External evaluation of LO-Norway’s cooperation with National Organisation of Trade Unions, (NOTU), Uganda

Published:September 2012 by Landsorganisasjonen/Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions
Commissioned by:Landsorganisasjonen/Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions
Carried out by:Øyvind Eggen, NUPI, and Hassan Raha independent consultant
Tags:Uganda, Governance and democracy

Summary

Background:
The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO-Norway) collaborates with the National Organisation of Trade Unions in Uganda (NOTU) to strengthen the trade union movement in Uganda. This evaluation covers the period since 2006.

Purpose/objective:
• To assess the results of the support provided to NOTU and the affiliated national unions by LO to strengthen the capacity of NOTU.
• To assess the modality of cooperation with NOTU and provide recommendations on areas for improvement.

Methodology:
The evaluation is based on qualitative methods, primarily involving document reviews, semi-structured interviews with key informants, direct observation of interactions within and between different levels of the organization, focus group discussions, and a survey among the affiliated unions of NOTU.

Key findings:
Around 2008, NOTU suffered from serious organizational challenges and was almost dysfunctional. LO Norway played a constructive role in assisting NOTU to overcome the problems in 2008 and 2009. Nonetheless, the team indicates the hypothetical possibility – not supported by evidence – that core budget support from LO Norway prior to the crisis may have enabled the negative development to proceed over a longer period than what might have been the case if NOTU had relied less on external funding.

The evaluation team finds that since 2009, NOTU has utilized external funding reasonably well in implementing activities according to both the agreement with LO Norway, and NOTU’s constitutional mandate. Efficiency and effectiveness are satisfactory, and the cooperation seems to produce a range of outputs and outcomes that, although not fully according to plans, nonetheless represent good value for money. 

Two major challenges to NOTU, as to trade unions elsewhere, are internal divisions between and within unions, and a ‘patronage system’ allowing individuals to use their union mandate for individual gains. NOTU has not been able to overcome these problems, which are among the greatest and most difficult challenges ahead. NOTU is not to blame for current divisions between trade unions in Uganda, but it has not played an effective role in responding to the situation and supporting unity.

LO Norway has, by its commitment to funding, by providing highly qualified technical assistance, and by maintaining a good relation with NOTU even in times of trouble, served its purpose as a donor well, with one important exception. The agreement that forms the basis for the collaboration is confusing and inconsistent and do not provide a good framework for planning and implementation, nor for evaluation.

Recommendations:
To NOTU:
• Governance should be more effective and strategic and, response to members' concern should be faster.
• All leaders and representatives must be made accountable, education of members should be strengthened and there must be early reactions against tendencies of individuals engaging in ‘politics’.
• Resources should be invested in the Training of Trainers (TOT).
• A good working relation with the other national center, COFTU, should be sought to enhance the effectiveness of the efforts of both centres towards common goals.
• Measures should be taken to improve the accountability to the unions of the five MP elected from the labour movement.
• NOTU should ensure that services are distributed in a way that makes sure it does not pay for a union to be small.
• NOTU should work jointly with other stakeholders, and continue to exert pressure on the government to ensure that a separate Ministry of Labour is created, the Industrial Court is functional and the enacted laws are enforced for the benefit of the workers and society at large.

To LO-Norway:
• The agreement between NOTU and LO Norway must be revised to tally with NOTU's strategic plan.
• NOTU has the capacity to use funding efficiently with presumably good results, so the overall volume of support should be the same or preferably higher, but it can be allocated differently.
• LO Norway should apply a ‘do no harm’ approach to maximise the benefit and avoid harmful effects of their aid activities.
• LO Norway should invest more in the formal bureaucratic instruments, such as LFA or RBM.
• LO-Norway should explore the possibility of setting aside a certain percentage or quota of the funds for the Youth Committee activities, similar to what has currently been agreed upon for the Women Committee.

Comments from the organisation, if any:
Both NOTU and LO agree with the findings and find the recommendations relevant. All recommendations are under implementation. 

Only available electronically
Your order ( )