such other organizations would understand
whether they can be part of the Platform.
Needs redefining the linkages
Relationship with the Government. It is known that the Government through the Office of the
Prime Minister coordinates humanitarian response at national level; therefore a
conversation about humanitarian interventions or localization agenda without
the arm and full support of the Government is likely hit the dead end. The
Humanitarian Platform has been embraced by the Government and established
working relations which justifies the Platform’s presence on the CRRF Steering
Group. However, the link between the two is not clearly defined most especially
on the contribution of the Platform into Government humanitarian response
Need to be redefined by the
Platform Steering Committee
Refugee programming still driven by donors. This has been noted as a result of lack
of confidence in the local actors capacity, both technical and operational
capacity. In terms of having proper and recognized systems in place.
This is a call for Local and
national humanitarian actors to work on our leadership and governance
structures to ensure that we have clear systems and policies that guide our
operations and programming. This might entail reflecting on the national and
international requirements and standards within our institutions, so that we
become more legitimate and credible
The Humanitarian Platform for Local and National Organisations
is mandated to hold monthly meetings to strengthen the coordination,
review progress on various platform undertakings, identify areas of
synergy and plan on participating in different spaces at national,
regional and international level. On 16th August 2018, the
platform held a steering committee meeting at NGO Forum Offices and in
attendance was TPO Uganda, CAFOMI, DENIVA, LIPRO Uganda, DRT, Uganda
National NGO Forum and OXFAM.
Some of the issues discussed hinged around platform membership
composition to match the ongoing UNHCR Inter-agency coordination
mechanism, issues around participating in the Grand Bargain (GB) work
stream platforms with other networks; and mobilization of resources to
support the Humanitarian Platform. The platform secretariat intends to
organize members into sectors according to the Refugee Response Plan
2019/2020 to be able to widen the scope of participation of the local
and national actors in the humanitarian response. From the discussion,
the platform will establish ways of acquiring and sustaining funding
through a self-assessment process by identifying issues affecting the
platform, strengths and gaps where capacity is needed and have an issues
paper that can be presented on various influential platforms. This is
to ensure the local actors build the muscle to be front bearers of the
localization agenda rather than the international community. There was a
question on how the platform can participate or link with the
discussions at the global level; and the Chair, Mr George Francis Iwa
was tasked to map out those different upcoming global events where the
platform can either send participants or organize side events to feed
into the same. On that note, the platform plans to organise a side event
alongside the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 73) in
As part of the Annual National Youth Festival that took place on 11th August 2018 at Makerere University, the Humanitarian Platform for Local and National Organisations held a session dubbed the Plight of Female Urban Refugees.
This was to contribute to the ongoing discussions about the fate of
urban refugees in Uganda, with more focus on female refugees. The
outcome document highlights the issues that affect the female urban
refugees and what works to address the issues in their particular
To download the outcome document please click here
investing more than a decade and millions of dollars in capacity
building, governments and other humanitarian actors still face
significant capacity challenges in order to effectively manage
humanitarian response. key among these challenges include the
short-term, ad-hoc and disconnected nature of the training agenda,
aggravated by lack of a systematic, sector wide, capacity needs
assessment and strategic capability strategy and training/education
framework. As such; June 2018, the Humanitarian Platform for Local and
National Organisations in Uganda undertook a Capacity Needs Assessment
to establish the core strengths and weaknesses of the local and national
organizations to prepare and respond to the humanitarian needs for the
affected communities in Uganda. According to the report, only 37% of the
CSOs assessed were functioning well on the component of networking,
coordination and advocacy in relation to humanitarian emergency response
forming the baseline for the capacity development training.
On 3rd December 2018, the Humanitarian Platform opened the
2 days capacity development training at Esella Country Hotel, Kampala;
with ‘advocacy’ as one of the areas still weak in the humanitarian
sector, most especially in Uganda. This training featured over 30
members of the Humanitarian Platform who initially scored relatively low
during the Capacity Needs assessment carried out by the platform.
