The experiences of the 1st Annual General Meeting for the Uganda Chapter

Uganda held its first AGM on the 12th of October at the AAA secretariat offices with 46 participants. The purpose of the meeting was to report on the chapter undertakings and also present the audited accounts for 2014. The Uganda chapter was officially registered in 2012 with 13 members of whom three were founding members under the country chairman leadership of Dr. Stephen Birungi. By the time of its 1st AGM, the chapter membership had grown to 54 members in 2014 and 89 members in October 2015.

The 2014 report informed members; the chapter Business Clubs (BCs) was launched as well as leaders elected to guide the BC activities. Business Clubs were also to represent their region on part of the country chapter Board of Directors (BoD) which forms the chapter leaders and support by the country coordinator who is a secretary to the BoD, but also in charge of the day to day country activities.

In the chapter activities that were implemented in 2014, included BC meetings, Business to business visits, Business plan training, launching and kick starting the dairy and honey Sector Desks (formerly known as Community of Practices/ CoPs ) as well as publishing the inaugural AAA newsletter.

Despite the activities implemented and chapter growth, this has also come with challenges such as; poor communication, slow member participation and response to AAA activities and slow membership fee payment. During the meeting an independent auditor presented the 2014 financial reports to the members with highlights of member contributions, fees, grant fund and all the expenses done by the Chapter during the period. Certificates of membership were handed to the members.

Members’ reactions to the report

In regards to the challenge with membership payment member’s said, “we need added value to the services offered.” A coherent activity such as an investment club to pool resources that will keep them together, motivated and also for sustainability could be an example of this added value.

Members also requested the chapter BoD that fundraising and partnership should be considered in the planning of 2016. Members were happy about the step for the chapter to have audited accounts and requested for this to be done in the first quarter of the year as well the AGM. This would also help to have members pay their membership fees early in the year in order to participate in the AGM. Members further requested that certificates be written in the company name instead of the names of the entrepreneur, to which the chapter BoD agreed to.

The current chapter chairman Dr. Stephen Birungi requested to step from the position because of the added responsibilities at the AAA Pan Africa BoD. However members requested that he remains in office until end of 2015. They added that the BoD handles the transition process then later communicate to members on the next steps to follow for the chapter to have a new chairman in 2016.