Sexual Minorities Uganda(SMUG) in partnership with Elton John AIDs Foundation(EJAF) and Open Society Initiative For East Africa (OSIEA) conducted a financial literacy training of LGBTI organisations in the Eastern Region of Uganda.All participants were made more aware of risk management practices and internal control processes that strengthen the integrity of financial systems in their organizations. Participants will also be provided with template and sample documentation for future reference
In his welcoming remarks, our PD Pepe Julian Onziema thanked the participants for making time to attend the training. “Thank you for accepting the invitation, this shows that our partnership with you keeps on growing stronger” He said. Pepe added, “Being here physically is an honor for us, we hope that in the next few days we can build our capacity to ensure maximum accountability for funds to the community we serve and to those that financially support our work.”
Some of the participants expectations included;
Learning basic practices in financial transactions.
Strengthening financial systems and control.
Learning best accounting systems for our organizations.
Learning new systems of accountability among others.
In the afternoon session of the first day, Ms Maria Kizito Kawuki a consultant took the participants the internal control tools that address accounting systems, chart of accounts and accounting in excel sheets. The session also included addressing types of internal control tools like system controls and segregation of duties internally, including the staff advance accounts, creditor accounts, budget and the budget monitoring tools and allocation of expenses between the donor and organization.
On day two Ms Maria Kizito Kawuki took us through the budgeting and monitoring processes and allocation of expense between donors. She said “Finance staff should prepare budget monitoring reports regularly throughout each project, normally once per month. Program staff and managers should review the reports straight away once they are prepared”. Ms Maria added, “It is important to maintain a good relationship with the donor by making sure you keep honest books of accounting. You need to have a budget that is concise and clear.”
During Q and A our PD Pepe Julian Onziema said “We came up with this finance literacy training for our membership organizations because there have been claims that we only operate in Kampala and that we are a hard to reach organization. We are breaking those barriers by coming to you physically.” Pepe added that’ “Our office is always open for those that follow the correct procedures to set up an appointment, we put these measures in place for our security and yours. Before you come to our office, make sure you call +256 392 174 432 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org make an appointment.” This was in response to complaints that some members of the community come to SMUG offices and are not allowed to access the premises.
On the afternoon of day two, Ms Maria took us through accounting documentation including filing and safe custody. She said, “Documentation goes hand in hand with accounting and assures that use of grant money is justifiable and allowable under the terms of the grant. These could be electronic or in paper form. They include receipts, delivery notes, photos, time sheets etc. Any documentation is the property of the organization although employees may have access to these documents. Soft copy documentation should be updated regularly and paperwork should be filed and kept in safe custody.”
While making comments during the closing of the two days of financial literacy training, Pepe said “I am glad that we have been able to have these two days of training without any disturbance. The solidarity I have seen within the LGBTIQ organizations in the Eastern Region of Uganda shows that you have grown and learned to work together despite the wrangles you had in the past. I urge you to keep up the good work.”
Nnalinya Faridah our Finance Officer urged the participants to keep on practicing what they have learned. “From my experience, auditors now prefer narrative reports, I know they are hard to compile but do not be afraid to consult your peers whenever you need information. You should endeavor to use all opportunities you can get to learn more about accounting.” She said.
Sean Awali the Executive Director Triumph Mbale thanked Sexual Minorities Uganda-SMUG for the training initiative. He said, “We have always run to SMUG whenever we need help with capacity building, this one of a kind training has equipped us with practical knowledge on how to run our organizations especially with grant management. We feel privileged that SMUG has been with us physically for the last two days. Let us all put everything we have learned into action to prove to SMUG and other stakeholders that we appreciate all the hard work they put into building our capacity.”
Participants were informed that the following day there would be a meeting at USAID-RHITES-E in Mbale. Participants were asked to keep time because this was an important meeting.