As part of a GIZ programme strengthening governance and civil society, NIRAS’s work aims to increase horizontal and vertical connections within civil society by fostering exchange between the state and CSOs.
On 1 March 2019, NIRAS launched its activities for the implementation of a new contract that involves training of civil society organisation (CSO) staff in Uganda and advisory support to GIZ’s implementation team. The initiative, Civil Society in Uganda Support Programme (CUSP), runs until the end of 2021 and is co-funded by the European Union through a delegated agreement with GIZ.
The Government of Uganda has taken large strides in changing policies to take a human rights-based approach and address poverty, but progress in the implementation of these policies are hampered by a lack of transparency and the restrictions placed on CSOs, which can provide guidance on what needs to be done. On the other hand, the civil society sector in Uganda also is not as effective as it could be, despite seeing exponential growth in the number of civil society participants in the past 30 years. This creates a situation where progress is brought to a halt due to inefficiencies on both sides.
In response to this situation, GIZ launched the German–Ugandan Strengthening Governance and Civil Society Programme (GCSP), which is approaching this challenge by simultaneously providing support to the government and the civil society sector. GCSP will be implemented nationwide and aims to increase the capacities of selected government and civil society actors to work towards the adherence to human rights and governance principles. GCSP focuses on five action areas which aim to strengthen: 1) external accountability; 2) human rights; 3) an enabling environment for civil society; 4) civil society participation; and 5) service delivery and advocacy of CSOs. CUSP focuses on the last three of these areas.
NIRAS and our local partner the African Capacity Development and Research Institute (ACADRI) have been contracted to provide support to CUSP in the form of developing educational materials based on the needs of the civil society sector and delivering training courses across the country. The intention is to improve the knowledge and skills of civil society players (including but not limited to CSOs, trade unions, and informal youth civil society groups) so they can become more efficient at what they do.
In addition to this, NIRAS will provide five international short-term experts who will provide advice to CUSP’s GIZ implementation team for the duration of the project.
By providing support to CUSP, NIRAS will be directly contributing to SDG 1 (end all forms of poverty everywhere), SDG 16 (promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development; provide access to justice for all; and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels), and SDG 17 (strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development). Moreover, the support to civil society will indirectly lead to contributions to all the SDGs.