By HOMELAND MEDIA TEAM
The principal legal officer at the Uganda Law Reform Commission, Ms. Diana Doris Akiidii, has asked non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to consider building a pool of local donors, who could bail them out of financial challenges.
This comes at a time when NGOs are complaining of reduced foreign funding to Uganda.
Speaking at the dissemination of the findings of a study on effects of the America’s gag rule order in Kampala yesterday, Ms. Akiidii said it is not sustainable for NGOs to heavily rely on foreign funding.
“You should start thinking broader. Rotary is one of the institutions that you can approach for funding locally. Ugandans must start funding NGOs for sustainability,” she said.
Ms. Akiidii said NGOs are key in complementing the government in delivering sexual and reproductive health services to communities.
She added that there is a need for government to beef up manpower at health center IIIs and IVs to ensure effective service delivery.
Mr. Peter Eceru, the programme coordinator of the Advocacy Centre for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD), said the study revealed that over-reliance on foreign funding is extremely dangerous and that they need to internally look for resources to facilitate the provision of sexual and reproductive health services.
The study was conducted by Makerere University in partnership with Johns Hopkins University between 2017 and 2019 in 287 health facilities in Uganda.
It focused on the impact of the global gag rule instituted by former US president Donald Trump.
The gag rule stated that any foreign NGOs that want to continue receiving any US family planning funding must agree to stop providing abortion-related services. The rule was implemented during the presidency of Trump between 2017 and 2021. The rule is no longer being implemented.
However, the study revealed that in areas that were hit by the gag rule, provision of sexual and reproductive health services declined.
“The uptake of family planning commodities and services stagnated at 36 percent exposing young women and girls between the ages of 15 and 49 to unwanted pregnancies,” Mr. Eceru said.
He added: “We need to increase domestic funding so that when there are challenges globally, they don’t hit us directly as the global gag did.”