Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum, over the weekend, launched its permanent home at their new premises in Ntinda. HRAPF whose offices were previously in Mengo officially opened its doors to their clients at their new office, The HRAPF House, which is located at Nsubuga Road, off Ntinda-Kiwatule Road, Ntinda, Nakawa Division, Kampala.
We spoke to Dr Adrian Jjuko, the Executive Director of HRAPF, about this momentous milestone and how the organization got here.
KT: What pushed HRAPF to acquire its own office premises?
AJ: As an organisation, the main reason for seeking to acquire our own premises was security. We had been attacked violently two times at our former offices with loss of life in the first incident and severe injuries in the second one. We then invested a lot of money for security but it was counterproductive and challenging to install security systems in a building you did not own. We thus reached out to our donors and partners who agreed to contribute towards us getting our own home which we would then be able to invest in its security, knowing that it was more or less permanent.
KT: This is something we are sure many key population organizations would love to emulate but are constrained by funds. Take us a little deeper into the fundraising process
AJ: We started working on raising funds for this project about two years ago, soon after the second office break-in in February 2018. Having the building was as a result of concerted efforts, and much of the money is HRAPF's own money, contributed by members, board members, trustees and staff over time. This process required both patience and a clear passion to bring it to life.
We had land which we sold to add to the funds from donors. As such achieving such a feat requires tenacity but also the support of all organisational structures, in addition to the donors. Also good work is seen and supported, and so we used our goodwill to raise funds quickly and also used them appropriately, within the shortest time possible.
However, construction started in March 2020. The construction was done during the COVID-19 period and it was very challenging.
KT: How will your new home be of importance to your clients?
AJ: We are now more centrally located than before, and much more accessible within the Ntinda neighbourhood where many of our clients reside or work. We believe the services have now come close to the groups that we serve, and also that the premises are more secure than where we were before. We also promise improved services to our clients.
KT: What does it mean for HRAPF as an organization?
AJ: Whereas for us acquiring our own premises was largely about security and accessibility of our clients, we also believe that having your own office in Uganda implies more sustainability. It would be difficult for an organisation with its own premises to entirely disappear. There is permanency to having a building that you own.