According to what has been noted over the years, the topic of advocacy
has been biased and perceived to be a “fight back” tool especially
between civil society organizations and government entities due to the
pressure to account. However, it also important to note that projects
which involve people affected by policy change in developing,
implementing and monitoring advocacy work are more likely to achieve
concrete change on the ground due to effective advocacy.
With the support from professional facilitators, members were taken
through intense yet participatory hand on exercises which included
experience sharing, brainstorming, open forum discussions and references
of the real life scenarios in the Uganda context. During the advocacy
training, participants were taken through the legal and institutional
framework for advocacy and humanitarian and; where they generate the
mandate to conduct advocacy. It’s very important to understand the kind
of issues one is intending to advocate for. Participants were taught to
differentiate between humanitarian concepts like disaster, hazard,
emergency and risk, a mistake many have made and continuously make. In
addition, participants were taught to differentiate between advocacy,
lobbying and activism to avoid using them interchangeably.
On 4th December 2018, participants were taken through one
of the most imperative blocks not only of advocacy but also other
project/ programme areas like fundraising, reporting, storytelling among
others. It is important to note that how one tells their story is what
determines the perception or image from the external environment.
Documentation is broad and to mention but a few, entails reporting on
activities and achieving the visual attention from various stakeholders,
how to tailor messages for different audiences, video documentation,
photography, organizational branding/ profiling and other avenues of
documentation that bring about effective change in society such as
policy briefs, issues papers, data among others. While local
humanitarian actors continuously transform the lives of marginalized
populations through their work, telling the story of this invaluable
work to the world, remains a big challenge.
As such participants were taken through the winning power of writing
for change, understanding the important formats of documenting,
tailoring the message for different audiences. Participants had a
knowledge café that involves grouping participants and having them
rotate around different humanitarian communication products and
answering questions on their importance to improving beneficiary
From the documentation session, participants were able to construct
success stories which will be featured in the quarterly newsletters.
According to the end of training evaluation, participants appreciated
the opportunity and recommended that the Humanitarian Platform should
extent this support to regional platforms and allocate more time;
partner with INGOs to conduct exchange visits intended to enhance
capacity among members of the platform; follow up on members trained and
continuously hold refresher trainings to be able to realize the
impact. At end of the 2 days capacity development training,
participants were able to link advocacy and documentation; and further
deeply understand how, where, why and when the two concepts are applied.
Therefore with the recommendations aforementioned considered, the
Humanitarian Platform will be able to support all the local and national
NGOs to influence the Humanitarian Agenda.
“Every NGO implementing humanitarian work in the settlements must factor environmental protection in your interventions”,
Hon Musa Ecweru delivering a presidential directive
On 28th May 2019, over 200 humanitarian actors including
government officials, development partners, UN agencies, various
Diplomats, non-government organization, refugees gathered at the Office
of the Prime Minister Conference Hall to witness the first ever formal
launch of the Refugee Response Plan 2019/20 under the auspices of the
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) together with OPM.
“I want to thank the commendable efforts by donors in supporting
the Humanitarian Development nexus in Uganda and issue a call to all
Member States of the United Nations, to the leaders of Industry and
other Private Sector leaders to invest in both the Comprehensive Refugee
Response as well as the local development plans. It is unacceptable
that the CRRF in Uganda is still severely underfunded” Ms. Rosa Malango
UN Resident Coordinator
The Refugee Response Plan 2019/20 comes at a time when Uganda is
constrained by the refugee influx with limited resources to handle the
situation. In 2018, only 57% of the RRP budget was funded, leaving most
of the needs unmet. The contributions in 2019 have been particularly
slow in coming, with less than 20% of the needed funds received. “Humanitarian
funding needs to increase and must be sustained, as long as refugees
continue to flee to Uganda and require special protection” Joel Boutroué, UNHCR Representative in Uganda.
The launch of the RRP as a coordination and fundraising tool
attracted a reflection on how resources meant for humanitarian aid have
been mishandled by different actors; as such various development
partners emphasized putting accountability and transparency systems in
place to be able to regain the trust.
