In a landmark move aimed at bolstering civil society engagement and empowerment in Uganda, the European Union (EU) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) have jointly pledged a staggering sum of UGX 63.7 billion. 

This substantial investment is designated to support the Civil Society Strengthening Programme II (CUSP II), an initiative orchestrated to amplify the impact of local civil society organizations (CSOs) on the country’s development trajectory.

CUSP II holds a multifaceted objective of fortifying the capacities of over 150 national and grassroots civil society organizations, empowering them to actively participate in and effectively engage with development processes at both local and national levels. 

The program endeavors to foster collaboration between state institutions and CSOs, thereby facilitating the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Uganda.

Nicolas Gonze, the Team Leader for Governance and Social Inclusion at the EU Delegation in Uganda, underscored the pivotal role played by civil society in Uganda’s development landscape. 

“Civil society significantly contributes to the development of Uganda,” Gonze affirmed. “To unleash their full potential, civil society organizations need to be responsive, competent, and resilient. We are committed to supporting the development of their capacities across the country and strengthening cooperation between state institutions and civil society at national and local levels.”

Echoing these sentiments, David Löw, Deputy Head of Cooperation at the German Embassy Kampala, emphasized CUSP’s overarching goal of harnessing the potential of civil society for Uganda’s development.

 “Placing CSOs in a strong position to work towards their goals, as well as fostering good and mutual working relations between CSOs and the government, are key to the program,” Löw elucidated. “Through that, for example, we aim for improved service delivery, especially for the most vulnerable members of society.”

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The efficacy of the first phase of CUSP, underpinned by funding from the EU and BMZ, is evident in its significant impact on civil society empowerment, engagement, and service delivery enhancement.

 Notable achievements include the establishment of a dialogue forum between state actors and CSOs regarding the implementation, monitoring, and review of the SDGs, as well as the promotion of CSO participation in development processes across 78 districts nationwide. 

Additionally, over 1,600 CSO employees received comprehensive training on institutional development, strategic planning, management, and resource mobilization.

CUSP II, under the thematic banner of “Empowering citizens, leaving no one behind,” is poised to build upon these successes, with a steadfast commitment to inclusive development. 

Tassilo von Droste, the esteemed Head of the CUSP program at GIZ, emphasized the imperative of citizen participation in development processes and the enjoyment of human rights for all. 

“Participation in development processes and the enjoyment of human rights by all is a prerequisite for sustainable development,” von Droste asserted. “People whose voices are often not heard need to receive specific support so that they can weigh in on important decisions that affect their lives.”

With a resolute focus on empowering citizens and fostering inclusive development, CUSP II is set to play a pivotal role in advancing Uganda’s developmental agenda and ensuring that no one is left behind in the journey towards prosperity and progress.


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