The Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) and the National Lottery Community UK have launched $1m (Shs3.7b) fund for building the capacity of disabled persons organisations.
Under the arrangement, AKDN will provide $500,000, while the National Lottery Community UK will provide $505,000.
The two-year programme will be implemented by the Aga Khan Foundation Uganda, Civ-Source, Independent Development Fund and the National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda (NUDIPU).
While launching the programme yesterday at Hotel Africana in Kampala, Ambassador Amin Mawji OBE, the Diplomatic Representative of the Aga Khan Development Network in Uganda, said the overall purpose of this initiative is to strengthen the disability movement to create opportunities for and improve the quality of life of persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Uganda.
“I am very hopeful that this partnership will yield results. The issue of disability is very important to us because it’s at the core of values in the organisation. For us as network, our mission is to improve quality of life irrespective of religion, race and other issues,” he said.
He said the first phase aims to improve the internal organisational capacity of the persons with disabilities organisations and create diversified revenue streams, while the second phase will lead to improved relationships and opportunities for learning among the DPOs and with other actors within and beyond the disability sector to enhance impact for PWDs.
According to him, AKF’s work in strengthening the resilience of civil society is founded upon the belief of His Highness the Aga Khan that “civil society is one of the most powerful forces in our time, one that will become an increasingly universal influence.”
“Civil society around the world should be vigorously encouraged and wisely nurtured by those who have made it work most successfully. We envision developing resilient values-based civil societies which demonstrate greater competency, legitimacy, accountability and sustainability and more so in Uganda,” he said.
He said the investment seats well with the network’s values of inclusive and gender equitable development ensuring access to opportunities and means for people of all diversity.
“We would like to extend our experience of over 100 years of building robust institutions that experiment, adapt and accommodate diversity, to create a vibrant and competent disability sector in Uganda. Because, this could be pivotal to improving the quality of life of PWDs as it has been with the groups, which we have worked with over the years.”
Mr Mpima Bumali, the chairperson of National Union of Disabled Persons in Uganda, said the project has come at a time when it is needed most.
He said several organisations for the disabled persons struggle with the issues of funding and capacity building because not much is offered to them.
This is a great achievement because this will change the lives of persons with disability. The issue of capacity building has been lacking in many of the organisations of persons with disabilities, so I think by the end of the two years, we would have achieved a lot,” he said.
Mr Samson Masiga, the principal rehabilitation officer at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development advised the organisations for persons with disabilities to draft and present their issues in clear way so that they can get the needed help.
He said many times the disability issues are not mainstreamed in the planning processes because the people in charge of planning do not understand the issues.
“The economists in the country are in the wild, they are failing to understand our issues, and they are failing to give us resources because we have failed to present our issues to them. How best can we package ourselves to benefit from all the available opportunities,” he wondered.
Mr Masiga said over the years, government has continued to increasing grants to the persons with disabilities, which now stands at Shs10b.
“The grants for the disability now stands at Shs10b and we as disabled persons and those who support them, should make sure the funds realise its objectives,” he said.