The Uganda Marathon is not just an event that happens for one week of the year. It is a year-round charity with a full-time team – working tirelessly with projects and the local community to ensure that every pound and dollar raised through the race supports those in Uganda that need it most.

Our mission is to alleviate poverty in rural Uganda. Together, we are helping local community organisations to be self-sufficient through revenue generating, and cost-saving initiatives. What this means is that rather than funding a single school lunch for a child, we fund an income-generating or cost-saving project (like a small farm, or solar power), which will generate/save enough money to pay for a lifetime of school lunches.

Every year, we work with local community leaders to identify the projects that would most benefit from your support. There are so many incredible projects in Uganda that work in the community, choosing the final 15 is a monumental task! This is why we have worked to create the fairest, most transparent system for choosing the projects that are supported for each event.

We are a registered NGO in Uganda – The Masaka Marathon – and a UK-registered charity – The Uganda Foundation – which means that every pound or dollar you fundraise is accounted for, and our team work tirelessly to make sure you leave the biggest legacy possible.

As part of our dedication to being transparent, would like to share our system for choosing the 15 Uganda Marathon partner projects:

The Application Process

This is your legacy! In order to select the best projects we follow a carefully designed plan for choosing the 15 projects to become The Uganda Marathon’s partner projects:

1. We first meet as a team to discuss how we can improve the application form. Every year we get feedback from the projects who apply, on areas that can make the application form more clear or easier to fill out. Using this feedback and our own review, we improve the application form to  capture all the information we need in the best way.

2019 Uganda Marathon Application Form

2. We send out the application form to our charity mailing list of over 150 registered organisations, informing them of the deadline. This might just be the biggest database of projects in Masaka, and word soon spreads that applications are open.

3. We invite all projects to attend training sessions about how best to fill out the application form. Our goal is to make sure that all projects start on a level playing field, giving them all an equal opportunity to be successful. For the 2019 event, we have had over 30 projects travel to attend the workshop, run by an expert from Kampala.

4. The Uganda Foundation staff check through the applications to identify if they meet the basic requirements for funding and that they have provided the right information. Projects which have left out documents, bank statements, or a list of their board are called and given a set number of days to submit the relevant documents.

Local board members working through applications

5. A Board, made up of prominent leaders, experts, change-makers, and technical advisors – all taken from the local community – has the task of narrowing the list down to 25. The technical advisors are individuals who hold established recognised offices in Masaka, such as the community development office, director of a major national charity etc. The technical advisors are there to ensure there is no conflict of interest issues that can arise from working within such a small community where people know each other so well.

Working within criteria that focuses on impact and sustainability, this board puts their extensive local knowledge to use in assessing and scoring applications.  A lot of African Coffee is drunk and Matooke is eaten on this full day of selecting.

6. The list of 25 projects is then sent to The Uganda Foundation Board of Trustees, who have overall responsibility for ensuring your fundraising is put to the best use, and kept transparent and accounted for. Using criteria that are focused on international engagement and legacy day plans, The Uganda Foundation Trustees bring separate skills that shortlist to the final 15. This stage of the selection recognises what will engage with an international audience, whilst also assessing impact notes from the Ugandan board. The goal is to select the projects that will most likely have their fundraised targets met, which gives us the best chance that all 15 of the final chosen projects will be fully funded and see their positive sustainable impact come to reality.

7. Finally, site visits are then carried out by the Masaka Marathon team to complete our due diligence and confirm the final 15 projects are functioning entities that can truly deliver what they set out to achieve and create the legacy that our international runners leave behind.

This section of the process takes just over one month to complete and we close this chapter knowing that everything has been done to select the best possible 15 projects Masaka has to offer. And with a big smile on our faces, we publish these projects on our website out to the world!!!