THE GENESIS OF DISTRICT MULTI-STAKEHOLDER FORUMS ON OIL & GAS IN UGANDA Addressing issues; Building relationships; Improving outcomes

This is a story about seven district-level multi-stakeholder forums (MSFs) that are hosted and facilitated by Maendeleo ya Jamii [MYJ]. These forums form part of an extraordinary journey that began in October 2012. The journey started with a qualitative assessment of the interactions between different stakeholder groups within Uganda’s Albertine Region where there have been discoveries of oil and natural gas.


1. Desk research

2. Secondary data analysis & selection of sources

3. Choose method and content of CCA

4. Gather data, iterative analysis

5. Validate data

6. Complete the analysis

7. Hold multi-stakeholder meeting

8. Get commitment to follow-up

9. Develop realistic, time-bound action plan

10. Share and get commitment to move forward on at least one option

The Community-Company Assessment (CCA) methodology, developed by Business-Community Synergies (BCS) in Washington DC, was adopted to assess the often complex interactions between community, company, local government, and central government stakeholder groups, with a focus on understanding the barriers and benefits associated with oil and gas activities in 30 villages across 7 districts. The outcome of this assessment brought to light hundreds of barriers and their distinctive manifestations in each of these communities. These individual barriers and their unique contexts were carefully analysed and consolidated into 15 categories.

1. Community Support

Barriers related to community and local government limitations and their unmet desires and expectations

2. Corporate Social Responsibility

Limitations related to the design and impact of CSR

3. Corruption

Barriers concerning favouritism, nepotism, exploitation, bribery, and fraud

4. Displacement and Compensation

Actual and potential loss of property, rights, income, and/or access that have a direct impact on livelihoods

5. Education and Training

Barriers related to literacy, limited education, training, and teacher welfare

6. Employment

Barriers related to job opportunities and employment practices (recruitment, terms, rights, affirmative action)

7. Environment

Barriers related to the management of waste, environmental degradation, noise and air pollution, perceived ecological instability, and environmental compliance monitoring

8. Information and Communication

Barriers related to information sharing in terms of access (supply and demand), regularity, transparency, reliability, timeliness, frequency, relevance, truthfulness, accuracy, and clarity among all stakeholders

9. Infrastructure

Barriers related to inadequate roads, their maintenance, and access to electricity

10. Local Economic Development

Barriers related to real and potential loss of economic opportunities, increased cost of living, reduced production, delayed income, exclusive tendering practices, and limited community preparedness to take advantage of economic opportunities

11. Policy and Legal

Barriers related to an inadequate and unfair policy and legal framework and its unsatisfactory implementation

12. Public Health

Barriers related to access to adequate healthcare, clean water, medical staff, and disease control

13. Social

Barriers related to local behavioural, cultural and moral standards

14. Security

Barriers related to human-wildlife conflict, inter/intra-community conflict, community safety, and theft of property

15. Stakeholder Engagement

Barriers related to deficient inter/intra stakeholder interaction, flow of information, participation, benefit, trust, and a sense of helplessness by communities and local government; unfriendly, disrespectful, fearful and hostile relations, and unfulfilled commitments by companies

Stakeholder Engagement and Information

Further analysis showed that of the 15 barrier categories, stakeholder engagement was the only category that was considered a barrier by all the project stakeholder groups including central government and company. Another prominent barrier category was information and communication.


Using the stakeholder engagement spectrum tool developed by BCS, the perceptions among the four stakeholder groups was assessed and analysed.

The findings revealed very interesting disparities between each stakeholder group regarding the perceived quality of their engagement.

Principles of the MSFs

At the end of the CCA and before the inaugural MSF, a significant amount of time was invested in planning, with a deliberate emphasis on ensuring that each district MSF addresses issues of primary concern to its stakeholders.

Each district MSF seeks to understand the needs, concerns and expectations of its stakeholders and is purposefully designed to operate on the following principles:

  • Recognizing the unique role of each stakeholder
  • Understanding that all stakeholders are equally important
  • Engaging each other with mutual respect and trust
  • Listening to one another and speaking in an open and effective way
  • Working towards mutually beneficial outcomes and leaving no one behind
  • Documenting and sharing of information in a transparent manner
  • Responding and following through on commitments effectively
Structure and Composition of the Forums

Each forum consists of 20-30 individual stakeholders (depending on the number of villages represented in the forum) with more than half being community representatives. Particular consideration is made to ensure the inclusiveness of women and youth, not just in terms of participation, but also in terms of the issues raised and addressed.

The first three MSFs in each district were comprised of representatives from community and local government stakeholder groups. Each community carefully nominated two individuals that they knew would ably represent their interests in the forum. Likewise, each district local government nominated a blend of technical and political representatives to the forum. This initial composition allowed community and their local government to build trust among themselves and to work progressively towards understanding, articulating, and addressing issues that were within their own means to resolve.

The remaining forums have been opened up to other participants including representatives from the private sector, civil society and central government stakeholder groups.


The Forums are ably facilitated by the staff of Maendeleo ya Jamii (MYJ). MYJ’s facilitation of the forums in Arua, Nebbi and Nwoya is supported by Eddy Nam of the Nebbi NGO Forum. Its facilitation of the forums in Kanungu and Rukungiri is supported by Obadiah Arihaihi of the Kanungu NGO Forum. MYJ is also occasionally supported by Jamie van Alstine, Laura Cota, and Jen Dyer of the University of Leeds.


Maendeleo ya Jamii (MYJ) would like to thank the communities, local governments, and central government participants. MYJ would also like to thank the Kanungu District NGO Forum and the Nebbi District NGO Forum for providing the project team with the necessary local context and contacts to make these forums successful. The organisation would also like to thank the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology, and the Office of the President for supporting this project through their necessary authorization and participation in its activities. Also, appreciation is given to the University of Leeds for their active participation in the processes that led to the development of the Multi-Stakeholder Forums. This work was made possible through the generous support of the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF). MYJ thanks DFG for their continued support and partnership.

Maendeleo ya Jamii [MYJ]

1260 Kyanja Road, Kampala, Uganda

P.O. Box 138, Ntinda, Kampala, Uganda

Tel: +256 414 580 322


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