North America Masaba Cultural Association
This is the first issue of our quarterly newsletter following our annual general meeting in Washington D.C on May 23, 2015. I am happy to report that we came out of the meeting with a stronger, more focused, more resilient and credible organization than we went in with. I will highlight a few outcomes of the meeting and also report on a few changes that will affect the future of NAMCA. First I want to extend my thanks and gratitude to all who attended especially those who flew all the way from Uganda. It’s always a pleasant surprise every meeting to see the overwhelming support from the Bugisu Cooperative Union. I know that this is because of the foresight of its leadership under Chairman Hon. Nandala Mafabi, who was well represented by his better half Mrs Flora Mafabi and BCU representative Mr Patrick Waniale. I also want to thank Her Excellency Ambassador Oliver Wonekha, Our Uganda Ambassador in Washington and true ‘daughter of the soil’ whose support made the meeting a success. The big highlight of the Meeting was the Presence of the Rt Hon Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, Prime Minister of Uganda, whose remarks and concrete support for NAMCA and the Educational Resource Center Building project in particular has created a turning point and made our dreams tangible. Last and not least I thank the heroes of this organization who attended – our very own NAMCA members. Your commitment to service, to the betterment of our communities financially, morally and emotionally has no fitting expression. I can only say thank you for being your brothers and sisters keepers. Mwanyala Naabi Balebe!
THE STRATEGIC PLAN
At the AGM we launched our 2015-2020 Strategic plan. It’s a detailed blueprint that will guide all our actions for the next 5 years. There were 3 main realities that guided the Board in crafting this plan.
- We cannot fulfil our mission and vision objectives by relying on our members alone. We need a wider network of Bamasaaba outside of North America, private and public partners to provide a base for both human and financial resources.
- To have the scale of impact we envision, NAMCA must position itself as an enabler and or catalyst rather than the actual implementing agent. In other words we are repositioning ourselves to support and empower implementers and other change agents who are actually carrying out development activities on the ground that align with our mission and vision. We want to link people and organizations with the resources they need. We especially what to support member initiated projects .This allows us to have impact in multiple areas and locations and yet focus on our strengths which is proximity to resources and understanding the modalities of obtaining them on behalf of worthy causes. We implement crowdfunding and pursue project based funding from major donors.
- To effect change we can no longer be silent bystanders on issues of concern to our local communities and Masaaba society in general. We remain fiercely apolitical, but recognize our role as responsible citizens to lend voice to issues that would otherwise have no voice. We will pursue a greater role to keep those responsible for the welfare of our communities accountable. Advocacy and lobbying for the change we want both in Uganda, North America and elsewhere will part of NAMCA’s DNA.
- The ERC building will be our sole long term focus in the 3-5 next years. First we recognize this at least its initial phase as a building project not a programs one. An investment enterprise that will serve a social purpose when we implement its associated programs at later phases. This building will be the only one of its kind in Mbale and will serve as a worthy investment vehicle for all who participate in it.
CHANGES MADE TO IMPLEMENT STRATEGIC PLAN:
NAMCA has made the necessary constitutional amendments to allow:
- Extending membership to anyone who wants to join NAMCA anywhere in the world both in the homeland and the diaspora.
- The establishment of local Chapters and inclusion other likeminded organizations as affiliate organizations under our organization structure. The new structure allows NAMCA to form local chapters, form close partnerships with other Masaaba organizations all over the world. We have initiated contact with IMUKA in the U.K and will soon have very close ties and share various resources to empower each other. We are seeking other similar linkages with existing organizations or with groups that would like to form chapters in Scandinavia, Germany, U.A.E, South Africa, Australia and China.
- Admission into the founder’s council from a wider constituency both within and outside NAMCA based on the benefits a prospective member accrues to the organization rather than only their historical significance in its founding or leadership positions held. The previous founders Council membership restrictions and categories have been removed and replaced with new criteria.
- As a result of the amendments the trade name of our organization will be changed from the North America Masaaba Cultural Association to the New Alliance of Masaaba Cultural Associations. The acronym will still remain “NAMCA”
Membership will be unbundled from Insurance. They will have separate fee schedules and members will have the choice to opt in or out of the Insurance plan. For the plan to take effect a minimum of 15 members will be required to sign up within the enrollment period (July 25- Aug 25), otherwise if less all insurance payments will be refunded. The membership fee is a flat $ 50 per year for all individuals above 18. The Insurance fee will be a maximum of $70 per year or a lower amount determined by the number of people enrolled. The default charge will always be $70 until final premium is determined at end of enrollment period. The difference between initial charge and final premium will be refunded.
As of 7/25/2015 I (Andrew Mungoma) will transition the post of President to Prof Peter Simbi and concentrate my energies as a member of the Fundraising Committee for the ERC building project. Prof Simbi has been a member of NAMCA since its founding and has been a committed and active in so many capacities as both a member and leader. He understands this organization inside and out. I have served with Dr Simbi on the board and I have no doubt his leadership will take NAMCA to new heights. As one of the principle architects of the strategic plan his entry signifies fresh new leadership and fresh ideas - an opportune moment for a fresh start.
Outcomes of AGM:
- The Launch of the ERC fundraising drive. We are seeking 1000 Bamasaaba or their friends to give $1000 each toward the ERC building project. On the first day that we announced this program at the AGM we raised $7000 in less than 15 minutes! Our Ambassador in Washington Ms Oliver Wonekha was among the first to donate. The Rt Honorable Ruhakana Rugunda also showed his support with $ 1000 for this program. Per the strategic plan a fundraising committee has been formed to implement a major fundraising drive from Bamasaaba and their friends everywhere. The committee will publish the details of the plan. However in a nutshell the building will be divided into portions of $ 1000 either by square footage or number of bricks. The number of bricks given will determine ownership portions of the building.
- The Uganda government through the Prime Minister has put its full support behind the ERC project and in principle agreed to be an anchor tenant occupying at least 30% of the building when complete. The importance of this is that we can use this guarantee as collateral for a loan if need be. What is very important for NAMCA members is the full ownership of this building – thus we would not enter into financial agreements with the government or other partners that diminishes our ownership. That is why is extremely important that 1000 Bamasaaba come forward to raise $1,000,000 towards this project to ensure that it will be fully funded and owned by NAMCA members and its contributors.
- The President of UNAA was in attendance and informed us of our prospective qualification for the UNAA Development fund. The Uganda government will be disbursing $50,000 every year to UNAA affiliated organizations. As an affiliate organization of UNAA, NAMCA qualifies to access these funds. However, every year we need to submit an application with a list of our members who are also members of UNAA, and we will be funded per head. In other words it benefits NAMCA as an organization greatly to be affiliated with UNAA and for our members to join UNAA. This funding will bring us very close to covering a significant portion of our administrative costs per the Strategic plan Budget. If Bamasaaba everywhere join both NAMCA and UNAA, you be guaranteeing much needed funding on an annual basis.
What you can do to bring us Closer to Our Goals:
- Become a member of both NAMCA and UNAA. With the drop in our membership fees both memberships will cost $ 100 or less.
- Join the $ 1000 by 1000 Bamasaaba fundraising drive pledging your long term financial commitment.
- Get two people to Join NAMCA within a period of one year.
- Submit either an ongoing project or a prospective one that the board will review and seek funding for.
- Learn, practice or teach others Masaaba language and culture.Type your paragraph here.