Government has indefinitely suspended the operations of an international NGO, GiveDirectly, which has been sending mobile money to vulnerable Ugandans hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. for failure to explain the source of its funding.
The National Bureau for Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO Bureau) says GiveDirectly failed to explain its source of funding although previously the organisation had indicated that it was receiving the money from the American government via funded the US Agency for International Development (USAID).
GiveDirectly is a nonprofit that lets donors send money directly to households in developing countries via mobile linked platforms. As reported earlier, the organisation which targets extremely low-income households is currently active in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Liberia, Malawi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Morocco.
Last month, a total of 120,000 families in Uganda whose livelihoods have been negatively affected by coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic were listed to benefit from $10 million (about Shs 36 billion) direct cash transfers, to help them overcome the effects. (See: Lira's vulnerable receive Shs 100,000 each COVID funds)
According to the NGO Bureau, investigations revealed that GiveDirectly was giving people money, which is likely to make them lazy, promote idleness, domestic violence, dependency syndrome and tension within neighbouring villages.
Michael Kayemba, the GiveDirectly country director previously said the innovative direct cash giveaway project was targeting vulnerable Ugandans across the six newly created cities of Mbale, Moroto, Lira, Gulu, Kabale and Mbarara over the next three months, with a possibility of rolling out the programme to other cities later.
The initial roll-out direct cash transfers took place in Lira city on August 6, where about 10,000 beneficiaries from three parishes including Kakoge received Shs 100,000 each, injecting $750,000 (about Shs 2.7 billion) into the local economy.
“Before COVID-19, many families were already facing difficult conditions. The pandemic is exposing these existing vulnerabilities and making them worse,” said Kayemba.
Local leaders in Gulu said the cash injection would stimulate local economic activities since many residents were struggling to fend for their livelihoods.
According to the design of the project, beneficiaries do not need to register themselves to be eligible for the programme but are identified through the socio-economic data of the telecommunication companies targeting the poorest areas in each city to ensure fairness and equity.
The would-be beneficiaries are then contacted and asked for their consent through SMS messages, automated calls or call centre agents. Founded in 2009, GiveDirectly ranked a top international charity organization having already delivered over $260 million in cash directly into the hands of over 270,000 households living in poverty across the world.