“The U.S. approach is two-fold. On one hand, we will continue to
demand transparency and accountability from the Government of Uganda
and institutions receiving funds on the part of United States
taxpayers. At the same time, it is our duty to find ways to continue
financing life-saving, emergency assistance for refugees. Our demand
for accountability is unwavering” Deputy Chief of Mission Colette Marcellin, US Embassy
During the launch, Hon. Musa Ecweru reiterated on the relevance of
all humanitarian actors placing more emphasis on the misuse of funds
through administrative costs most especially by expatriates who are
extra ordinarily facilitated due to the nature of their jobs. He added
that as the solution to that, the government is headed for a process of
reviewing all expatriates’ profession documents to ensure that those who
don’t qualify are repatriated and replaced with cost effective local
“ I am yet to commission a process of reviewing all expatriates’
CVs to ensure that some of the jobs in these international
organizations are open for Ugandans who are competent; rather than
having expatriates doing ordinary jobs” Hon Musa Ecweru.
He further passed the presidential directive to all humanitarian
actors operating in settlements to mainstream the component of
environment protection in their interventions due to the overwhelmingly
absurd environmental degradation in and around the settlements; and
The Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugee Hon. Eng.
Hilary Onek further added that refugee problems are international
problems and not Uganda’s problems hence calling upon all actors and
development partners to be mindful of that; and donate as much as they
can. “We have some donors who continue putting more resources
towards the humanitarian response and little towards resilience and
activities urgently needed to restore the environment and promote
self-reliance when we know that the average time of displacement goes
beyond years” Ms. Rosa Malango UN Resident Coordinator
In a nutshell, the launch of the Refugee Response Plan 2019/20
revolves around resource mobilization/fundraising as one of the
constraints faced by the government of Uganda that is hosting over 1.3
million refugees amidst its own economic mishaps. It also focused on
raising awareness on the joint plan priorities and emphasizing
coordination as a tool that would bring an end to duplication of work
and minimize resource wastage.
‘Uganda is spending the bulk of its budget managing and responding to disasters instead of managing and reducing risks’ Sophie Nampewo, CSBAG, Learning Event Mbale 2018.
Globally, disasters are on the increase as a result of natural
hazards, political unrest and economic hardships. Subsequently, this has
greatly contributed to increased poverty, food insecurity, and social
disintegration especially in drought and flood prone areas. In the
recent past, a number of global frameworks have been developed for
disaster risk reduction. The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk
Reduction, adopted in Japan in March 2015, provides general guidance for
reducing risks from natural hazards.
The Agenda 2030 further recognizes and reaffirms the urgent need to
reduce the risk of disasters. At national level, The Government of
Uganda has demonstrated a commitment towards disaster risk reduction as
indicated in its various legal, policy and planning and institutional
frameworks like the Second National Development Plan, the Disaster Risk
Reduction and Management Policy. There are bills in the pipeline for
approval such as the Disaster Management Bill Climate Change Policy,
Wetland Bill for sustainable Ecosystem. However, amidst all these
policies, how have the victims or communities in disaster prone areas
been involved? Is their need for a 50 page wordy document with the
language they can hardly articulate?
“With the inevitable continued population growth
rate, Uganda and the entire world will continuously be prone to
disasters…” Johnson Kagugube, DRT, Learning Event, Mbale 2018.
On 25th September 2018, the Humanitarian Platform for
Local and National Organisations in Uganda held a Learning Event
focusing on Strengthening Disaster Risk Reduction and Management at
district level, in Mbale District. The event was timely and located
strategically – Eastern Uganda is recognised as the most disaster prone
region. The Learning Event attracted humanitarian actors in the region
such as the Uganda Red Cross Society, the District Disaster Management
Technical Committee heads & other Local Government leaders,
Community Based Organisations, media and Civil Society Organisations who
hailed from the districts of Manafwa, Bududa, Sironko, Bulambuli,
Butalleja and Mbale.
