"DFID has this year doubled its contribution to the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF) due to its commitment to governance as a foundation of any well functioning society.” revealed Geraldine O Callaghan, Chairperson of the DGF Steering Committee, while opening the second synergy building workshop held in Mbarara on 4-5 September, 2014 for DGF Partners operating in Western Uganda. She further noted that, “the DGF is one of the largest governance fund of its kind in the world.” This was in reference to DGF’s model of eight development partner countries (Austria, Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden & United Kingdom) and the European Union creating an over 100 million Euro basket fund, managed by a Project Management Unit and implemented by 85 state and non-state partners.  She informed partners that the DGF ‘is a movement that has attracted attention from many developing partners as a likely new approach to development funding.”

Dr. Pamela Mbabazi, a member of the DGF Board, thanked the CSOs for the tremendous work they are doing to strengthen democratization, protect human rights, improve access to justice and enhance accountability in the Western Region and Uganda at large. She noted that the work DGF partners do should be guided by the belief that sustainable development is best achieved through constructive engagement of Ugandan citizens at all levels.  She, however, emphasized the need to continuously assess the impact of their activities and re-strategized if necessary. 

The workshop which was attended by twenty CSOs drawn from Kigezi,  Rwenzori, Bunyoro and Ankole sub-regions was aimed at creating synergies among DGF Partners working in the region.    According to Lars P. Christensen, the Head of Programme at the DGF, “synergy workshops give an opportunity to partners working in the same region to share experiences and build partnerships for greater success within their region.” He further informed participants that besides synergy workshops, DGF also holds thematic workshops that focus on technical challenges which help partners working on the same theme come up with solutions to common challenges.  He added that, “Partnership conferences held once a year brings together heads of all DGF partners and representatives of DGF Board and Steering Committee members to discuss programme strategy, impact and the operating environment.”

Dixon Kabuye, the Resident District Commissioner for Mbarara, thanked CSOs and development partners for supporting Government programmes by filling gaps which cannot be done by government due to limited resources. He however challenged participants to find solutions to poverty as a key catalyst for challenges leading to corruption, poor governance and up holding of justice in Uganda.

The participants’ representative Apollo Kakonge, requested development partners to reconsider their biased stand on Western Uganda as an already developed region. He emphasized the fact that while a few areas in the region are developed, a large part of the region still requires support.

At the end of the workshop, participants came up with action plans to increase their collaboration and coordination in addressing core issues in their respective sub-regions as a mean of achieving greater efficiency and impact from their interventions.