The NGO Quality Assurance Mechanism (QuAM) was developed in 2006 for and by NGOs operating in Uganda. It was a result of a participatory process with wide consultations throughout the sector at national and regional levels. QuAM aims at promoting the adherence by CSOs to generally acceptable ethical standards and operational norms. It also sets principles and standards of behavior for responsible practice, to protect the credibility and integrity of certified NGOs and their networks in Uganda.
As a QuAM promoter, the Uganda National NGO Forum undertook 2 regional QuAM awareness meetings in Bugisu and Acholi regions on 7th March 2017 and 9th March 2017 respectively. The 2 meetings brought together over 70 CSO leaders and provided an opportunity for them to clearly understand QuAM initiative and the role of self-regulation in creating a credible and accountable NGO sector in Uganda. Below are the reasons why CSOs should go through the QuAM process;
- Enhance its credibility; one of the ambitions of NGOs is to defend the rights of our fellow citizens. To do so, one must adhere to the highest ethical standards and best possible practices. QuAM aims to ensure credibility of NGOs is widely recognized in the eyes of the public.
- Enhance its legitimacy; Given the doubts that sometimes surround the legitimacy of NGOs, you may wish to re-assert the bona fide character of your organization.
- Enhance protection and autonomy; If NGOs are seen as trustworthy and effective, they are better able to secure their necessary freedom of operation.
- Contribute to better cohesion amongst NGOs; By working together to develop standards of practice, by sharing and applying these standards across the sector, we expect enhanced cohesion amongst NGOs reducing the competitive pressures that often undermine unity.
- Help to constantly improve performance; we realize that, as NGOs, we can’t be perfect but we can strive towards perfection and QuAM has been designed to promote constant improvement so as to become more effective, efficient and better learners.
- Learn from examples; You may wish to learn from those NGOs that are setting high standards in your local community. QuAM will set a trend for us all to follow.
- Enhance accountability; as NGOs we are accountable to the general public, our members, local and external donors. QuAM will help us enhance our accountability to these parties.
- Raise profile; having a QuAM certificate will signal to the public that you belong to a genuine, recognized group of voluntary organizations striving to adhere to high ethical standards and to constantly improve performance.
In a region facing a moral crisis in the public and private sector, the QuAM aims to make a contribution to inculcating moral impulses that will percolate through the entire society. The QuAM is one of the most important developments in the NGO sector that has got support from a cross section of NGOs; local, national, International, and other partner sectors. We, therefore, call upon all actors to respect the values and principles that QuAM espouses and support its implementation.
By Robert Ninyesiga