A Community Based Organisation (CBO) is an organisation operating at a subcounty level and below whose objectives is to promote and advance the wellbeing of the members of the community1. CBOs are the easiest ways of mobilising local resources and have a great impact address challenges faced by the local community, CBOs also have been proficient to empower people in the communities to participate in development initiatives.

However, starting up a CBO in Uganda is not as simple as it may seem as there are some legal, administrative, and operational requirements that you need to fulfill before you can register and run your CBO effectively. Here are some of the things you need to know before starting up a CBO in Uganda:

Legal Requirements

According to the National Bureau for Non Governmental Organisations (NGO Bureau), which is the regulatory body for all non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and CBOs in Uganda, you need to have the following documents and information to register your CBO:

  • A cover letter addressed to the chairperson of the District NGO Monitoring Committee (DNMC) seeking for registration of the CBO.
  • Form K, which is the application form for registration of a CBO. You can download it from the NGO Bureau website here.
  • A registered copy of the constitution of the CBO, which should contain the name, objectives, membership, governance structure, sources of funding, and dissolution clause of the CBO.
  • A recommendation from the Sub county Non-Governmental Organisations Monitoring Committee (SNMC), which is the local committee that oversees the activities of NGOs and CBOs at the subcounty level.
  • A work plan and budget or strategic plan for the CBO, which should show the activities, outputs, outcomes, indicators, and resources of the CBO for a given period of time.
  • Proof of payment of the prescribed fees, which are UGX 10,000 for registration and UGX 20,000 for annual renewal.

You need to submit these documents and information to the DNMC at your district headquarters. The DNMC will then review your application and issue you with a certificate of registration and a permit of operation if your application is approved. Please Note that the permit and certificate must be renewed every year to avoid disruptions for non compliance.

Apart from the legal requirements, you also need to have some administrative systems and structures in place to run your CBO effectively. These include:

  1. A clear vision, mission, and objectives for your CBO, which should guide your activities and decisions.
  2. A governance structure, which should define the roles and responsibilities of the board members, staff members, volunteers, and beneficiaries of your CBO.
  3. A financial management system, which should ensure accountability, transparency, and efficiency in handling your funds. You should have a bank account, a budget, a cash book, a ledger, receipts, vouchers, and financial reports for your CBO.
  4. A monitoring and evaluation system, which should help you track your progress, measure your impact, and learn from your experiences. You should have a log frame, indicators, data collection tools, feedback mechanisms, and reports for your CBO.
  5. A communication strategy, which should help you raise awareness, mobilise support, and share information about your CBO. You should have a logo, a website or social media page, a newsletter or blog post or flyer or brochure or poster or radio program or video or podcast or any other media platform for your CBO.

Operational Requirements

Finally, you also need to have some operational skills and knowledge to run your CBO effectively. These include:

  • A needs assessment skill, which should help you identify the problems and opportunities in your community and prioritise your interventions accordingly.
  • A project management skill, which should help you plan, implement, monitor, evaluate, and report on your activities in a timely and quality manner.
  • A resource mobilisation skill, which should help you secure funds and other resources from various sources such as donors, government agencies, corporate entities or individuals for your activities.
  • A partnership building skill, which should help you establish and maintain good relationships with other stakeholders such as local leaders, government officials, other NGOs or CBOs, media outlets, or beneficiaries for your activities.
  • Advocacy skill, which should help you influence policies, practices, and attitudes that affect your community and promote positive change.

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