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									Improving NGO Internal Governance
 and Public Accountability: Sharing
 Experience and cases on NGO self
            Regulation

  A paper presented at the CIVICUS Webinar interaction on;
     Legitimacy, Transparency and Accountability issues
               for civil society organizations

                             By
                                       Bonnie Kiconco K. Mutungi
                                       National QuAM Coordinator

                                               15th July, 2010
      Outline of the presentation
•   Introduction
•   The Rational for the QuAM initiative
•   Over view of the QuAM process
•   Governance structure and Features
•   Certification levels and process
•   QuAM Strategic Focus
•   Achievements
•   Anticipated Benefits
•   Implementation challenges
•   Conclusion
  INTRODUCTION: What is QuAM
• The NGO Quality Assurance Certification Mechanism
  (QuAM) is a voluntary internal self assessment and
  regulation mechanism initiated to strengthen the internal
  governance of NGOs by supporting them to enhance
  their capacity to uphold accepted standards and ethical
  conduct.

• The QuAM development process was done under the
  patronage of the Uganda National NGO Forum
  (UNNGOF) and the Development Network of Indigenous
  Voluntary Associations (DENIVA). The two organizations
  and the promoters of the initiative.
  Rationale for the QuAM Initiative
• The rationale behind the initiative was that the
  NGO sub-sector itself should be actively
  engaged in promoting particular set of values
  and norms as part of maintaining a public
  reputation for professionalism and high ethical
  standard.

• To set out principles and definite standards of
  behaviour for responsible practices with an aim
  of protecting the credibility and integrity of civil
  society organisations in Uganda
                     Rational …
• CSOs to subject themselves to the same level of scrutiny as
  they demand of others (CSOs in Uganda have enjoyed
  special status and influence within development processes by
  highlighting the failures of Government and other institutions).

• To regulate the conduct of NGOs. There is consensus among
  CSOs themselves and other stakeholders including
  development partners, that there is need for a Civil Society
  Voluntary Certification Mechanism that would apply to a
  broader constituency within civil society.

• To enhance CSO’s legitimacy by demonstrating their
  accountability, their openness to public scrutiny and their
  adherence to acceptable ethical standards of behaviour
Overview of the QuAM Process
• The QuAM initiative was developed through a highly
  participatory process that took over 18 months.

• The initiative came at an opportune time to salvage
  individual organizations’ codes of conduct most of which
  are just kept on shelves and not performing their
  intended purpose.

• The process also entailed public input through the
  media.
                     Process
• The QuAM development process was done under the
  patronage of the Uganda National NGO Forum
  (UNNGOF) and the Development Network of Indigenous
  Voluntary Associations (DENIVA) and the initial phase
  was concluded in 2006.

• After over 3 formative years of the QuAM as a collective
  process, important gains have been made and lessons
  learnt.

• Key among lesions learnt is the nature and status of
  NGOs in Uganda.
  QuAM Governance Structure
• The QuAM organization structure is as
  follows;
  – The National QuAM Assembly,
  – National QuAM Council,
  – District Quality Assurance Certification
    Committee,
  – Public or Beneficiary
               QuAM Features
• The QuAM goes beyond any single existent code of
  conduct; it is based on clearly defined standards and
  sets out implementation modalities, including sanctions
  in the case of breach.

• Obtaining a QuAM certificates is not a legal requirement,
  but once issued, the provisions of a certificate are
  binding on the certified NGO.

