Like the Crested Crane, one of the most beautiful birds found in Uganda, networks and coalitions beautify the Civil Society landscape. Like birds of the same feathers, the networks and coalitions flock and dance together. This is even reflected in the grantees that are part of the Mwananchi programme in the East African country. In a sense the country’s history has acted as a magnet that has brought most Civil Society Organisations together and with it the realisation that there is strength in numbers. For example, it has been learnt in Uganda that when engaging policy makers it was better to approach them as a coalition than as individual organisations. In this respect the ‘community of practice’ concept of the Mwananchi programme can easily find a nest on the shores of Lake Victoria.
Of the grantees that have been selected so far, the elements of networking and coalitions are even visible within their names, for example ‘forum’ and ‘network.’ Working together brings broad support for proposed changes to laws, policies, service delivery and also helps to deepen proposed solutions to problems and issues common to good governance, not to mention the saving of money, time, improved coordination and better understanding of issues. Equally significant is that the grantees work is linked to specific districts as the names also suggest. On the issues raised by the projects one sees community development, accountability, budget tracking, improved health delivery and better education.
The grantees and their project titles are as follows:
- Community Development and Child Welfare Initiatives: Increased number of people benefitting from the community Driven Development Programme (CDD)
- Forum for Women in Development: Enhance the capacity of grassroots communities to demand for accountability
- Lira NGO Forum: Reduction of public funds in Universal Primary Education schools in Lira sub-county
- World Voices Uganda: Mwananchi Justice Agenda Project
- Kalangala NGO Forum: Promoting citizens’ engagement to improving maternal health service delivery in Bujumba sub-county
- Masindi District Education Network: Improved learners performance in Masindi Primary Schools
- Kibaale Civil Society Network: Enhancing community participation and community monitoring of community development programme.
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