Country Director’s New year message; The sky is the Beginning! | WWF wwfuganda

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Country Director’s New year message; The sky is the Beginning!

It is often said that the ‘Sky is the limit’! For WWF Uganda Country Office, it may just as well, be the beginning. As I welcome you all from a deserved Festive/Holiday Season to yet another year, we expect to continue our service to the planet through this incredible organization.  I found it prudent to share with you some retrospective as well as prospective thoughts as below:

A look at 2018
 First, I would like to congratulate you all for going through 2018 and the festive season. I am aware that a colleague lost a loved one during this period and I extend sympathies on behalf of the Advisory  Board, Management and all Staff. For most, it has been a peaceful holiday and we thank God for that too.

Secondly as we all know, 2018 was a great and remarkable year. We recorded many successes in various areas but a few I would like to highlight are:

The successful completion of the UCO Strategic plan Mid-term review, Grown strategic partnerships with business and corporate organizations, the development and operationalization of the legal and policy frameworks such as PES manual and the National Forest Stewardship Standards, the revamped internal communications and documentation platforms, the development and roll out of the Tourism and Marketing strategy for Mt Rwenzori National Park, the Rwenzori Coffee experience, a tourism product that is boosting livelihoods of communities living adjacent to Mt Rwenzori , the launch of the Institutional and Household Solar  PV systems that are  benefiting 51 Health and Education Institutions and thousands of households are some of our wins for 2018.

Looking forward to 2019!
 As a conservation organization,  we must look forward with optimism and hope for our very existence as an organization focused  on  stopping the degradation of our environment to guarantee a future for humans and biodiversity. To be able to deliver on our mandate, I would like to outline the following critical areas of focus in 2019.
  1. Performance Management: In the course of 2018, there were instances of lapses in line management of staff performance as well as individual’s staff accountability for their functions. This is an urgent and critical area of focus for 2019 if we are to strengthen our results focus. I expect all Line Managers and respective staff to treat this as a core deliverable of the year. We also commit to do more to build skilled and motivated staff through exploring ways to improve staff welfare, greater team building & support and to implement the staff retention strategy.
  1. Consolidate Fundraising Efforts: While the gains over the years must be celebrated, in the same breadth, we must do more in 2019.  A very urgent priority this year is the enactment of a Fundraising committee that will guide our fundraising efforts, an undertaking that every staff will contribute to in one way or another with clear targets. Additionally, we shall deliberately launch an investment fund and plan to be managed by the office of the Conservation Manager with very clear investment targets and plans.
 Expectations and Binding Commitments
 As I conclude this maiden message to you all, I would like to reiterate some expectations of different functions and units.
 · Overall and for all staff, units and even partners, we expect a strict adherence to and timely implementation of the approved Plans and Budgets. We also expect 100% compliance to the Fraud and Corruption prevention and Investigation Policy (2015), Respect at work place Policy (2018) and now the Child protection Policy.  We also expect your loyalty to the organization that you serve.
 · Programmes - better partner relations and support, quality programming and innovations especially at the hubs, improved reporting, documentation and communication, better performance of projects and institutionalizing knowledge management.  The program teams should additionally strive for 100% bund rates.

UCO will also  lead on the development of the Energy   HII impact initiative. We shall also take lead in overhauling the Africa Reflex Regional Program  to the  Greater Virunga land scape Initiative.
 · Communications - improved documentation and engagement on online platforms in the network,  rollout of  our website with up  to-date and exciting conservation milestones  as well as a positive and rewarding engagement with the media, including social media platforms like face-book.

 · Administration - efficiency standards in all processes and procedures to avoid unexplainable bureaucratic delays.  We also expect better communication, courtesy and responsiveness to all external inquiries to WWF UCO.
 Security will also continue to be reinforced by upgrading the Biometric systems, CCTV will also be upgraded with more cameras and office lighting will  be improved. This year, we shall also  institute Emergency response involving response from a security company in case of a security breach in the night or outside office hours.

 · Fundraising - improved contract management, Donor engagement and retention activities.  All this must be guided by the yet to be instituted Fundraising committee

. · Finance - timely response and greater support to enable compliance with the Field Operations Manual (2011) as well improved financial reconciliations to inform expenditure decisions by various units. We also expect clean audits and continuous building of reserves to guarantee sustainability.

Finally, 2019 will see a complete overhaul of the SMT with 75% of new entrants. We note that our SMT will not be gender balanced with just one lady. However, we shall strive to ensure gender responsiveness and balance in all our decisions.
We commit to uphold the values of WWF and ways of work. There should be no compromise in our values and to this end we call upon staff to be open and report any concerns they have about our decisions. We shall also strengthen shared leadership and consultative decision making especially on critical matters concerning the organization without compromising efficiency in decision making. Our engagements with the UCO Advisory Board and Support group will be further strengthened.

I wish you all a very Productive and Truly Rewarding 2019!
Uganda CD (center) with Norman and Annah holding the 2018 Annual Report