EU-Ugandan Relations and the NGO Support Fund Suspension

            NGOs face a challenging environment in Uganda. Currently, many NGOs, especially faith-based organizations, are at risk after Museveni suspended funds from the European Union. The Ugandan government had a falling out with European donors ahead of the elections this past January. On January 2nd, Museveni told his finance minister to suspend a multi-million-dollar fund, the Democratic Governance Facility.  Museveni has suspected that the EU and the West backs his rivals. The situation further deteriorated when the United States, United Kingdom and European Union issued a statement that condemned the 2021 elections and said that the election procedures fell short of the standards of a free and fair election.

            The U.K. and E.U. have sanctioned individuals in Uganda whom they suspect are responsible for human rights abuses. The U.K. froze $56,767 in funding to the Uganda Prisons Service, the Uganda Police Force, and the Uganda People’s Defense Forces.

            The DGF supports organizations that work on democracy, good governance and human rights. The money for the DGF comes from the EU, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Ireland, Austria and the United Kingdom. The fund started in 2011 as a 5-year project and was renewed for another 5-year project. The suspension of the funds has impacted 70 organizations and 15 state agencies.

            Despite talks, the funding has not been reinstated. Some organizations fear that they may have to cease operations if the funding is not reinstated, but none have closed yet. It is impacting morale and planning for the future. Workers are concerned about the people that they serve and their mission.