The call for upholding of human rights in Uganda has always been a household practice, with many human rights groups being incepted. The impact of these groups has not been fully felt due to poor funding and lack of expertise knowledge in the field of human rights advocacy. However, IDF, a non-political, non-governmental, not-for-profit grant mechanism for supporting Civil society Organizations is bridging the funding gap through her sponsorship programme for CSOs and NGOs in the field of human rights and good governance advocacy. IDF has supported different NGOs and CSOs all over Uganda. According to Mr Bwire Frederick Ouma, the inception of IDF was prompted by the need for supporting CSOs with funding from donors.
“IDF was registered in June 2008. We recruited staff and by May 2009, we were able to give out our first grant. The inception of IDF was prompted by the need for supporting CSOs with funding from donors,” he says.
IDF targets support to CSOs through awarding of grants with the aim of outreaching all places in Uganda including remote areas with human rights and good governance advocacy. The fund has also managed to outreach CSOs that work up country for example GWED-G that has operations in Gulu district. According to Mr Daniel Musoke, the monitoring and evaluation officer at IDF, the fund has registered the following achievements:
“IDF has managed to create and implement a strong and effective set of grant making systems and procedures that guarantees transparency, integrity, fairness and neutrality in reception, assessment and selection of grantees,” he says.
Mr Daniel further says that a total of 85 projects have been approved by IDF in the first four calls for proposals. Out of these, 35 are in central region reflecting 41% of the total projects, 26 are in eastern reflecting 31%, 14 are in western Uganda reflecting 16% and 10 are in the North reflecting 12%. He also says that the last 2 calls represent an improvement in distribution.
“Regarding the district coverage by the approved projects, we can see that IDF has managed to cover 71% of the 119 districts in the first four calls for proposals. This is an impressive coverage and proof that IDF has managed to adequately disseminate her grants programme,” he says.
According to Mr Bwire Frederick, IDF now covers a total of 12 of the 16 central region districts, 17 of the 24 districts in eastern Uganda, 14 of the 19 districts in Western Uganda and 11 of the 21 districts in Northern Uganda. This is a clear indicator that IDF has tremendously grown nationwide.
“IDF has managed to enhance efficient processing of applications. The IDF system defines 6 months as the expected time to begin financing a grant from date of entry” he says.
With many organisations in the country falling victim of corruption, IDF has maintained integrity as one of her top priority values. And the organisation has managed to deal with this vice. All IDF grantees must go through the competitive screening process of proposals before they are awarded grants. IDF does not show favouritism in awarding grants; according to Mr Bwire, this is strictly based on merit. A number of grantees from across Uganda testify of benefiting from support given by IDF
“Apart from grants, IDF has been able to build institutional capacity (staff capacity) in many areas. IDF holds workshops where we, their grantees acquire skills. There is also a capacity building programme and financial training for our accountants. Through a number of engagements, IDF has been able to nurture skills in us and to improve our functionality,” Mariam Kipruti, the programme coordinator for KACSOA says.
“IDF makes quarterly visits to our region. On an annual basis, IDF calls partners together and also trains them in the areas where they are weak. They also help us in capacity building,” says Mr Moses Mutumba, the programme manager.
It is right for one to assert that IDF has been successful in her operations. Nevertheless, IDF still encounters challenges according to Mr Bwire
“Corruption is one of our major challenges; some people want us to give them grants by mere claiming they represent an NGO, claims that may not be true. However, as IDF, we do not tolerate corruption. We also have a problem of a big area to cover. Nevertheless, IDF now covers many organisations in one route” he says.
The fund, according to Mr Bwire is developing a five year strategic plan hoping that donors will give IDF more money to support more organisations and to award bigger grants