seek http://cornerstone-edge.com/wp-content/plugins/jetpack/modules/notes.php geneva;”>While speaking to the civil societies during the official closure of the third annual Civil Society Organisation (CSO) fair at Hotel Africana, the minister said civil groups are free to exercise their rights provided they didn’t infringe on that of others.
“You are free to exercise your freedoms of association, assembly, and speech. However, while exercising your rights, you should not infringe on that of others,” warned Baba
He further said he had finished working on the NGOs’ Bill which is ready for discussion in Parliament.
“It is meant to harmonise current laws governing NGOs and it only includes those things we agreed on with you.”
The CSO fair started on Thursday with over 80 civil organizations both local and international among others; Invisible Children, Black Monday, Raising Voices, and The Human Rights Center Uganda showcasing their innovations and creating awareness to the public.
This year’s theme was, ‘Our country, My Dignity, My Duty’ an agenda “meant to trigger off increased civic engagement to consolidate citizenship and dignity for Ugandans”.
The exhibitors and presenters indeed lived not to disappoint – they presented in line with the year’s theme.
The fair was organized by the Uganda National NGO Forum, in partnership with other Civil Society Organisations.
The two-day fair which was held at Hotel Africana started on Thursday featuring exhibitions, presentations and discussions from various professionals.
People who had come from as far as Gulu, Kabale and other places had chance to freely consult and interact with exhibitors.
According to the organisers, Civil Society Organizations have been an integral part of Uganda’s development process for the past few decades.
However, their contribution to the Uganda is “bedeviled” by limited understanding of its work and impact by other key stakeholders and the general public.
In 1999 it was estimated that civil society accounted for about $89 million in expenditures, an amount equivalent to 1. 4 percent of GDP that year.
It was also found that the sector employs over 230,000 workers representing 2.3 percent of the country’s economically active population and 10.9 percent of its non-agricultural employment.
However, all these attempts have not conclusively addressed the real issue of a credible estimation of the contribution of NGOs and it is that reason that the idea of holding a CSO Fair to bring together various actors to showcase the work of CSOs was mooted and birthed, In order to address this anomaly.
The first National CSO fair was organised by the civil society fraternity in Uganda with the aim of profiling the value and contribution of civil society organisations to Uganda’s Development.