Masaka district Non- Government Organization Forum (NGO Forum) has closed down its offices citing funding shortfalls.
Masaka district NGO forum has been operating an office in Nyendo-a Masaka suburb until early this year. The offices were opened at the beginning of last year by Godfrey Mwanje, the Chairperson Masaka district NGO Forum to oversee the operations of over 30 civil society and community based organizations operating in the district.
NGO Forum was paying 200,000 shillings every month to Matabaalo and family which owns the six roomed premises.
NGO Forum decided to close the offices after failing to secure more funding.
Godfrey Mwanje, the Masaka District NGO Forum Chairperson says he decided to close the offices after failing to get money to sustain it.
Speaking on phone from Kenya where he is attending a meeting, Mwanje explains that they used to get money from subscribing civil society and community based organizations. However, some of these organisations have declined to continue paying subscription.
Mwanje says he could no longer pay the NGO Forum coordinator and meet all other associated bills because of lack of funds.
Gerald Walujo, the Masaka District NGO Forum Coordinator says he spent several months without being paid despite the fact that NGO Forum pledged to support him financially.
The closure of the offices has been met with surprise by several Masaka district civil society organizations, community based organizations. There are now plans to form a parallel NGO Forum based in the district.
Fisal Kirabira, a member of Masaka NGO Forum says they want to form own other vibrant network of organizations because the current NGO Forum is incompetent.
Kirabira, the coordinator of Buddu Social Development Association, claims that although Masaka NGO Forum under the leadership of Godfrey Mwanje was supposed to take disciplinary action against non-compliant members, it has failed.
He also says Mwanje never used to call for meetings during which members would be reminded to pay up subscription which money would be used to pay for offices and other bills.
Flavia Namusu, a resident of Nyendo-Masaka, says she doesn’t see the relevancy of Masaka district NGO Forum. She claims that apart from attending workshops to get facilitation, which benefits them as individuals, it has no direct relevancy to communities. She claims that there serious issues in which some fake NGOs are operating illegally but there is no action done.
Namusu, however, fails to name any of such NGOS.
Joseph Kasirye, another resident of Masaka has accused Godfrey Mwanje, the Chairperson of NGO Forum of incompetence.
Masaka district has over 30 registered Non-Government Organizations providing health related services among other issues.