District NGO Monitoring Committees (DNMCs) Meets
By Abraham Ekwaru
The District Chairperson Soroti Hon, Simon Peter Edoru Ekuu has called for the scrutiny of briefcase NGOs in Soroti district. Edoru said there are a lot NGOs, CBOs operating in the district but their activities are not seen on ground. He mentioned this during the engagement meetings between CSOs and District NGO Monitoring Committees (DNMCs) at TiMisha hotel Soroti City.
“As a district we have so many of NGO but some of them are not doing the right things of service delivery in implementing the Government work”, he said.
According to the data from the office of the District Community Officer, Soroti district has more than 32 register NGOs and CBOs.
The meeting of the NGOs was called by Public Affairs Center of Uganda-PAC, a member of the District NGO Monitoring Committee-DNMC.
The overall objective the meeting was NGOs to interact with the committee, and formulate a harmonized engagement strategy for the Success of NGO operations in the district and Soroti City.
To strengthen CSO -Government partnerships/collaborations at district level for sustainability of CSO interventions.
To create avenues for continued dialogue between CSOs and duty bearers at the subcounty and district level.
To increase awareness among the CSOs and duty bearers on the NGO Act 2016 and its regulations.
To identify and share best practice examples and tips of CSO-Government relations.
At least 6 NGOs including, Teso Initiative for Peace-TIP, TERELEPAR, Teso Women Peace Activits -TWEPA, CIDI and OJ Care Foundation.
In 2016, the NGO Act was passed and the Minister of Internal Affairs by statutory instrument appointed the 14th March 2016 as the date for the commencement of the Act.
The NGO Act 2016 repealed the NGO Registration Act Cap 113 and aims to provide a conducive and enabling environment for the NGO sector and one of the provisions in this law was the creation of the District NGO Monitoring Committee comprised of the Chief Administrative Officer (its chairperson), District Community Development Officer(its secretary), District Health Officer, District Internal Security Officer, a representative of NGOs, District Education Officer and the Secretary for Gender and Community Services.
However, since the operationalization of the Act. the DNMCs have not been functional at the different district levels and this continues to affect the working environment of Civil Society at various levels.
CSOs are influential in communities and at the grassroots level, in policy making, planning and implementation. However, to realize this, there is need for an enabling environment that allows for interaction, consultations and constructive engagement with the various categories of citizens in the communities they serve.
For civil society to flourish it requires a favorable enabling operating environment and collaborative work relationship with the state and local governments at the sub national level.
This depends upon the actions and policies of the State and at the lower level the actions of local governments.This implies that the State actors and local government authorities should primarily ensure free choice of interests, freedom of public speech, assembly. association and action for citizens.
The enabling environment can be seen as a function of the legal freedom, financial freedom, and political freedom.
The policies and laws as well as institutional framework pertaining such as LOA, NGO Act 2016, Companies Act 2012 etc are yet to be appreciated by both the both the CSOs and LG administrations and leadership.
Some of the provisions and their implementation raise the level of mutual suspicion and this negates the State's obligation to create conditions for a conducive operating environment and respect of civil society autonomy as well as guarantee Stimulate a robust work relationship between civil society actors and local authorities based on mutual respect and supportive collaboration.
A team of District NGO Monitoring Committees (DNMCs) at TiMisha hotel Soroti City taking a group Photo