Friday May 9 2014

Donors resume funding to Red Cross

By Frederic Musisi

Donor countries have resumed funding to the Uganda Red Cross Society following reassurances that all administrative and financial loopholes have been fixed to avoid previous mistakes in management, the organisation announced yesterday.

The body’s interim secretary general, Mr Ken Odur, said they had received $2 million (about Shs5 billion) from the Red Cross of Netherlands which will be used for administrative costs and rebranding operations in the 51 branches across the country.

“For the last couple of months, we have demonstrated to our donors the steps taken. And by the end of March, they had indicated that they would resume funding for our activities,” Mr Odur said, during the launch of the two months (June and July) activities for the organisation’s golden jubilee celebrations.

Last year, URCS was faced with scandals after former secretary Richard Nataka was implicated in smuggling and evading of customs following a police raid on his home in Bunga, a Kampala suburb, where goods reportedly worth Shs800 million were recovered.

Following the incident, several Red Cross donor branches worldwide froze more than 80 per cent funding to the humanitarian organisation.
Mr Odur also said the organisation was realigning its operations to restore public trust and confidence.
Mr Musa Ecweru, the junior Minister for Disaster Preparedness, said they should reach the grass roots.
The climax of the jubilee celebrations will be on July 30.

expand assistance
The URCS undersecretary, Mr Richard Chaddy, said they wanted to widen the scope of their humanitarian contribution and responsibility to accidents and other man-made disasters. The body also revealed plans to roll out school campaigns to increase their volunteer base and other plans on re-afforestation countrywide.