“There are no funds to facilitate and capacitate the
District Disaster Management Technical Committees to integrate DRR into
the district plans, as a result they event don’t meet, they are
dormant…” Local Government respondent, Learning Event, Mbale 2018.
the discussions, it was found out that actually the government is
financing relief for victims way more than prevention or preparedness,
according to the study carried out by CSBAG. The Outturns overshot the
budgeted allocations in FY2016/17 with a supplementary budget of UGX
25bn directed to the provision of relief to disaster victims. This
raised concern among participants most especially the Local Government
leadership who just hear but never get hold of any funds to facilitate
contingency planning at the district level. Issues around political
sabotage kept rising as the reason improper practices persist affecting
several interventions from progressing.
However, this does not mean that the Government is not doing a great
job. The problem is failure to diversify different target groups for
different interventions. As Uganda realigns it’s spending towards risk
management and reduction, Local Governments are best placed to spearhead
this under the auspices of the OPM. Funding should therefore be
directed to them to fulfil this mandate through a Forecast Based
Financing Mechanism of disaster risk management and reduction. This
therefore calls out for coordination between the state and other
non-state actors to collectively focus on addressing these underlying
issues together for benefit of the citizens.
Smart phones are things we all want and when we have, we take for granted, using not even a third of their amazing functions and available apps. We must appreciate that this small gadget is increasingly becoming versatile, like, if not more than, the famous swiss army knives – has everything you may need to survive the wilderness that is the online social arena.
It is one thing to be able to use your phone to take pictures and videos and share them to social sites, and another thing altogether to harness all the fantastic features and functions on your smart phone to clearly articulate your thoughts, feelings, ideas, and share your stories.
This is something we all fall victim to, but in my opinion more so for development workers who have to document work while in the field and are often hampered by the traditional bulky media documentation equipment. These days, information is about the fastest and clearest getting to the audience in the most user friendly of formats, and sadly, this requires the correct use of a smart phone.
For NGOs that have only recently started embracing intentional communications in delivering their mandate and building new constituencies online, it is important to not only have a smart phone, but also know how to maximize its functions and features and online apps, free or paid, to get the best out of this costly investment. Smart phones are for more than just social media and WhatsApp.
UNNGOF staff recently proved this true – your smart phone can be the difference between you beating a documentation deadline or even just touching the hearts of those you represent and winning support to your cause, and failing to meet your reporting obligations.
With the help of Alzar Media, a fully integrated media production and digital marketing ﬁrm based in Kampala, UNNGOF staff took out two days from their busy schedule to learn how to tell our stories audio-visually. What is audio visual story telling? Well, let’s just say we learned amazing video and photography techniques using our smartphone gadgets, and writing skills, focusing on proper story boarding! Call it digital story telling if you like.
The Alzar team – warm…fun…friendly…dedicated…gifted…flexible…professional… Let’s just say it was a pleasure to work with a team that is more interested in delivering value and sharing their craft than with making money.
In our sector, we continually meet firms who only view NGOs as cash cows. In engaging with them, it is clear to us that the bottom line, and not the value addition is the driving factor. Many prey on our supposed ignorance and rumored huge budget lines to offer us services. Pleasantly, this was not the case with Alzar Media. Thanks to them, we as a team are able to not only identify, but also demand for quality service and delivery with competence, in regards to documentation, digital products and more. More importantly, we are better able to tell our stories using just our smart phones and available software. We certainly fulfilled our objectives building the capacity of staff to capture great videos and photos using their mobile phones; enhancing staff capacity to ‘tell our story’ effectively through writing great stories; and improving staff documentation and report writing skills.
This hands-on interaction saw the areas of writing, photography and videography with smart phones simplified. Aspects of photography like lighting, framing, storytelling, angles and such, were simplified and properly understood by staff. In our writing session, we were advised that the best way to write better is to read three times more than you write. We even had a bonus session on branding and how to build our online personas! And so much more.