• QuAM has three certification levels and an NGO
  qualifies for one basing on its compliance with the 59
  standards as indicated below:
       QuAM Certificate Levels
• There are three different levels of a quality
  assurance certificate issued:
   – Provisional –applies to NGOs that are of recent
     creation, meet selected minimum quality standards
     (18 in total). They apply for full certification after one
     year.
   – Full Certificate –issued when all minimum quality
     standards have been met (they are 32 in total,
     including the 18 above)
   – Advanced Certificate –issued to an NGO that meets
     all minimum standards above as well as standards for
     improvement (27 in total).
       Levels of Development
• Attaining any of the above certificates depends
  on the level of development the organization has
  achieved. There are 59 standards that are used
  to assess an organization that applies to be
  certified and these are classified as below:
  development as classified below:
  – (A): The NGO as an Organization;
  – (B): NGO Programs and Activities;
  – (C): Further improving our performance
                Certification Process
•   The certification process and overall implementation of the QuAM is vetted
    and verified by two important external organs, and at times the third organ
    may be involved. The organs are:

     – National QuAM Council: independent of any single NGO comprising of 7 persons
       from representatives of NGO networks (apex, thematic and district) and two
       independent persons with extensive knowledge of civil society. The Council
       issues Quality Assurance Certificates and also acts as the keeper of the QuAM:
       monitors its implementation, keeps records, sensitizes and trains district
       committees.

     – District Quality Assurance Certification Committee: Is composed of 5 voluntary
       members, at least one third of whom are female.

     – Public or Beneficiary: vetting may be done with the help of the prescribed
       beneficiaries which the NGO in operates. At times the vetting mechanisms may
       require every NGO to subject itself to public scrutiny to get feedback on its work
       from the community or stakeholders that have a stake in the organization
                 Strategic Focus
• Outreach and Publicity of QuAM to all NGOs and their
  constituencies in the country

• Encouraging and supporting NGOs to under take the Certification

• NGO Capacity Development (this will evolve as generic QuAM Gaps
  are identified through Monitoring and Evaluation– it should be
  conceptualized as a mentoring process where more advanced
  NGOs can help the others)

• Networking, Learning and Synergy Building (national QuAM
  platform for learning and experience sharing
     Foreseen QuAM Benefits
• The QuAM is a progressive, non–threatening instrument
  to internal self-governance, designed to enable NGOs at
  different levels of development to grow overtime

• QuAM ensures genuine appreciation of principles and
  practices, as opposed to enforced conditioning which
  leads to organizations ‘artificially’ claiming governance
  standards without believing in them

• Having NGOs that are publicly accountable and are able
  to show the impact of their work to the community/
  constituency they represent.
                   Benefits
• Benefits for NGOs include:
    – Enhanced credibility, legitimacy,
      accountability, protection/autonomy
    – Contributes to better cohesion amongst
      NGOs
    – Helps to constantly improve performance and
      NGOs learn from examples; and
    – Raises profile
•
       Achievements so far made
• Launch by Minister of State for Internal Affairs at the 2nd Uganda
  Social Forum in September 2006

• Recognition of the QuAM by NGOs, development partners and
  government – the QuAM is recognized in the NGO Regulations of
  2009 and the draft NGO Policy

• QuAM infrastructure in place;
   – A fully established and functioning National Council
   – Fully functioning secretariat,
   – QuAM Committees in 19 districts,

• Recognition of the QuAM by NGOs, development partners and
  government – the QuAM is recognized in the NGO Regulations of
  2009 and the draft NGO Policy
                  Achievements
• Sensitizing and marketing to NGOs – both during the
  process of formulation and after its launch,

• Some NGOs have already gone through the process and
  testified to the importance of Self Regulation, and they
  can give testimony on how going through the process
  has helped streamline their operations and these
  include;
   –   UNNGOF,
   –   Plan Uganda,
   –   Kalanga District NGO Forum,
   –   DENIVA, and
   –   Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda (ACCU
     Outstanding Challenges
• Limited outreach especially at sub national level,

• Different interpretation by other stakeholders
  who look at QuAM as a compulsory instrument,
  rather than voluntary which would undermine a
  cardinal principle of the initiative,

• Lack of clarity on ownership; some NGOs think
  that QuAM belongs to particular organizations
  and they have no business with it.
                       Conclusion
• In a country 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.

• We would encourage all NGOs in the country to adopt/assimilate to
  the QuAM Agenda as an instrument composed of standards aimed
  at enhancing Accountability as well as credibility in the sector.

								
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