Introduction & Background
Defenders Protection Initiative in collaboration with the Uganda National NGO Forum wishes to launch a signature event titled “Talk to Regulator” (T2R) with a focus on mitigating the knowledge gap and the misapplication of the NGO regulatory framework and its adverse effects on the civic space.
T2R is one of the several initiatives by DPI under her Compliance Watch Program geared at mitigating the unintended consequences attendant to any regulatory policy framework of the NGO sector in Uganda. Subsequently, DPI in collaboration with other national key sector players plans to convene quarterly-T2R – dialogue meetings both in, and out of the capital, as practical platforms/spaces for the NGO sector actors, relevant regulators, and segments of selected service providers to discuss and clarify issues relating to regulations and compliance. This program shall aim at enhancing regulatory excellence and operational efficiency while at the same time mitigating the risk of overregulating the sector and its attendant unintended consequences.
Why Talk To The Regulator?
Reflecting on the drivers of the shrinking civic space in Uganda, and the trust deficits, there is a significant latent desire for an engagement platform, that extends an opportunity for NGOs to learn from, and also voice sectoral concerns in line with the compliance obligations, under the different regulators that include among others National Bureau of NGOs, National Social Security Fund, Uganda Revenue Authority, Financial Intelligence Authority Uganda Registration Services Bureau, National Identification and Registration Authority, Uganda Communications Commission, Electoral Commission, Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control etc. This follows the recent NGO Bureau notification of cessation or suspension of operations of a large number of NGOs, citing the little-known Non-Governmental Organisations Act 2016 by many domestic and international bodies. The argument that these groups have not complied with the Act is based on the legal adage of “ignorance of the law is no defense,” hence raising the necessity to create awareness of all the vital statutory obligations for NGOs in Uganda.
Additionally, most of our beneficiaries under the Compliance Watch program have expressed concern about the restrictive NGO regulatory framework and it’s undesirable impact on the ability of the NGO actors to function independently in their contribution to good public works.
Meet The Convenors
Defenders Protection Initiative-DPI
Established in 2013, DPI is a duly registered non-profit organization that contributes to promoting a safer working environment for the civil society in Uganda. It was founded by human rights activists and security management specialists.
Besides coordinating the Compliance Watch programs, DPI coordinates several loose initiatives to contribute to a safer working environment for NGOs in Uganda. DPI has successfully conducted strategic studies and raised awareness through dialogue convenings and training workshops on Context Risk Management, Digital security, Anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regimes, and the NGO compliance obligations in Africa and beyond.