When gauging it in today’s very material and ruthless world, success often tends to be measured in how much money an organization turns over and its shareholder dividend payments, by the flash cars an individual has parked in their garage or maybe how many university degrees a person may have amassed.
UCF has produced many tangible, positive results over the years that all of those folk involved – past and present – are very proud of. Many can be found referenced on this website. However, if you want to know what the thing is that we are most proud of, well, that is something that cannot be physically measured, weighed or valued financially. What we value the most, and what is absolutely our greatest asset, is our relationship with our prime partner, Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA).
If you want to get into exactly what the catalyst is that drives this relationship, that’s easy to explain in principle but much harder to achieve in practice. It’s a rare synergy based on the mutual trust that exists between UCF and UWA. Trust may not be the first thing that springs to mind when considering relationships with government departments in Africa, but in the 15 years following the creation of UCF by our Founder, through the various comings and goings of staff, directors and trustees here and abroad, we are at the point now where both parties are absolutely comfortable with each other.
So, we measure our own success by the success of our major partner, as one would in almost any partnership. New visitors and potential supporters who accompany us into our national parks or after witnessing our meetings with UWA have commented innumerable times that they have never seen a relationship quite like it existing between a private entity and a government organization. This is true at both the individual and institutional level. As an intermediate body or bridge that exists between the development finance bodies and the end user, this is a powerful position for good to be in. We talk constantly to both parties, are trusted by both and operate on an “open book” basis with both. More importantly perhaps, we are also genuinely friends with each side of the development divide, both individually and equally when we are all together.
It’s taken many years to get to this point and it would be trite to claim that the route has been without any bumps, or that there won’t be more in the future, but UCF has never been in a better position to channel support from outside into UWA, as always in a transparent and efficient manner. Due to this absolutely unique relationship, we are beginning to see real and positive impact, as the global funding and support of the custodians of Uganda’s wildlife starts to show meaningful, tangible outputs. Yes, damn right we are proud of this.
Trust. A small word that has ensured a large impact.