By Matilda Nakawungu

5 – 8 January 2015 – This week, Food Rights Alliance conducted its Annual Beginning of Year Retreat in the serene outskirts of Entebbe town, Uganda.  The most noteworthy objectives of the four-day activity were to enforce the Staff and Board capacity in resource mobilization and proposal writing, their understanding of what FRA’s core business is, its vision and mission; and also to draw the guiding plan for the new year.

The activities started with a capacity building training in resource mobilization- a session facilitated by Mr. Chris Charles Oyua. A key financial management issue for many NGOs is the mobilization of financial and in-kind resources to undertake development efforts. Often times when we come across the term ‘resource mobilization’, we are bound to take a superficial meaning to it of mobilizing funds. And in a technical sense we would be right. However, resources can include many different things for an organization. Aside from the money, NGOs need a strategy to raise support from volunteers; material donations or in-kind contribution from their own communities among others. So, in order to put all these sources of support into one kitty, we refer to them collectively as ‘resource mobilization.’

The second day of the training was graced by a visit from the Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture at the African Union, Her Excellency Rhoda Peace Tumusiime. The FRA team had a passionate discussion with the Commissioner over the opportunities Uganda has to address the prevailing Hunger and Malnutrition challenge.

retreat 4The two-day training upturned Board and Staff capacity in resource mobilization with every lesson learnt exceptionally useful and also quite interesting to know. In the NGO business we write proposals every now and then, but we sometimes forget to focus on the ‘friendraising’. And since donors do not fund causes but  people with causes, it is even more paramount to create, nurture and maintain relationships with those that support and help us stay afloat.

The training was followed by a two day Board Meeting to review the successes and hurdles of the previous year, and to draw a road map for the new year 2016.

It is safe to say that the retreat turned out to be very effective in educating and motivating the secretariat. The fruits of this week are soon to be manifested in FRA’s victories in the fight against hunger and malnutrition that are in the offing this year.

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