Violent conflicts have been a pervasive featurein many developing countries especially in Africa leading to destruction of peopleâ€™s lives and livelihoods. In Northern Uganda, the war between the Government forces and the Lordâ€™sResistance Army (LRA) led to devastating impacts on peoplesâ€™ lives and livelihoods.In order to restore the peoplesâ€™ livelihoods in the war affected Northern Uganda, the Government of Uganda with its development partners has come up with specific programs targeting the Northern region. For example the Northern Uganda Social Action Fund (NUSAF) which is a large scale Social Action Fund (SAF) program aimed at restoring livelihoods of the communities.However,according to various stakeholders and media reports, during the implementation of NUSAF governance challenges emerged which affected its impacts on the communities negatively. Therefore it was a goal of this study to uncover these governance challenges and also suggest strategies to overcome them.
The study used qualitative research methods that included interviews, focus group discussions and the Process Net-Map.According to the Conceptual Framework developed, the study identified governance challenges both on the Demand and Supply-side of service delivery.The results showed that the main Demand-side governance challenges included the following; elite capture and political capture; loss of social capital;corruption in procurement;illiteracy;self-regulation of the private service providers and lack of trust between farmers and technical /political wing of government.The main Supply-side governance challengesincluded;inadequate skilled human resource;poortargeting;socialexclusion;corruption;political interference in procurement;poor program monitoring by both technical and political wing of government;poor financial accountability systems.The study suggests a number of strategies to overcome the governance challenges identifiedand these include; On the Supply side: building of human and sustainable financial capacity in the overall management of public funds, implementation of more pro-active oversight mechanisms both by the NUSAF Secretariat and local governments including both the technical and political wing. On the Demand-side strategies include: invest in group formation and internal accountability systems, empower the farmers to hold service providers accountable through establishment of effective complaint mechanisms and increase group transparency, use of Citizen Report Cards and lobbying of political decision makers for cooperation in program implementation. The study concludes that there is no â€˜â€™silver bulletâ€™â€™ in management of Social Action Funds (SAFs) , but both the demand and supply side have to be well coordinated in order to improve project performance.
Keywords: Governance Challenges, Social Action Funds (SAFs), Post-Conflict, Northern Uganda, Net-Map