Authors: Asingwire, N., Muhangi, D., Namara, R., & Kemigisa , M.
Type: Grantee publication – working paper
This study uses qualitative and quantitative approaches to fill gaps in previous studies by shedding more light on the nature, governance, and scope of non-state actors (NSAs) in Uganda and related issues of performance and sustainability. The focus of this study is social protection interventions in three districts in Uganda: Rakai (ravaged by HIV especially in the 1980s and 1990s), Bushenyi (relatively stable) and Kole (post-conflict district). The study found that governance of mutual help groups such as burial groups was based on trust and lacked formal and rigid organisational structures. However, these groups offered crucial and timely interventions for felt and immediate needs that are unmet by either the government or externally funded non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The study underscores the need for formulating government policy that complements and enables NSAs rather than inhibiting and stifling the effort of these pivotal community-based organisations. Further, the study demonstrates how it behoves the government, which is charged with monitoring NSAs, to enable them to transition into more promotive and transformative entities. The study noted that NSAs are home-grown solutions to challenges of social protection as they depended mainly on resources generated by members rather than relying on external funding. In other words, NSAs respond appropriately to local circumstances, while operating without rigid and formal controls. In the process NSAs demonstrate more longevity and sustainability than NGOs whose programs are time-bound and are focused on specific problems such as dealing with the effects of civil war in Kole district in northern Uganda. Given the pivotal role NSAs play in providing social protection in Uganda, this study demonstrates that public policy should be geared towards minimising or eradicating the tension between NSAs and the government in the volatile regulatory landscape.
Key words: governance, social protection, sustainability, policy, vulnerability