ACF Uganda – We see corruption as a major spoiler of development

By Milena Rampoldi, ProMosaik. In the following my interview with Ivan Atuyambe of the Africa Challenge Foundation working for community development in Uganda. 


What are the most urgent development issues in Uganda? 

Youth employment creation and economic alternatives for graduate and non graduate youth should be seen and treated as a very urgent development for Uganda. A growing number of unemployed youth is a governance and social risk for Uganda as most resort to crime and social evils. 
What are the events that brought to the foundation of ACF and what are its activities?
We started ACF with the aim of promoting sustainable good governance as the only basis for sustainable human development and social-political stability. We see corruption as a major spoiler of development as funds meant for development get diverted into individual pockets, resulting into either substandard development outcomes or zero development results in certain instances as we have seen in many developing countries.
How would you define your approach?

We combine leadership development with building of integrity and fighting corruption as the cornerstone for a well functioning society with equality and justice, in which everyone is assured of deserved opportunity and contributes to their best of ability to collective progress. 
In what ways do you foster gender equality?
Gender is of a major interest to our work. First, we promote equal representation of women and men throughout our leadership structures. For example, it is in our internal governance policy that for deputised positions, if the head is male, deputy must be female and vice versa. Programmatically, we have been running gender equality seminars for youth at universities to inculcate equality values among young professionals. We have also mentored and promoted young women to join mainstream politics all through our work since 2009. Today, one or two of our active members is a youth MP representing the Central Uganda in the current parliament in Uganda.
What are according to your experience the most effective ways to ensure community empowerment?
People will only develop themselves by what they do; they develop themselves by making their own decisions (judgments), by increasing their own knowledge and ability and by their own full participation as equals….A community of people strives to make it possible for its members to satisfy their fundamental human needs and to enhance the quality of their  lives…….It is about people and the way they live, work and relate. It is not about objects, things, or services given to them. The purpose of objects, things, and services…is to serve the people. (Francis W. Mulwa 2008:26)
I can hence say:
People know what the problem is, have what to offer, they just need extra assistance. 
Target communities are not just beneficiaries, but are rather owners/stakeholders. They may just be unaware of what they are capable of and are often fearful and inert, just cant act. Involve them from day one, otherwise you may be rejected for your skills.
Do you cooperate with local authorities and institutions? If yes, how?
We have been working with government institutions all through our activities. We invite them to all our events, and incorporate them into our activity committees. This is because we believe our efforts are simply complimentary to government efforts; we cannot replace government and it’s primary responsibility of taking care of the citizenry. For example, ministry of ethics and integrity and the public service commission were fully involved in our public service award process in 2010 and 2011. See below the video of final outcomes of this initiative.