The Icelandic International Development Agency ICEIDA initiated its cooperation with Uganda in 2000 when a General Development Cooperation Agreement between the countries was signed. Opening of an Icelandic Embassy in June 2004 further strengthened the relations between the countries.
In the first years, the cooperation focused on support to the national Functional Adult Literacy Program (FALP) in fishing communities on Lake Victoria, quality assurance in fisheries and prefeasibility studies of geothermal prospects. Recently, two new project were launched namely; support to the Kalangala District Development Program, and support to Entrepreneurship Training Programs. Furthermore, ICEIDA has provided direct support to MGLSD and various local NGO´s. A brief description of the current ICEIDA cooperation projects can be seen below.
In December 2006 the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Iceland decided to provide a generous contribution to the World Food Program (WFP) targeting school children in Malawi and Uganda under WFP's school feeding activities in these countries. The concept behind this contribution was for each school age child in Iceland to contribute to the education of one child in Africa through WFP's school feeding, for a period of 2 years.
From Iceida´s Annual Report 2009:
For Uganda, 2009 was a good year. The international financial crisis had minimal effect and banks operating in the country did not encounter the difficulties experienced by banks all over the world. GDP increased by 8-9% which is above the 7% average of the past ten years, although below the government's target of 10%. Increase in economic growth was mostly in services, including the communications sector, financial sector and the tourist industry, but less in the production sector. In agriculture, which provides 80% of the population with their livelihoods, the increase was a mere 1.2% between years, a 12% decline in fisheries playing a large part in this respect. This development has raised concerns as in order to reduce the number of people living in poverty in Uganda to below 20% the value of agricultural products must increase by at least 10% annually. It is therefore evident that in order to reduce poverty in the country agriculture must yield more and a greater variety of jobs must be offered to those working in agriculture, and this will be one of the main focus points in the country's new development plan.
If the anticipated progress in Uganda is to become a reality, it is necessary to concentrate efforts in road construction and energy matters in the country. A mere 3% of the population has access to electricity which is mainly available in and around the capital and larger towns, and only around 1% of the rural areas has access to the national grid. Two new hydroelectric power plants are under construction and the current situation will improve greatly once production starts. Uganda's plans for the future entail connecting 10% of the rural areas to the national grid before 2012. The country's road network is in very poor condition, especially in the capital Kampala, where the situation has become critical. A great effort has to be made in the transportation sector so that this will not hamper future development plans. The transportation sector has been prioritised in Uganda's budget for 2009/10 and the plan is to make an initiative in road and railway transportation over coming years in order to avoid this.
In 2009, for the second year running, there was peace in the northern districts of Uganda, where the inhabitants had been virtually under siege for twenty five years, due to the terrorist acts of Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army. Inhabitants in the north, many of whom have lived in refugee camps under difficult conditions for years on end, returned in droves to their homelands and started rebuilding their former habitats. The Ugandan authorities have formulated an extensive plan to rebuild northern Uganda following this period of unrest and the donors will presumably handsomely support this plan in order to re-establish the normal situation as soon as possible.
Uganda is still amongst the nations on the list of Transparency International where corruption is believed to be widespread. Increasingly, extensive discussions have taken place in Uganda over the past years on these issues and the authorities are under great pressure, both domestically and internationally, to address this problem. Following the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in the autumn of 2007, intense discussions took place on the extensive misuse of funds Uganda received from various donors of development aid to meet the costs of the meeting. The authorities were under great pressure to take matters firmly in hand and 2009 was characterised by extensive public discussions and investigation of these matters, some of which were brought to the courts. The hope now is that the authorities will show in practice that no corruption will be tolerated in the Ugandan administration and that such matters will be met with full force.
Uganda now looks with growing optimism to the future after oil was found under Lake Albert in western Uganda. The quantity of oil and ease of its extraction are still uncertain, although the plan is to start pumping and refining the oil within 2-3 years. It is clear this discovery of oil can have a significant impact on the nation's economy and could make the country energy independent. Nonetheless, many have also raised concerns that the oil could cause a great misfortune if matters are badly handled.
