Guest of Honour and Launch of Strategic Plan 2020-2024

Guest of Honour and Launch of Strategic Plan 2020-2024

The UNAIDS Uganda Country Director Dr. Karusa Kiragu cited that one of the most effective ways of sustainability is to “turn off the tap”. We must see prevention as part of sustainability. Right now, we have 1.4m people living with HIV but should make sure these numbers don’t increase. Ways should be devised to bring these numbers to zero. The current generation of adults must also work hard to end the HIV epidemic. She re-emphasised Prevention and Treatment.

She congratulated UNASO specifically on these three events. When the CSOs came together and supported the human rights of the key populations including the arrests of LGBTI, the harassments of the Commercial Sex Workers and the engagement with Ms Winnie Byanyima the UNAIDS Executive Director. She highlighted that Ms. Byanyima had listened, took the request very seriously and delivered the communication to the President and is following up. The other meeting was when the CSOs stood up in support of the DJ MC Kats and said no to drama about being HIV and encouraged the public and media to fight the HIV disease not the person.

Uganda is making good progress in ending HIV. We need to move towards the 90 90 90 although it’s just one of the fast track goals, others include making sure that 95% of the people are using condoms, 95% of people who need our HIV counselling and testing are benefiting. We must therefore get there and move even to 95 95 95.

She congratulated UNASO Board, Management and team for great input in the Strategic Plan development and was pleased that we resolved over 90% of the financial audit issues. Commended us for dealing with the negatives forces that were there and staying positive and moving forward.

Strategic Plan 2020-2024

Presentation of Management’s Report by Mr Masiko Johnson

Mr. Johnson Masiko delivering his speech

Mr. Masiko welcomed the UNASO founder members, Board members, former EDs, representatives of district members, development partners and all other members to the 16th AGM. He made special recognition to UAC and UNAIDS that have walked the rough path with UNASO. He highlighted that a lot has been completed to fix the management and systems challenges that had the organization crippled. There’s now a well constituted Board chaired by Ms. Emily Katarikawe with vast experience in corporate governance, technical programming and management.

Over the past year UNASO has received funding from AVAC, EANNASO through CS capacity building and Amplified change, membership subscription, UNAIDs, UAC among others. The secretariat has focused on strengthening the finance management systems. The Navision accounting system and bank accounts have been reactivated and fully functional.

The UNASO 2017/18 audit was conducted, completed and approved as unqualified. The 2018/19 audit has also been done and the auditors will present their opinion

The secretariat has 7 people (2 staff paid, 5 volunteers) but with contracts facilitated with lunch and transport reimbursements

Projects and activities implemented were through AVAC, GF CS Capacity building, AVAC Fellow project and Amplified Change include participation/engagement in national and international planning processes for the HIV/AIDs responses, CS coordination, GF CCM Participation, Joint Annual AIDs review meetings, ICASA 2021 evaluation review and bid, Philly Lutaya day, WAD, HIV & Gender mainstreaming among others

Resource mobilization: Many proposals and concept papers have been developed and submitted to RHITES, UKAID, UNAIDS, EU, UNTRUST among others

Membership mobilization had slowed down but now old members have subscribed and new organizations are joining. Notably are constraints of high subscription fees which have been reviewed by the Board these include INNGOs @ UGX 1M, NGOS @500k, District based CSOs @300k and CBOs @ 200k

UNASO visibility and Image: We have continued to participate in national and regional activities with great leadership from UNAIDs. Plans to strengthen coordination networks like NAFOPHANU, UNYPA ICWA and KP networks have been laid

UNASO website was reinstated and redesigned; It is now very robust, highly interactive and easily navigable.

Key challenges faced include funding and human resources with some skills missing in business development, monitoring and evaluation. The imposition of agency notes on the accounts which took a long time to resolve hampered the smooth operations of the organization.

