BasicNeeds (2000-2009)

Founded by Chris Underhill in 2000 using funding from World in Need and the Joel Joffe Charitable Trust, BasicNeeds is an international development organisation. BasicNeeds’ vision is that the basic needs of all mentally ill people, throughout the world, are satisfied and their basic rights are respected.

BasicNeeds in Uganda (2009-2016)

In 2009, the BasicNeeds UK trustees approved a plan to transition five of their branches into local NGOs over a period of three-four years. Four key factors led to this decision:

  1. Reach: to respond in-country to needs in a timely manner, such as the extra-ordinary demand from people and agencies on the ground for local government programs, whilst avoiding the creation of additional bureaucracy.
  2. Sustainability: to respond to changing donor interests, and to open local programs to the vast amount of funding available in-country.
  3. Quality: whilst independence brings a risk of deviating from the model and thereby compromising quality, a quality assurance system mitigated this risk.
  4. Leadership: in-country programs had demonstrated strong skills in operation and delivery for some 10 years. The timing was therefore deemed suitable for them to move towards independence. Plans were put in place to promote program managers into the Founding Executive Directors of the independent organisations.

Under the legal name BasicNeeds Foundation Uganda, but operating under the name of Basic Needs UK in Uganda (BNUU) the Ugandan program functioned as a National NGO. However, due to a lack of funding in 2016 and 2017 the Board of the BasicNeeds Foundation Uganda resolved to close the organisation.

Fortunately, Network for Africa, a UK based partner, expressed interest in working with BasicNeeds Foundation Uganda to implement a program funded by Comic Relief, and in further partnership beyond the life of the project. Consequently, BasicNeeds UK in Uganda (BNUU) was reinstated as a Ugandan NGO and a new Ugandan Board was appointed, to be responsible for the further development of its community mental health work.

Since 2017, BasicNeeds UK in Uganda (BNUU) has been working in Agago District, northern Uganda, proving mental health support to communities in post-conflict recovery, working to address the mental health legacy of the war. BNUU has received funding for several projects, further details of which can be found on our Programs page.