Presidential elections will be held in 2011 and president Museveni, who has ruled for 25 years, will seek re-election. As the year went on, there was growing tension due to the forthcoming elections and the political debate in the country became more aggravated. Harsh conflicts and violence between political parties have accompanied elections in Uganda in the past and in all likelihood the coming elections will be no exception.
Development Cooperation between ICEIDA and Uganda
In 2009, development cooperation between Iceland and Uganda was, as hitherto, concerned with fisheries, adult literacy, rural development and entrepreneurship training. A new project on quality issues was formally launched in April 2009, the target of which is to build capacity and know-how in fisheries communities on quality issues and the marketing of fish products. A local expert, James Sekatawa, was hired as project manager for the project in June 2009.
This year, participation in the implementation of adult literacy in Uganda, which has long been a large part of the ICEIDA operation in the country, was altered to some extent. Ugandan authorities have made the decision to integrate all training and education of adults in all sectors and the Ministry of Social Security was entrusted with this responsibility. As the adult literacy project in Mukono came to a close, work began in cooperation with the ministry to develop an adult literacy policy in Uganda with this integration in mind. In all likelihood, support regarding its implementation will be ICEIDA's main emphasis in this field in the near future.
Two Icelandic project managers, Lilja Kolbeinsdóttir and Gunnar Þórðarson, left their jobs in the middle of 2009 and Geir Oddsson, former Country Director in Nicaragua, replaced them in September 2009. With this, certain changes have been made to project management in Uganda where local project managers are now hired for the projects while a project manager from the country office is more involved in supervision and follow-up rather than directly in project implementation.
Support to the Education Sector
Support to the Implementation of Uganda's Functional Adult Literacy Programme (Non-formal education)
The Functional Adult Literacy Programme (FALP) in Uganda has been shown to significantly increase the learner's access to information, positively impacting their livelihoods and empowering them to participate in development at a personal, community and national level. ICEIDA has been supporting the FALP in Uganda since 2002 and the support of the FALP in Mukono District ended in 2009, with the support of FALP in Kalangala District coming to a close at the end of 2010. The GoU, through the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Sustainable Development, has been reviewing its Non-Formal Adult Learning Policy, enabling ICEIDA to align its future support of adult learning in Uganda to new GoU policy objectives.
Support at the Local Level
ICEIDA's contribution towards the implementation of the FALP in Mukono and Kalangala districts continued in 2009. It consisted of training and capacity building for implementing staff and FALP instructors, implementing Alan Rogers' recommendations by redesigning the instructors' and FALP supervisors' training, training of District Resource Teams in Social Literacies model, and an exposure visit to stakeholders implementing Adult Literacy Programmes without the use of pre-printed materials. Learner assessment was conducted by administering proficiency tests and operation of 83 FALP groups with 1,411 learners in Kalangala and 232 FALP groups with 3,944 learners in Buvuma and Koome Islands, a total of 315 FALP groups with 5,355 learners. The number of learners who participated in the Small Business Course and Functional English for Adults increased in both projects. A total of 2,600 learners passed the proficiency tests and were awarded certificates at the annual Literacy Day celebrations held at various sub-counties.
An external evaluation for the Mukono project was conducted during the months of May and June. The evaluation findings indicated that the project was highly relevant, effectiveness was satisfactory, efficiency was moderately satisfactory, impact was reported to have been satisfactory and sustainability was reported to be moderately satisfactory.
While implementing the sector-specific literacy programme of the FAL in BMUs in the Ssesse Islands, training of group facilitators was conducted and materials were developed. Support supervision visits for the FAL in BMUs conducted during 2009 indicated that there were improvements being made by the fisherfolk. There was measurable improvement in fish handling and processing, there was also improvement in record keeping and management in the BMU offices and some individual members kept proper records for their businesses. Support supervision visits for the FAL in BMU indicated that there were 4,788 members who had registered in the 64 BMUs of whom 1,314 were females and 3,474 were males.
