Story and Photo by Dan Bazira | Senior ICT/M&E Coordinator | Heifer Uganda
On March 22, 2013, Heifer Uganda was awareded the best anti-poverty organization at Uganda's Golden Jubilee. Other nominees included ActionAID, OXFAM International and World Vision. The honor, a "responsible investment award" organized by Public Opinions, Inc. (POI), is a public-private sector performance assessment and monitoring award. POI focuses on strategic research, as well as individual and institutional public relations, to contribute to national, regional and global development. Several assessments were made by independent teams nationwide to determine the international NGO with the best sustainable approaches toward poverty eradication among communities.
The award recognizes investments that have steadily contributed to the attainment of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals in Uganda through the provision of quality goods and services, employment of Ugandans, payment of taxes, upholding international practices and standards in daily operations, productive corporate social responsibility, workers' rights, elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labor, and upholding freedom of association and environmental protection.
"Responsible investment is an approach to investment that explicitly acknowledges the relevancy of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors, and generally the long-term health and stability of the market as a whole," said Dr. Richard Sezibera, secretary general of the East Africa Community. "From this position, responsible investment would require investors and companies to take a wider view and acknowledge the full spectrum of risks and opportunities facing them, in order to allocate capital in a manner that is aligned with the short- and long-term interests of their clients and beneficiaries. Development is not sustainable if it damages the environment, biodiversity and natural resources and increases vulnerability to natural disasters."
The award was presented to Heifer Uganda during a ceremony presided over by Uganda's Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi and Jesca Eriyo, deputy secretary general of the East Africa Community. Heifer Uganda Country Director Irene Muwanguzi and other members of the senior management team were present to receive the award.
Heifer Uganda has made great contributions to change lives and empower communities in Uganda to end hunger and poverty and care for the Earth. It has also worked to see the national vision of a transformed Uganda from peasantry to a modern and industrialized society. Although we may not see financial benefits immediately, this award affirms Heifer's credibility and mission to governments, potential partners and donors.