Oh, and we must mention the amazing yet simple to use software we were introduced to – Snapseed for editing pictures on smart phones that avails you with professional quality photo edits, enabling you to enhance photos and apply digital filters, available for both android and iOS. Snapseed.online rightly brags that “Snapseed without any doubt is one of the very best Photo Editing Application out there…the SNAPSEED app lets you achieve all the features and quality editing you would find and expect in a professional picture editing software. Butwithout the extra complexities…being the perfect easy photo editing app to come out with professional photos and pictures.”
And Wondershare Filmora for our laptops, a simple video editor that empowers your stories. Filmora, as we learned, is an all-in-one video editor with powerful functionality and a fully stacked feature set.
FileHippo.com says it right – “It makes professional video editing easy with an intuitive interface, drag and drop editing, and a great range of advanced video editing features. Filmora provides a bunch of creative features you can use to make your videos stand out. Transform your video with a range of filters add graphic overlays, text and titles. You can also drag and drop moving elements onto your video.” Believe it, we proved it true.
Audio visual story telling by Alzar Media is definitely a training we would confidently recommend to any organisations out there that are passionate about improving their documentation and telling their story.
The plus of it is that the training also fosters a kind of natural team build since staff work in teams different from their usual operational ones. It involves the use of personal mobile phones and therefore you offer your staff skills that they can apply to their everyday lives beyond just their jobs. Photos and pictures are a very important part of our lives and allow us to cherish bits of our past lives and memories. Being able to keep the best quality of these is an obvious bonus, especially if you are equipped with simple skills to be able to ensure this quality easily, by yourself and at no extra cost.
Value – that which makes everything all the more enjoyable!
Land is the most valuable asset for human existence and economic
development and it is acquired to provide a livelihood, facilitate
production and economic transformation of the country. The Ministry of
Lands, Housing and Urban Development is responsible for providing policy
direction, national standards and coordination of all matters
concerning lands, housing and urban development. The Ministry is
financed by development partners and the Government of Uganda.
In Uganda, there are existing policies and legal frameworks that
guide human settlement which include: the 1995 Constitution ,Uganda
National Land Policy (2013) ,the 1998 Land Act the Land Sector Strategic
Plan(2013-2023) These systems protect the ownership of land in Uganda.
Currently there is a proposal by government to amend Article 26 of the
Land Acquisition Act. However, the proposal has generated a nationwide
debate as well as being interpreted as a plot that will fuel land
evictions and grabbing in the country. Majority of citizens believe that
the proposed amendment will leave Ugandans at the mercy of losing their
land to government without being compensated.
Despite all the existing legal frameworks in Uganda, land continues
to be contentious. This policy issue highlights the key land issues in
Uganda, recommendations and the role of Civil Society Organizations.
Critiques of the current Land Issues
2.1 Multiple Land Tenure Systems
The 1995 Constitution and the land Act provide that land in Uganda
maybe held in only four tenure categories namely: customary, freehold,
Mailo and leasehold.
There are also existing gaps in the land policy such as; it does not
provide for sensitization of about the tenure systems of the land people
occupy where sometimes their leases expire and they are not aware, does
not solve the problem of overlapping land rights on mailo land,
conflict resolutions are placed in the hands of customary institutions
yet some are biased due to community migration.
Though the customary land issue is recognized by the law and the
policy provides that it will have certificate of titles and its own
registry, laws and governance, these do not exist. The National Land
Policy provides that the customary land will be supported to evolve but
it difficult since the land is not registered with titles.
These are all challenges that result into tenure insecurity. There is
need for increased awareness of the existing laws to enable citizens
demand for their rights in regards to land. The land administration
system has also been abused by various actors through acts of corruption
and unethical practices in land management hence affecting the most
vulnerable people in the communities.
2.2 Land grabbing and evictions
Under Article 26, the constitution provides for the
right to own property. On the contrary we have witnessed aggressive
land grabbing by individuals, high profile people, government officials
and multinational companies often in partnership with government.