Going forward is optimism that the strategic plan 2019/2020-2023/24 brings in 5 Strategic Directions with interventions and priorities that respond to internal challenges as well as external policy, programmatic service and other community needs. This has been made possible with support from UNAIDs under the leadership of Dr. Karusa, UNASO Board, members, consultants, partners and secretariat staff

More appreciation to Allied Certified Accountants of Uganda for conducting the Audit for previous two years on pro-bono services. Appreciation to all key stakeholders, implementing partners, Board and entire secretariat for job well-done

Treasurer’s Report and Adoption of Statutory Audited Accounts for 2018/2019

Ms. Salome Atim, the Board Treasurer and GF CCM Board member presented the Annual Financial report in accordance with the UNASO Constitution.

UNASO Financial Statement was for the period covering 12 months (FY 2018/2019) from 01st July 2018 to 30th June 2019.

A comprehensive statement (income and expenditure) is as per the audited accounts 2018/2019.

For the year ended 30th June 2019, UNASO received a total income of Ug. Shs. 191,144,562/=. Sources of income 2017/2018 included AVAC, ABH, Health Gap, membership subscriptions amongst others totaling to Ug Shs. 320,220,884. There was a 43% reduction due to closure of ABH and Health Gap closure yet were major projects

Total expenditure F/Y 2018/19 was Ug. Shs. 142,415,219.

She commended the committee members and secretariat for the hard work and congratulated them upon the unqualified report

Statement from Allied Certified Public Accountants

Allied Certified Public Accountants presented the audit report for the financial report for the year ending June 30th 2019 which comprises of the receipts and payments, statement of surplus or loss and other comprehensive incomes, statement of changes in equity and statement of cash flows for the year ending June 2019

  • In the auditors’ opinion, the accompanying financial statements give a True and Fair view in all material respects. The state of the financial position as at 30 June 2019, financial performance and cash flows for the year ending June 2019 are in accordance to the International Financial Reporting Standards and the Non-Governmental organizations Act 2016
  • Basis of opinion: Concluded the Audit in accordance to the International Standards of Auditing and guidelines issued by ICPAU.
  • Enough evidence has been obtained and is sufficient to form a basis of an opinion

Presentation and Adoption of the UNASO Strategic Plan 2020-2024

The Executive Director, Mr. Masiko congratulated the Assembly upon the unqualified audit report. We are now in the era of Sustainable Development Goals, the 95 95 95 goals, NDP 111, the country vision 2040 all which were not there during in the previous Strategic plan dictate that we change the strategic direction.

Given the dwindling resources and changing donor interests are also a trigger to review our approaches on advocacy and on resource mobilization. The global change prioritizes HIV response from emergency to epidemic control. Health systems strengthening approaches need to be aligned at international level, national level, district and community level

There’s also a UNASO Founder Members Forum and propose to set it up into an advisory forum to ensure that the organization stays alive. This is under Strategic Direction 1 (SD1) of Foundational, Governance and Leadership Development. Other SDs include:

  • SD2 On Coordination, Capacity Enhancement and Partnerships.
  • SD3 On Advocacy and Policy Development
  • SD4 On Resource mobilization ranging from political, financial and operational
  • SD5 On Self- Reliance (Resilience) as donors prepare to pull out, we need to build systems that will be able to sustain service delivery

We have set our goals on the above development principles and have moved away from only focusing on HIV but now looking at Universal Health Coverage (UHC), integrated systems, diversification and looking at an individual as a whole. Our Vision has moved from “An HIV free community” to “A Ugandan society living a disease-free life”.

The principles include accountability, grace to harmonize Civil Society message, building strategic partnerships for networking, meeting the country and global needs, linking networking activities to what is trending through coordination and systems and result evidence-based programming

Our budget is summarized with Ug Shs. 15B about USD4m much of which will go into hardware interventions and establishing district and regional networks, fully functioning both at the secretariat and regional offices

Words of Wisdom from 3 Vision Bearers

Three of UNASO’s founder members shared a few thoughts with the guests, summarized below:

  1. Canon Gideon Byamugisha

Rev. Canon Gideon Byamugisha sharing his thoughts

We can testify now that through the trials, God is good. UNASO has crossed the Red sea. As a founder member he highlighted that there’s AFRICASO (Senegal) at the continental level, and together with Dr. Ssebbanja Peter they formed EANNASO (Dar es Salam).

