Sustaining Civil Society: Rethinking resource mobilisation

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“While businesses thrive on profits, and governments on taxes, civil societies finance their activities through donations and grants’’ (noted Yancey and Siegel)

These observations by Yancey and Siegel couldn’t be more accurate! In Uganda and in various parts of the world, CSO’s scramble for the little resources available through grant aid, public and private funding. While some are still employing conventional means to secure finances for the various activities they implement, most CSO’s have devised new strategies for generating and securing resources, such as; forming networks, organising public events, to mention but a few.

Amidst these challenges, CSO’s have resorted to synergistically soliciting funds from the various channels. For instance, on the 27th of February 2018, Uganda Youth and Adolescent Health Forum (UYAHF) in collaboration with Girls Not Brides (GNB), hosted a call for proposal debrief at the UYAHF offices in Kampala with an aim of sharing proposal writing skills, grant application and winning tips.

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The debrief was graced by representatives from five different organizations including; Raising Teenagers, Joy for Children Uganda (JFCU), Education and Development Opportunity Uganda (EDOU), Uganda Youth and Adolescent Health Forum (UYAHF) and Vision for Children Initiative (VCI).

‘’We can no longer take these steps by ourselves. We have created a synergistic community. We must take a step towards knowledge together.” (Alberto Villoldo)

In the session led by Moses Ntenga from JFCU and GNB networks, participants learnt about the various funding opportunities available, and key things to focus on when writing project proposals. He noted the need to identify funders interest’s vs CSO project needs, including required documents and testimonials to make proposals stronger and utilizing the existing network of CSO’s in application processes and reviews.

Moses‘’Understanding the key interest of the funder, projects of interest, assessment criteria, the amount of funding being offered and drawing a realistic budget is key. It is important to write proposals centred around cases with correct statistics and as well as the beneficiaries’’ (Moses Ntenga)


From the three hours long debrief, it was evident that CSO’s were interested in thriving as a team, rather than competing and fighting over the available resources without proper strategies. Representatives appreciated GNB’s and UYAHF’s efforts channelled towards achieving common goals, which are the success of individual CSO’s and achieving national and global goals.

While ensuring the long life of CSOs remains a challenge in development, harnessing the benefits of synergy with strategy among CSOs and networks might just be the long sought for solution.

Author: Precious Mutoru


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