Communities have been intimidated to abandon or have been forcibly
removed from their land and it is common in places where land is owned
communally especially in the northern parts, areas in the west as well
as the central parts of Uganda. For example in Amuru District, Apar
Village and Lakang sub-county where land wrangles are evident has caused
particular problems for local people who have customary land rights.
The Marriage and divorce bill section 20 also provides for equal
access to matrimonial property which includes right to use, to benefit
from and to enter the property. Although the legal environment appears
to be favorable to women in Uganda, the situation on the ground is still
far from satisfactory. Abuse of women’s land rights is widespread in
rural areas where widows are chased away from their matrimonial land,
divorced and separated women are denied access to land in their maiden
homes and for married women to be dispossessed of their land by their
husbands. Government should expeditiously enact the Marriage and divorce
bill to help protect the rights of women.
2.3 Large Scale land Acquisitions
The Uganda National Land Policy provides that it is
the duty of government to provide land to investors based on
transparent criteria with due process or due diligence either from
public land or government land without displacing public utilities.
However, we have witnessed rapid increase of large land acquisitions
which take place amidst non transparent procedures and processes. Vast
tracts of land have been given away as concessions to private investors
and foreign investors with displacing and evicting local communities
from their traditional lands without due regard to their rights and
safeguards to their well being.
In many cases, the locals that are displaced receive inadequate or
low compensation for their land. Although Article 26 of the constitution
provides for compulsory acquisition of land, it states that the
following conditions must be met; prompt payment of a fair and adequate
compensation prior to the taking of possession or acquisition of land
and also a right to access to a court of law by any person who has an
interest or right over the property. These laws still have existing gaps
on who determines the fair/adequate compensation, even when such cases
are taken to courts of law there is delayed justice and sometimes the
case is ruled in favour of the investors/rich persons.
2.4 Land Governance
Land governance concerns the rules, processes and
structures through which decisions are made about land ownership and its
utilization. These help to ensure security to tenure which gives way to
harmony in society, peace and tranquility in the country. Article 56,
64 and 74 of the Land Act provides for the establishment of land
tribunals, district land boards (DLBs) and Area land committees (ALCs).
The ALCs determine, verify and make boundaries of customary land in
their areas of jurisdiction; advising DLBs in matters relating to land
including ascertaining various categories of land rights of individuals,
communities and institutions during the processes of transfer of land
interests and registration of titles.
However there are still challenges faced by these DLBs and ALCs such
as inadequate functionality as a result of lack of funds, lack of
technical staff and corruption.
These generate a number of irregularities where most land is title
without inspection and recommendations, sometimes land titles are given
to more than one person and titles maybe give to the illegal owner
claiming to be real owner of the land in question.
2.5 Refugees Crisis
Uganda hosts 1.2million refugees including 898,000 South Sudanese who
have fled civil war and famine. The refugee settlements are mainly
found in areas of Kyaka II, Nakivale, Oruchinga, Kyangwali, Kiryandongo,
Paralonya, Rhino Camp, Imvepi, Madi Okollo, the integrated camps of
Adjumani, and Maaji settlement. The 2006 Refugee Act Secetion 29:1(e)
provides for similar treatment relating to movable and immovable
property and other rights pertaining to property and to leases and other
contracts relating to property. This allows refugees to obtain land and
as a result the host communities have shared their land have benefited
from a new schools and health centers etc. 
However there are increasing land conflicts between
host communities and refugees due to lack of preparation of citizens by
government in regards to refugee settlement in Uganda. Communities in
Uganda need to be prepared socially and economically so that they are
not affected by the effects of refugee resettlement particularly in
areas of land ownership
2.6 Proposed land Amendment
Under the proposed amendment, the Land Acquisition Act will allow
government to compensate the registered proprietors and other land
owners prior and also while the infrastructure development process is
ongoing. The proposed amendment provides that;
Where parties are unable to agree to a fair price and adequate
compensation, the government shall deposit the money in court and
government shall take possession of the property pending determination
by court of the disputed amount of compensation.