The Board and the secretariat need to look at the added value and what should make one proud to belong to UNASO.

In the era of community engagement, community resilience and ownership, we still lack a community focused message when it comes to fighting AIDS. When an RDC or LC5 stands up to talk about AIDS they should move away from abstinence and being faithful but should move to how as community were engaging in issues of stigma, policies on zero discrimination and safe practices on condom use. The lack of language around empowerment and engagement around key and vulnerable populations is a challenge.

  1. Lilian Mworeko

Lilian Mworeko sharing some words of wisdom

Ms. Mworeko was grateful for the recognition as founder members. Acknowledged that as agreed by the Executive Director, times have changed. She tasked the Board and management that in 2020 with the new strategic plan, the team needs to ask the hard question of what makes UNASO relevant now different from what made it relevant 10years ago. Talking about coordination, who are we coordinating and what do we want to achieve out of coordination?

UNASO should look at things that make Civil Society not engage meaningfully and not getting the results we desire. We need to get our niche. Talking about Universal Health Coverage, how do we get the members to deliver?

Knowledge management that informs policy- Focus on a few things, a lean secretariat and helps us influence programming and the funding mechanism

Quality management: How do make sure that whatever is being done improves the lives of the people we serve? UNASO should give space to its members to contribute to the demand.

  1. Peter Ssebanja
Speech from the Guest of Honor; the Director General, Uganda Aids Commission (UAC) represented by Ms. Enid Wamani

Ms. Enid Wamani delivering the guest of honor speech

The Director General (DG), Uganda AIDS commission, congratulated UNASO Board, management and staff upon the successful 16th AGM and development of the new Strategic Plan. No doubt that the five strategic objectives are smart and relevant to the needs towards the HIV national response and UAC will work together to support UNASO for the next 4 years to implement.

UAC values the role of UNASO in the HIV Response. Some achievements in collaboration include coordinating and supporting the partners under the Presidential Fast Track initiative (PFTI) to end AIDS and acknowledged Reverend Gideon spearheading the “kiki ekiganye” Campaign among Civil society through UNASO. It is a key stakeholder in policy level, Global Fund resource mobilization by civil society and at the strategic level in the National Strategic Plan development, key guiding documents and their implementation.

Even with great strides made to control the epidemic with 1.2m on treatment and lowered the mortality rates as a country, we must note the over 1,000 new infections per week and UNASO’s role is in coordinating Civil Society to bring these numbers down. We should work together to make sure that these new infections are less than the number of deaths due to HIV so then shall we say we achieved to control the epidemic

A call to action to Government, Religious bodies, Cultural, Young people, Private sector, Parliament and Civil society to pull efforts to rejuvenate the work of UNASO as its role is still relevant and indispensable and needed. As UAC we should do all we can notwithstanding the fact that UNASO should work hard and show its value addition. Competition for space should be limited as it is the Coordinator and the rest of the partners being implementers

Another call to action is that UAC is coordinating the development of the National Strategic Plan for the next five years and invitations have been extended for technical input participation as we shape the direction of the country as we walk together to end AIDS. Also, UAC is updating the Investment case and some organizations have been contacted to ensure we come up with a scenario to get the best value for our investments as a country

Partners should also keep up the work towards the Presidential Fast Track initiative (PFTI) and encouraged partners to visit the US, UNAIDs websites to keep knowledgeable as we are part and parcel ensuring that we remain accountable so that the national targets are achieved.

Next year we host the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) 2021. This is an important opportunity for UAC and other entities under UNASO to showcase what we are doing and listen in to the latest science, research and innovations. Let’s look up the details and avail our participation

She extended appreciation to the UNASO Board and management for the great work. We still need to reduce stigma and discrimination against PLHIV as research shows it is what is fueling new infections.

She concluded the speech by appreciating the Government, Development partners, District networks, other partners and UNASO members. Let’s keep up the efforts, subscribe to UNASO, roll out these strategic objectives to our individual organizations so as targets are reached by 2030. With these closing remarks she declared the meeting closed

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