The obvious stuff is all there to see, the on-site activities that we are directly involved in – 95% of our work is directly supporting Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and their various conservation programmes in the field.
Glamorous as some of it may seem, it’s not all charging about in 4×4’s darting giraffe, freeing animals from traps and building ranger stations in the middle of game parks. Every one of the projects UCU is involved in is solidly backed up by a core support team of admin, finance, project and field staff, most of them industry professionals with many years of direct experience in Uganda and elsewhere. They help to construct and write proposals, attend those long meetings when proposals are presented and debated and then follow up and monitor projects once approved and actioned, including writing the dreaded but inevitable periodic and final project completion reports. In short, this is the decidedly less-than-glamorous “engine room” of the organisation, but it’s an absolutely vital component.
Over the years we have seen many small but really good projects that needed help, often unable to afford their own vehicles etc, that without the institutional back-up to support governance, financial management and grant administration, then failed. UCU is a conduit for support and a place where key resources can be shared, dramatically lowering project capital and operational costs and enabling projects to take those first difficult steps, then get underway and ultimately be successful. This sharing of assets and support can easily turn a financially unviable but useful project into a viable one. Why, for example, for an arbitrary three months project, would you take on the financial burden of an office, admin staff, specialist field vehicles, install all the modern day comms we all use and so on, when it’s all here and ready to go?
This, then, is the oft-unseen and less-well-known side of UCU’s raison d’etre and bears a little further explanation now as to how maybe we can support you.
If you or your organisation have a project that you would like to present to UWA (the custodians of all of Uganda’s wildlife and protected areas on behalf of the people of Uganda) or alternatively would like to bring support, be that financial or practical, to existing projects but you don’t have the back-office function to do this alone, then UCU is here to help. We’ve been at it a long time now and have an excellent relationship with UWA, one that only results from the high level of trust earned over those long years of co-operation and as a result of the many successfully-delivered projects of our own, and on behalf of other parties, that we have managed.
It does need stating here that what we don’t do is fund your project or idea; the fundraising part remains your responsibility, although we can advise and help with our own contacts in some instances.
In simple terms then, UCU can be regarded as a publically-accessible platform that is available to others to help develop, present and thereafter, if desired, manage relevant projects within Uganda, once approvals are complete. UCU charges a modest percentage of the project total for doing so, to cover its own internal costs as would be expected (any engine needs fuel to work after all), at a rate well below industry-average overheads and certainly far below what dedicated infrastructure is likely to cost afresh. As we are a small, nimble and un-bureaucratic entity, we are able to keep our “core” overheads to an absolute minimum and thus ensure that the in-field impact of funds is maximised. Coupled to the fact that we specialise in practical support – training of people, fixed and mobile equipment provision and assets creation (like ranger stations, armouries) – means that the physical support UWA often needs on the ground can be quickly and reliably provided.
So, in short, we are here to engage, inspire, promote and support.
We will be reminding all of our supporters again very soon of where our new offices are located, including adding a map of how to get here, and of our business contacts. Feel free to come and visit at any time, have a cup of coffee and chat through possible projects, or anything else where we may have some common ground.