What is a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) in Uganda?
A Non Governmental Organization (NGO) in Uganda is a legally constituted organization that may be a private voluntary grouping of individuals or associations established to provide voluntary services to the community or any part thereof but not for profit or commercial purposes. An NGO is an organization registered by the National Bureau for Non Governmental Organisations in accordance with the law. S.29 of the NGO Act 2016 requires all organizations intending to operate as NGO’s to be registered with the Bureau. Thereafter such NGO is issued a certificate of registration/incorporation with a registration date and number. In addition to the certificate of registration, an NGO is issued with a permit which mandates it to operate in a given geographical area and to carry out activities specified in the permit subject to conditions also specified in the permit. S. 29 is clear that an organization (NGO) shall not operate in Uganda with out a permit issued to it under the Act.
There are different categories of NGOs recognized in Uganda and these include;
- Community Based Organization (CBO). This is an organization operating at Sub County level and below, whose objectives is to promote and advance the wellbeing of members of the community.
- Indigenous organization. This is one that is wholly controlled by Ugandan citizens.
- Regional organization on the other hand is one is one incorporated in one or more of the Partner States of the East African Community and is partially or wholly controlled by citizens of one or more of the Partner States of the East African Community, and operating in Uganda under the authority of the permit issued by the Bureau.
- Continental organization. This is one that has its original incorporation in any African country, other than a Partner State of the East African Community and is wholly or partially controlled by citizens from such state and operating in Uganda under the authority of the permit issued by the Bureau.
- International organization. This is one that has its original incorporation in a country that is not one of the Partner States of the East African Community and is partially or wholly controlled by persons from one or more of such states and operating in Uganda under the authority of the permit issued by the Bureau.
- Foreign organization. This is one that does not have original incorporation in any country and is wholly or partially controlled by citizens of other countries that are not Partner states to the East African Community, and is operating under the authority of a permit issued by the Bureau.
Continuation of operation of organizations existing before the NGO 2016 Act in Uganda
All Non Governmental and community based organizations which existed immediately before the commencement of the 2016 Act, continue to be legally recognized as such. S. 59 of the Act saves these organizations and empowers them to continue operating as such.