Centre for Basic Research Civic Education Project

CBR/UNNGOF/GIZ Civil Society Book Project

Strengthening Evidence-Based Democratic Governance Agenda-setting an Engagement by Civil Society in Uganda” 

Centre for Basic Research (CBR) has since June 2018 been implementing a project titled: ‘Strengthening Evidence-based Democratic Governance Agenda Setting and Engagement by Civil Society in Uganda’. The project which ends in December 2020 is supported by the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF). The primary focus of the on-going project premised on the assumption that civic education is one of the foundations upon which democracy thrives is to produce, manage and disseminate knowledge in such a way that enables civic education stakeholders and practitioners pragmatically engage duty bearers and the citizenry to enhance democratic governance practices. This is pursued
through a three-pronged strategy.

The first strategy is to undertake research on pertinent civic education thematic
areas, analyse primary and secondary data generated and appropriately package and disseminate the findings of the various researches, via different kinds of publications, media events and activities tailored to inform democratic governance agendas and interventions by civil society engaged in civic education in general, and DGF Implementing Partners (IPs) in particular. This, it is hoped, enhances citizen engagements with government at different levels, which strengthens democratic practices.

10 desk studies on different thematic issues on civic education have been conducted, in addition to the comprehensive review of civic education in Uganda study. Dissemination of the National Synthesis report from the latter, whose field work was conducted by CBR in 20 districts of Uganda between September and December 2018 was held on 30th September,2019. It was intended to contribute to our understanding of not only how civic education was conceptualized by state and non-state actors, but also how it has organized and delivered, as well as the impact it has had over the years. 

The second strategy is establishing an elaborate documentation of published and unpublished literature on the broad agenda of civic education that is relevant to the promotion of democratic governance around the intervention areas of DGF’s civic education partners, for use as reference materials during current and future studies and researches on emerging civic education dynamics on the basis of which lessons can be learnt and best practices inferred.

The third strategy, which is complemented by media activities, seeks to encourage
continuous debates on different thematic issues regarding civic education including 2  interactive online discussions. This is aimed not only at raising civic awareness and competencies, but also to solicit for and respond to citizens’ views on pertinent civic education issues, as a way to engender greater citizen appreciation and participation in democratic processes based on an increased understanding and acceptance of their rights and responsibilities.

The fourth strategy is to hold Monthly Expert Seminars on critical civic education
issues in Uganda. These seminars are considered as an important avenue for the
convergence between theories and the practices of civic education in Uganda in general. The Expert Seminars provide opportunities for civic education intellectuals and practitioners to engage with emerging issues from on-going researches to understand not only the contribution to the deepening of democratic governance discourse on civic education that has been undertaken so far by state and non-state actors, its approaches, delivery mechanisms and impact, but also the intellectual debates on the appropriateness of the civic knowledge generated in which are embodied the country’s core values and principles, on the basis of which civic competencies and dispositions can be nurtured.

“The Value of Civil Society in Uganda’s National Development: Interrogating New Narratives and Emerging Perspectives”

The Centre for Basic Research (CBR), Kampala working in collaboration with the Uganda National NGO Forum (UNNGOF)[1] are undertaking research to write a book on the value of civil society in Uganda’s national development. The aim of the research process is to bring together civil society scholars, activists and practitioners to present analysis, interrogate new narratives and emerging civil society perspectives and experiences in Uganda. 

The execution of the Civil Society Book Project will entail different kinds of engagements. These include among others: (a) Peer Review Seminars – these are engagements between chapter authors, and between chapter authors and the Project Steering Committee at proposal development stage, and during the fieldwork-data collection stage;(b) Write-shop Retreats – these are to be held after fieldwork, bringing together chapter authors and Steering Committee members during writing of draft chapters, and; (c) Civil Society Public Dialogues – these are public meetings that will be open to all interested, and each will be presided over by leading scholars on the different thematic areas of the planned Book project, who will be invited to present keynote addresses, to which chapter authors and participants drawn from the academia, NGO practitioners, and the general public will respond by way of comments, discussions and questions.

The book is expected to provide a platform for scholars in the academy, public intellectuals and civil society practitioners who will be selected to author chapters in the Book to engage key debates on civil society from a diversity of dimensions anchored in carefully selected thematic areas. Author of book chapters will be required to do extensive fieldwork, involving collection of both secondary and primary data. They will be required to anchor their arguments and analyses in cutting-edge theoretical debates and conceptual frameworks relating of civil society at global, regional and national levels that will set the context to foster a nuanced understanding of civil society in Uganda. The findings of the planned research studies for the civil society book project will be published in an interdisciplinary book on civil society. This book presents a significant promise to serve as a resource for academics, practitioners and policy-makers interested in national development issues and especially how the latter interfaces with civil society.

This is a one year project that started in August 2019 and ends in July 2020.

This project is supported by the Civil Society in Uganda Support Programme (CUSP) of the Deutsche GesellschaftfürInternationaleZusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and funded by the European Union (EU) and the Germany Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.