Support at National Level
The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development received support from ICEIDA to complete the Non–Formal Adult Learning Policy and the National Action Plan for Adult Literacy, expected to be finalized in early 2010. This work will provide direction for the FALP during the implementation period of the forthcoming National Development Plan.
International Literacy Day was held in September 2009, in Lira District under the theme: “Literacy for Universal Education and Civic Rights”. ICEIDA supported the organisation of the symposium and ICEIDA staff participated.
Support to the Kalangala District Development Programme (Rural Development)
The Kalangala District Development Programme (KDDP) is being implemented in the island district of Kalangala. The district has 84 scattered islands of which 64 are populated. The principal objective of this rural development project is to support the implementation of the Kalangala District Development Plan and by doing so enhance the ability of the district to deliver the decentralized services within its mandate. The project will last for ten years and supports four sectors: administration, fisheries, education and health. The support is for training, infrastructure development and service delivery.
In 2009, infrastructure development took off with the building of infrastructure and piped water system on the landing sites of Kachanga and Namisoke. These two landing sites are a part of five fishing villages that have been identified to be developed as modern fishing villages, within the project. Work also started on the construction of two dormitories and school kitchens in Kibanga and Kagulube primary schools. The dormitories will house 160 children and are a part of the strategic plan of the project to work towards equal access to primary education in the district. Future plans include one more dormitory for eighty children to be constructed in Mazinga sub-county and school kitchens for all the 23 primary schools in the district.
Other major activities that took place in 2009 include the bottom-up planning exercise that took place in all sub-counties in the district. This is the first step towards formulating an inclusive District Development Plan as stipulated in the Local Government Act, that takes into account the planning needs of the population from the village level, through to the sub-county and district level. Consultative workshops have been held in all sub-counties and the results forwarded to the District where priority issues will be captured in the 2010-2011 DDP that is currently being developed.
The focus of KDDP support to education shifted in 2009 towards more direct support to the primary schools in the district in terms of delivering scholastic materials, textbooks and exercise papers, to prepare the pupils for taking exams. This is more especially directed towards the upper primary school children where the dropout rate is high and the pass rate in primary seven (last year of primary school) is relatively low overall in the country. Support to sports and music, dance and drama in primary schools is ongoing and this greatly enhances the school-going experience of the pupils.
In 2009, the project provided solar-powered systems for the three health centres III (serve at sub-county level) in Kyamuswa, Bubeke and Bufumira, as well as for health centre IV, which serves the whole district. This is a part of the KDDP strategy to enhance service delivery in the sector. Another effort is the ongoing ARV (Anti Retroviral) outreaches where health services to HIV positive people are brought closer to the people, in an effort to boost service delivery.
Support to the Fisheries Sector
Fisheries is one of the main production sectors in Uganda, both as measured in export earnings and as represented by the number of people that depend on fisheries for a living. The fisheries on Lake Victoria, shared between Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya, are one of the most important inland fisheries in the world, with estimated catches of more than one million tonnes per year. Catches of the most important commercial species, such as Nile perch, have been declining, from a high of 330,000 tonnes in 1993 to 234,000 tonnes in 2007 and further since then. This is due to a continuously increasing fishing effort, illegal fishing and illegal fishing gear. This decline in catches and increase in fishing effort has had serious impacts on fishing communities and the fishing industry in Uganda, not only on Lake Victoria but probably even more serious on lakes Kyoga, Albert, Edward and George. Export earnings from the fisheries products peaked at 145 m USD in 2008, but have been declining since. A greater proportion of exports have been going to regional markets and relative importance of species has been shifting, with increased importance of Mukene (silver fish) at the cost of Nile perch and tilapia. These recent trends in the Ugandan fisheries sector have supported the decision of the Government of Uganda to focus more on quality rather than quantity in the fisheries sector. The Icelandic Government has been assisting the GoU, through support to the Department of Fisheries Resources (DFR) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), in achieving its objectives of quality assurance of fisheries products for internal and international markets.
