How and why should I register a community-based organisation in Uganda?

Uganda’s population is approximately 45 million people, but 41% of the people live in poverty. Some of the widely used entities to help communities alleviate the harsh conditions of life or promote better living conditions are self-help organizations.

A Community Based Organisation, (CBO), is such an ideal community self-help entity that you can set up to advance your vision of building a better community in Uganda.

In this article, I have simplified the procedure of registering a CBO to help you start your self-help group today.

Why should you register a CBO?

  1. Unlike other entities like companies limited by guarantee or Non-Governmental Organisations, (NGOs), CBOs are organisations that operate at a sub-county level and below whose objective is to promote and advance the wellbeing of the members of the community.
  2. CBOs are also easy and inexpensive to form and operate. Thus, there is no need of hiring technical people to help you in the operation of the organisation.
  3. Given their geographical limitation, that is, operating at a sub-county level and below, CBOs have a niche within a community of operation which promotes community-led innovation and growth.

What are the limitations of CBOs over other entities like NGOs?

Like any other entity, CBOs also have limitations that do not make them most favourable for some people depending on their objectives. Some of the major limitations include the following:

  1. The aspect of geographical limitation is a major hindrance to the operation of most CBOs. For instance, a CBO whose aim is to care for persons living with HIV/AIDs is limited to serving such individuals up to the sub-county level even when it has the capacity to serve in the entire district, region, or even countrywide.
  2. Most communities are deprived of best practices from other regions which would have fostered their wellbeing. The activities of most CBOs are only limited to the culture and ways of life of the community.
  3. Finally, CBOs also face the challenge of limited secure and financial structures. Most CBOs can only mobilize for resources and funding within their communities which hampers their growth and intended positive impact.


  1. A person or group of persons intending to form a CBO may apply for registration to the District Non-Governmental Monitoring Committee in the intended district of operation.
  2. The application for registration is made on Form K which is provided at the District Non-Governmental Monitoring Committee Offices or it can be downloaded online.

Who can register a CBO?

  1. Every Ugandan citizen has a right to register for a CBO either individually or with others.
  2. Non-Ugandans may also register a CBO upon registration of a name with Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB).

What are the required documents?

The following documents must accompany the application form:

  1. A copy of the constitution of the CBO intended to be registered.
  2. A recommendation letter from the Sub County Non-Governmental Organizations Monitoring Committee.
  3. A work plan and budget or strategic plan for the CBO.
  4. Proof of payment of the prescribed fees.
  5. See the link below for the necessary documents.

Issuance of a certificate of registration

Upon fulfilment of the above requirements, the District Non-Governmental Monitoring Committee issues a certificate of registration and a permit to the CBO indicating the following:

  1. The name of the CBO;
  2. The objectives or activities of the CBO;
  3. The date of registration;
  4. The registration number; and
  5. The Geographical area of operation.


The Validity of the registration and operating permit is one year from the date of registration. The operational permit may be renewed upon payment of fees and fulfilling other requirements from time to time.

How long does it take to process a CBO operational permit?

There is no fixed period for the registration of a CBO, but the whole process usually takes an average of 30 days.

In conclusion, before applying for registration with the District Non-Governmental Monitoring Committee, a person seeking to register a CBO should first carry out a name-search with URSB to make sure that no other entity uses a similar name. CBOs are also regulated by the NGO Board under the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

One thought on “How and why should I register a community-based organisation in Uganda?

  1. wow
    The information on the proceses of registration of a CBO in uganda is so clear and straight, thanks a lot for sharing.

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