International Development

Civil Society Advocacy in Uganda: Lessons Learned

November 19, 2012  • David Devlin-Foltz

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Over several decades – and with increasing intensity in recent years – the non-governmental organization (NGO) sector in Uganda has participated in vigorous efforts to shape public policy. The emergence of such civil society advocacy in Uganda, as one commentator notes, refl ects the growing and welcome ability of civil society “to occupy space inadvertently ignored by government.” This study underscores the potential for charitable service delivery groups and rights-based organizations to bring their knowledge of real human needs to bear on the policies that constrain equitable access to services and fair treatment under law. Co-published with the Uganda National NGO Forum and featuring a thoughtful foreword by its director, Richard Ssewakiryanga, this study identifies cross-cutting issues and lessons learned from four case studies commissioned by the Forum.  The campaigns studied span a range of issues, time frames, and levels of contribution to the desired policy impact. Discussion questions following this overview and each case study may inspire deeper refl ection on the role of civil society advocacy in Uganda and in other settings.