Support to the Quality Assurance for Fish Marketing Project (QAFMP)
The Quality Assurance for Fish Marketing Project (QAFMP) is one of the main efforts of the DFR in supporting the Ugandan fishing industry in meeting market requirements for quality assurance and safety of fisheries products. The implementation of the QAFMP started in April 2009, after a prolonged preparation period. The QAFMP is focused on increasing quality of fisheries products and minimizing post-harvest losses of the fisheries in five districts around Lake Kyoga and the four districts of Lake Albert.
Activities during the first year of implementation included preparation for the training of BMUs, such as development and adaptation of training material, as well as training of supervisors and trainers. District Fisheries Offices have been renovated or constructed in five of the nine districts and the offices furnished, provided with computers and internet connection, furthermore motorcycles where provided for the five district offices. District Fisheries Officers (DFOs) received ICT training and refresher training in quality assurance, inspection, and certification was held for the DFOs and DFR inspectors. The DFR received field inspection kits containing equipment and supplies necessary for quality assurance sampling. All of these activities are intended to strengthen the competent authority in carrying out its mandate in quality assurance of fish products. Short local study tours for DFOs have been carried out to introduce best practices in quality inspections.
Support to Uganda Fisheries Laboratory (UFL)
ICEIDA has continued to support the DFR's Uganda Fisheries Laboratory towards ISO - 17025 accreditation, which is necessary to fulfill the quality assurance requirements of Uganda's biggest export markets. It is expected that the laboratory will complete the accreditation process in 2010.
Support to Private Sector Development
Uganda Investment Authority Entrepreneurship Training Program (UIA-ETP)
The joint ICEIDA-Belgium support to the Entrepreneurship Training Program for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Uganda, implemented by the Uganda Investment Authority and supervised by ICEIDA, continued in 2009. Twelve new trainers were trained at Reykjavik University during the month of June, a total of 20 trainers have been trained in Iceland and all of them are active in the ETP. The implementing partner considers the ETP to be a great success, not least the number of entrepreneurs that have been trained; to date between five and six thousand entrepreneurs have been trained in key business skills. Follow-up on the efficiency of the training has been made through so-called Business Health Checks, showing good retention of skills. The program objectives of reaching women entrepreneurs where exceeded during the implementation period. Training has been carried out in all the regions of Uganda with emphasis on providing training in Northern Uganda.
Support to NGOs
The foundation for supporting NGOs and grassroots projects is to promote civil society and democratic development in Uganda. ICEIDA supported a number of local NGOs involved in social and educational projects in 2009. The following list shows the given supports:
Adult Literacy and Basic Education
Kalangala FALP Instructors Association (KAFIA) got support for the running of its office and training of its members in running of a saving and credit scheme.
Buvuma and Koome FALP Instructors Association (BuKoFIA), Mukono District, was given support to write a constitution, legalise and launch the association, as well as training in setting up a savings and credit cooperation (SACCO).
A grant for writing a book on the history of the Ssesse Islands, in Luganda, one of the major languages of Uganda, was given. The book, “Ebyafaayo By'abasese”, was written by Eliphaz Lubina Maaso and Majanja Zaalyembikke. The book has been distributed to all the FAL groups in Kalangala and Mukono Districts and is sold in local bookshops.
Venerable Social Groups
Candle Light Foundation (CLF) – a rehabilitation centre for vulnerable girls in Kampala received support for its vocational training programme (tailoring, hairdressing, jewellery, candle and soap-making).
One scholarship towards tuition fees was given to Edward Kabangoya for a Masters of Arts in Development Economics at the School of Development Studies at the University of East Anglia, UK.
Cross-Cutting Issues - Gender
Uganda Investment Authority – Entrepreneurship Training Programme
Although younger women are well represented in entrepreneurship in Uganda, women are still underrepresented in formalized business. Challenges all entrepreneurs face are often more pronounced for women entrepreneurs. The Government of Uganda places particular emphasis on the role of women in poverty eradication and economic growth. Therefore, the UIA-ETP has successfully targeted women as beneficiaries of business skills training, with almost 60% of participants being women.