Wider civil society in Uganda includes many voluntary organisations including cooperatives, traditional churches and other citizens’ organisations. The 1989 Act defines an NGO as an organisation established to provide voluntary services, including religious, educational, literary, scientific, social or charitable services to the whole community or any part of it.
NGOs in Uganda are governed by the NGO Registration Act 1989 (available to subscribers at Uganda Online Law Library) which was amended by the NGO Registration (Amendment) Act 2006.
The NGO Regulations were published in 1990.
The National Board of Non-governmental Organisations is charged under the current legal framework to oversee NGO activity. It meets once a month to consider new applications for registration. The NGO Board sits within the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development may also have contact with NGOs to approve the work plans when seeking registration.
The Government, under the Prime Minister’s Office, published a draft NGO Policy in 2008.
The Registration Act does require NGOs to submit annual reports.
In 2007 the National NGO Board reported over 5,500 NGOs on its register. This is not currently available online.
The Uganda National Forum has also worked with the Development Network of Indigenous Voluntary Associations to produce a certification mechanism. NGOs which reach the standard are granted the certification which should help with funding applications – the NGO Quality Assurance Mechanism.
Civicus’ report from its Civil Society Index programme
"Uganda" in Global Civil Society, Dimensions of the Nonprofit Sector, Vol. II (2004) Centre for Civil Society Studies, Johns Hopkins University