About IDF

The journey of IDF as a grant making process

The Independent Development Fund (IDF) established in 2008 is an indigenous grant making organization, incorporated in Uganda as a company limited by guarantee by leading Civil Society Organization (CSO) networks and development partners namely: – Royal Danish Embassy, DFID, Swedish Embassy and Royal Netherlands Embassy. Over the years, IDF has transformed from an idea sown and nurtured by development partners and leading national networks in Uganda into a robust, nationally versatile, efficient, effective and transparent grant making organization, and an institution of choice for grant makers in Uganda. Since 2008, IDF has provided financial and technical support to more than 124 CSOs contributing to the achievement of human rights, good governance, and rule of law, local democracy and better quality of life.

IDF currently receives its funding support through the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF); -and is engaged in the delivery of a range of support services to the country’s civil society organizations as a strategy to strengthen their individual capacities to better contribute to the national human rights, civil rights, good governance and poverty reduction efforts.

IDF aims to;

  • Build civic consciousness and competence among the public, particularly among the vulnerable and disadvantaged population.
  • Provide support that enhances community mobilization, activism and access to redress mechanisms.
  • Promote and open new frontiers in grant making for the protection and observance of human rights at the sub national level.
  • Build an efficient, effective, relevant and responsive strategy implementation structure at IDF.

This is done through providing grants to CSOs under the two main objectives:

  • Promotion of a human rights approach, supporting and facilitating citizens to access and understand laws and government policies that will impact on their human rights.
  • Enabling civil society and the public engage effectively with Government on issues of human rights and associated good governance, poverty reduction and local democracy initiatives.

Our Vision

A vibrant indigenous civil society contributing to the achievement of human rights, good governance, rule of law and local democracy.

Our Mission

To enable indigenous CSOs access grants through an efficient grant making system.

Our Goal

IDF to transit into a highly efficient and transparent grant making institution for small and medium-sized organizations working on human rights and good governance issues at local level, and a grant manager of choice for funding partners aiming at enhancing protection, fulfilment and observance of human rights and good governance in Uganda .We fulfill our mission and goal through two interdependent strategies;

  • Making grants and providing grants management support to community-based organizations engaged in work to promote human rights and good governance.
  • Sharing knowledge, know-how and lessons learnt that emerge from the projects that we support. Central to our work is the ongoing effort to document and analyse the projects we support with the aim of;
    • Gathering practical approaches that may be useful within a variety of programme environments-an important step towards improving practice.
    • Learning lessons to inform our future grant making processes.
    • Influencing the agenda by sharing lessons relevant to policy and practice widely.

IDF Core Values

  • Professionalism: means timely services; effectiveness; quality services; efficiency; accountability; supportiveness; accessibility.
  • Integrity: means adherence to moral and ethical principles. Consequently, IDF in its programming and implementation shall adhere to the principles of social justice, fairness, transparency, objectivity and enforce appropriate performance standards.
  • Learning: means being open to new ideas and creating new knowledge and letting it influence what is being done. IDF shall develop innovative models in grant management and Civil society funding, share and document.
  • Inclusiveness: Means that IDF will view human rights from a broad point of view and be accessible to targeted beneficiaries, employee affordable approaches to grant management and be objective.

Theory of change

IDF theory of change supposes that small and medium funded CSOs working at the individual, community and District level:-

  • Will be able to establish and strengthen local polices and systems that support the promotion of human rights and good governance at the local level
  • Create a knowledgeable and active citizenry contributing to reduction of human rights violations incidences and poor governance and
  • Strengthen systems that will enable more cases of human rights violations reported and attended to. These combined are expected to result in responsive, accountable local governments to human rights and accountability demands by citizens, thus strengthening the protection of human rights and good governance in Uganda. This is further illustrated in the chart below

How we work

We work primarily by supporting projects implemented by Civil Society organizations and Community Based Organizations working to promote human rights and good governance at the grassroots level. Through our grantees across different parts of the country, we continue to support efforts to empower the poor, protect the vulnerable and promote human rights.

We also focus our grant making on promoting open, inclusive and accountable governance-not only essential to ensure better public spending and service delivery, but are also central to human rights.

Over the past 8 years, IDF realized its vision by providing grants to civil-society organizations for projects and operations through the Human Rights and Good Governance Programmes, which focused on promoting access to justice and information, as well as public participation in the affairs of government, with the ultimate aim of creating a robust civil society capable of challenging and improving governance capacity to deliver human rights.

We see our work as valuable in terms of strengthening the capacity of grassroots organizations to participate as agents of change, including monitoring and holding government and other duty bearers accountable; but also as a long-term means to: build local capacity and institutional expertise to take on increasingly large-scale projects, to promote innovation and flexibility, and help ensure that the work we fund is contextually appropriate.

Areas of operation

IDF supports projects in all parts of the country in Uganda. Currently, IDF is supporting projects in 38 countries across the country as shown in the map below

Map of Uganda showing the distribution of IDF grantees


Organizational Structure

IDF runs its duties through the secretariat that is supervised by the body. Under the leadership of the Executive Director, the Secretariat runs its programmes under three sections which include;

  • The Programme Support Unit which mans the granting process, provides support to the grantees and ensures compliance of grantees to IDF guidelines.
  • The programme Results Unit which documents results and disseminates information to communicate impact and the relevancy of the programmes supported.
  • The Finance Section-This manages the funds disbursed to grantees and establish systems and guidelines to enable grantees to build effective financial systems for proper utilization of funds disbursed.

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