By Oyet Okwera
KAMPALA - The Ugandan ambassador to Finland has cautioned non-governmental organizations (NGOs) against competing with government projects in the various sectors in the country.
Ambassador Richard Mugera told NGOs to instead concentrate on what they are expected to do – that is, to fill in gaps left by government.
He made these remarks during the opening of the new local premises of Finn Church Aid – a Finnish NGO in development cooperation and humanitarian aid – located in Muyenga, Kampala.
The Ugandan envoy called on NGOs to organize different communities and sensitize them about business opportunities available in Uganda.
“Uganda can actually copy Finland’s approach of ensuring that all corners of the country develop all business opportunities for increased revenue which can be diverted to better infrastructure,” he said.
Uganda needs to prioritize her commitment to ensure that more people access clean and safe water, education and health services, said the envoy.
Mugera urged NGOs to strengthen collaborations with an overall aim of causing positive change to people’s livelihoods.
David Korpela, the regional representative of Finn Church Aid in East and Southern Africa, promised to lift the burden government has been facing in some projects.
“We have opened doors in Kampala because we do not believe that Uganda as a country deserves to be where it is in development, and in business opportunities,” he said.
“We believe that more input can increase investment opportunities in Uganda.”
Wycliffe Nsheka, the Rights-based Approach regional coordinator, said Ugandans will be trained in better approaches to explore business opportunities.
He talked of the need to empower marginalized communities and ensure that human rights are adhered to in the fight to alleviate poverty.
Finn Church Aid, he said, will focus on developing northern Uganda, particularly in the districts of Pader, Gulu and Oyam.
“Our focus will be in the agricultural sector because we believe that after land in the north has regained fertility, then peoples’ standard of living can improve greatly.
“We also plan to sensitize people to be prepared in handling disaster occurrences.”