DGF is committed to strengthening democratic governance in Uganda

In recent weeks, the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF) has observed a number of misleading statements being made in the media which we wish to correct. As the seven development partners contributing to the DGF, we take this opportunity to share information about the positive contribution our partners are making to democratic governance in Uganda. 

The DGF is a funding mechanism supported by Austria, Denmark, the European Union, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, and not a non-governmental organization (NGO) as some have reported. It aims to strengthen governance, promote and protect human rights, enhance access to justice, and improve accountability in Uganda. The DGF's mandate is aligned to the internationally agreed Sustainable Development Goals as well as the Government of Uganda’s democratic governance objectives and principles as laid out in the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, and contained in the country’s Vision 2040. 

The DGF has always strived for the highest standards in terms of ensuring accountability for all funds provided by contributing development partners – and in cases of non-compliance, the DGF has reacted swiftly and intervened accordingly. The DGF also has a zero-tolerance policy on corruption among staff working for the DGF and its implementing partners. We know that corruption is a serious problem affecting public life in Uganda. The DGF's development partners continue to support carefully selected partners to meaningfully contribute to the fight against corruption in the country. 

Democratic governance is all about the interplay between citizens and the state, and this is why the DGF supports both state institutions and civil society organizations. State institutions with which we have partnerships include the NGO Bureau under the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Parliament of Uganda and a number of local authorities. This collaboration with the state is a key part of fostering a more inclusive approach to improving democratic governance in Uganda. 
As development partners, we appreciate the Government of Uganda's recognition of the important role of non-state actors in accelerating the country’s development process as envisaged in the National NGO Policy and the Constitution of Uganda, which guarantees the right of Ugandans to engage in peaceful activities to influence the policies of government through civil society organizations.  

Jointly, our efforts are making a difference. In recent years, our achievements include providing free legal services to over 750,000 people, directly improving their ability to access justice. Partners of the DGF have also provided medical, surgical and psychosocial services to over 5,000 victims of the LRA conflict in Northern Uganda.  Through human rights awareness campaigns, the DGF has helped to reach over 10 million Ugandans, while also contributing to the enactment of important new laws, including the Human Rights Enforcement Act 2019.  

To ensure that this good work can continue, we encourage all stakeholders to engage constructively with each other and to avoid potentially divisive rhetoric which can undermine the operating environment. We must work together to safeguard civic space, in order to foster debate and dialogue in society, provide vital services and improve accountability in public institutions. 

We are proud of all our partners and the progress made so far. Yet, more efforts are needed to build a strong culture of accountable, transparent and democratic governance in Uganda. For our part, we will continue to work hand-in-hand with state and non-state partners to achieve this goal, and ensure a brighter future for all Ugandans.  

Signed by:

The members of the Board of the DGF: The heads of Mission of Austria, Denmark, the European Union, Ireland, The Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.