The owner of the property shall have a right to claim the disputed
compensation amount that may be determined by the court or other
However the proposed amendments alter the provisions of article 26
which provide for prior compensation before taking possession of land.
The proposed bill has a lot of gaps that need to be improved such as;
does not provide the time in which disputes arising out of compensation
shall be solved, it also empowers the person or party interested in the
right over the property and it does not take into consideration of who
determines the fair/adequate compensation. There is need for government
to review the bill so that they design policies that uphold the rights
Roll out of the Land Information System. There
is need for the ministry of Lands and Housing to roll out more Land
Information systems across all districts in the country. The system will
help provide reliable information on security of tenure, eliminate
opportunities of corruption, provide timely access of information and
also provide assurance land owners.
Functionality of Area Land Boards and District land Boards. There
is need to increase funding for the Area Land Committees and District
land boards for easy carrying out of their activities and it will also
help fight corruption. Capacity building is also required to ensure that
the committees have the skills and knowledge required for their work.
Civic education on land matters.
Most citizens are not aware of the policies on land and the tenure
systems in regards to land. Ministry of Lands through the District local
government should educate citizens about the different land tenure
systems as well as their rights to land ownership.
Court laws. The court should handle land matters as
expeditiously as provided for under article 137(7) of the constitution
that the constitutional court can sit as soon as possible to handle
petitions and may suspend any other matter pending before it.
Expedite the passing of marriage bill. This bill
should be enacted as soon as possible as it seeks to promote gender
equality and also protect the rights of men and women.
Consultations on the proposed amendment. There is
need for these consultations as they will help citizens share views and
existing gaps in the bill. This will help citizens demand their rights
regarding law and also enable government deign policies that protect
Role of Civil Society
Advocate for laws against forced evictions, adequate compensation and resettlement. CSOs
need to advocate for laws that outlaw forced and unlawful evictions in
accordance with the international Human Rights law. Most evictions
including those based on national legal enforcement orders; ignore the
international and constitutional legislation which guarantees the right
to housing and other human rights (UN HABITAT Advisory Group on Forced
Evictions, 2007, UN Basic Principles and Guidelines on Development-based
Evictions and Displacement, 2007).
Land rights Civic education. There is need to hold
campaigns to create awareness and sensitize citizens about their land
rights and the existing land laws in the country. It is imperative that
every land owner is aware of his rights so that land grabbers do not
take advantage of their ignorance about the law.
Hold dialogues on Land. National and regional
dialogues should be held by CSOs across the country to provide a
platform for citizens and government to share their experiences and also
raise concerns regarding the land. Interactive dialogues will in help
designing policies to uphold the rights of citizens in regard to land
Monitor the Land policy and related legislations.
Organizations especially those dealing in land and human rights should
focus on monitoring progress of the implementation of the national land
policy and also make periodic reports.
There are existing policies and legal frameworks in
place that protect ownership of land in Uganda however citizens still
lack knowledge on these policies and their rights in regard to land.
Therefore there is need for sensitization on land policies to help
citizens understand their rights. More should also be done to ensure
that there is effective implementation of the existing laws to improve
land tenure security to reduce land conflicts in the country.
By Rachael Damba
Food Security and Land Governance Factsheet Uganda
In Uganda, in a move to promote localization, the Charter for Change working group conducted a series of interrelated activities in what is popularly known as the “Humanitarian Week. This was to majorly amplify the discussion on localization into the public domain and bring to the attention of INGOs, UN Agencies and Donors in Uganda as to why localization is important for all those involved in Humanitarian Action. The climax of these weeklong activities was localization dialogues by different members of the Charter 4 Change Working Group Word Humanitarian Day. As part of the C4C Uganda, the Humanitarian Platform for Local and National Organisations in Uganda supported other platforms to hold the same discussion at the subnational level while the National Humanitarian Platform also participated in a radio talk-show that explained what localization is and what the reality is in the case of Uganda.