An accounting officer in Kiryandongo has told Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) operating in the district to deliver efficient service delivery instead of bothering them with “hopeless stories”.
NGOs are acknowledged to be pivotal to poverty alleviation, especially in African countries where government capacity and revenues are often very limited.
However, Mr Jesse Tibemanya, the town clerk of Bweyale Town Council, said many development partners offering support to refugees and the host community in Kiryandongo have disappointed them because they are “dishonest”.
He was speaking at the handover of village savings and loan association (VSLA) items to youth and women groups in Bweyale Town Council on Tuesday.
The beneficiary groups were supported under the Youth Empowerment to Resilience (YER) project implemented by two partner organisations: Humane Africa Mission and Kids at Risk Uganda, with financial support from Children’s Rights and Violence Prevention Fund.
“Your input is always physical and we all witness them. We want to thank you for continuing to support the youth, women and children in the settlement and the host community,” Mr Tibemanya said.
“We thank you so much for empowering them because almost every week we are here to witness handover of items to these young people and women. You can imagine they are giving them cash not stories, we need this kind of support for our youth. Most of these NGOs like talking,” he added.
Mr Jonathan Opio, the executive director of Humane Africa Mission, said they have been working with a few groups both in the refugee settlement and the host communities since September 2021.
He said they want to achieve sustainable empowerment of youth and women; empowerment of youth to fight against sexual and gender based violence, and also promote awareness on sexual and reproductive health rights, among other objectives.
“I’m proud to announce that in our first year, we have been able to train at least 20 VSLA groups, with a total of 543 members. After a series of training, we equipped all these groups with VSLA kits. I am very proud of these men and women and in our last assessment, we learnt that our groups here that you see have savings totaling to Shs72,600,700,” Mr Opio said.
He lauded various leaders in Kiryandongo District who supported them throughout the processes of registering their beneficiaries.
“So, we have groups that know how to save and I think that is very important for the development of our community, and now we want to promote their savings. We know that savings need investment. You need to generate capital to be able to save,” Mr Opio said, adding that their organisations have also been working with four schools where they are training young people on sexual and gender-based violence.
Mr Henry Ssebunya, the Kiryandongo deputy Resident District Commissioner, said: “As government, we are really very grateful for your effort intended to ensure the livelihood of young people here is uplifted. I encourage you my dear friends here to work for unity and collective responsibilities to ensure that you achieve sustainable development.”
Mr Joseph Agotre, the in-charge of livelihood, clean energy and environment at the Office of the Prime Minister, advised the VSLA group members to keep practicing what they learnt so that they may not forget it.
“These days the government supports people who are in groups. The government does not support individuals. When you’re in a group, you can easily be identified and supported,” he said.