Ugandan Beekeeper Explains Role of Foreign Aid in Non-Profits

Garreson Publishing runs a monthly e-mail newsletter for beekeepers (subscribe). This article is the second in a series of interviews of beekeepers from across the world.

Ambrose Bugaari is an Enterprise Development Specialist in Kampala, Uganda. He writes a blog at While he hasn’t updated recently, the articles available there are a fascinating exposition on the material he discusses below.

Ambrose BugaariIn the U.S. many organizations collect money for development in Africa. It is never clear if the money ever arrives, or if it is being put to good use. Do the organizations you work with receive foreign funding, or are they run by Ugandans?

In Uganda a confusing range of types and varieties of non for profit has emerged since the 1980s. Some are truly voluntary non-profit organizations while others pursue more profit-related objectives in a covert way. Money from donors continues to flow to non-profit organizations in Uganda. NGO Forum has indicated that there are over 2,000 registered NGOs in Uganda.

However, findings of a research conducted in Uganda, South Africa and United Kingdom by Wallace (2007) and others and published in a book titled “The Aid Chain” have indicated that despite the increase in aid flows to NGOs and governments, the problem of poverty continues to grow.

Although there no reliable figures on the amount of money received by non-profit organizations to carry development work in Uganda, anecdotal evidence suggests that they receive huge sums of money. Yet, a visit to the rural areas where they work shows that there is little or no visible impact. Evidence suggests that only about 20% of funds received by non-profit organizations go directly to beneficiaries. 70% goes to administrative costs and 10% goes back to the donor countries in form of technical assistance by foreign consultants.

In the aid donor game, donor conditions attached to aid reflect donors concerns and values and not the concerns of the people whom the money is sent. To make matters worse, in order to attract funding, NGOs have made it worse by depicting Ugandans as very poor who need any kind of assistance.

And the situation will get worse because donors have now caused non-profit organizations to shift from service delivery to advocacy. The argument is that it is the responsibility of government to provide service to its citizens but government also has its own limitations. Hence the catch phrase now is ‘holding duty bearers accountable.”

Additionally, there is a lot of hypocrisy among non-profit organizations managers. For example while all non-profit organizations claim to promote sustainability of their interventions among the communities they work with, many of them are nor self reliant and would not operate even for a single day without donor support.

I noticed you have an MBA – do you find that helps you with your work?

My answer is yes. In Uganda the focus is now on private sector development and Micro and Small enterprises as engines of growth and development. However, there is still lack of business managers with practical skills to enable this to happen and the MBA comes in handy for it gives one the requisite skills to successfully run and manage a business. However, because of high levels of unemployment, there is need to focus on enabling people to create their own jobs. Hence subjects like entrepreneurship should be emphasized.

What resources are needed by Nigerian beekeepers, as far as reference materials?
Packaging matters. It should be packaged in a user friendly manner and adopted to the requirements of the intended audience. Illustrations would suffice.

Garreson Publishing would like to thank Ambrose for generously giving us his time for this interview.

In the coming months, we will continue this series from different perspectives, seeing how beekeeping impacts lives across the world. You can view the past entry here, on Kenyan beekeeping.

This entry was posted in African Beekeeping, Beekeeping Charities, Beekeeping History, Business of Beekeeping, Gary Sieling, Regional Beekeeping. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Ugandan Beekeeper Explains Role of Foreign Aid in Non-Profits

  1. Pingback: Ugandan Beekeepers Fund Education through Beekeeping | Garreson Publishing

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