Re- Imaging Quality Assurance Mechanism As A Multipupurose Vehicle For The Cso Sector Health


Today, the Uganda national NGO forum organized a breakfast meeting in Kampala in partnership with CARE Uganda to discuss the theme: re-imagining Quality Assurance Mechanism (QuAM). The meeting aimed to address the emerging opportunities and challenges of QuAM in development and humanitarian efforts, particularly the shift from international organizations (INGOs) dominating the system to local actors taking the lead.


Bruno Rotival making his submission during the panel discussion

During the meeting, Apollo Gabazira, the CARE Country Director, emphasized the critical role of international organizations in empowering national actors with resources, power, and voice. He stressed the significance of embracing the shift towards locally led development and highlighted the commitment of various organizations to go beyond mere rhetoric and actively support this transition. “Locally led is the thing of the moment. It’s everywhere you look. It has been rhetoric until they tell you to do it. But the signatories (Save the Children, Oxfam, DCA, CRS, FInnAid, World Vision, and CARE) committed to go beyond the rhetoric. We also recognize that giving money and promising to give money are different things being influenced by three ‘CAT factors’; Capacity – sharing, Accountability, and Trust. If we don’t address CAT, localization remains a paper exercise. Hence our interest in deploying QuAM, and I am confident we shall have a solution.” Said Gabazira.

Dr. Isooba Moses, the Executive Director of Uganda National NGO Forum, framed QUAM as a multipurpose tool for enhancing institutional health in the sector. He emphasized the need for QUAM to signify more than just a certificate, stressing the importance of putting words into action and demonstrating readiness for locally led development.
“We are reimagining QUAM that goes beyond a Certificate, but living what this is all about. We need to be fit for purpose if we’re going to take on the mantle of locally-led development. If we are going to be able to take on the mantle of engaging in localization, we need to move from talk. We need to move from rhetoric to action. We need to be able to give guarantees to INGOs and development partners that as national actors, we are fit for purpose. Then we can be able to talk about localization, upholding the subsidiarity principle. Being able to appreciate that national actors are primarily the ones that will find the solution to the problem. And for us to be able to do that, it’s not going to be about talking and asking for direct funding is not going to be asking for militia funding. It’s not going to be asking for unrestricted funding. We must be fit for purpose”. Affirmed Dr Isooba.


Hellen Akwi, chair of QUAM National Council, acknowledged the historical lack of widespread adoption of QUAM but expressed optimism about its potential as a valuable multi-purpose tool for the sector. Can QuAM catch the CAT?, Hellen inquired.

Agnes Kirabo, Executive Director Food Rights Alliance representing a National NGO, raised concerns about the preparedness of local organizations for leadership in the localization agenda, emphasizing the need for deeper involvement. “My biggest concern is where are we as local organizations that are supposed to be part of this agenda?” she said. “I am happy that localization is being localized and I hope it’s deepened.”

The meeting underscored the importance of clear communication and trust-building among participants. Bruno Rotival, ECHO Head of Office, an international donor representative, highlighted the necessity for a systematic response and expressed commitment to supporting local partners in taking over aid delivery systems. He tasked the teams with reconvening to showcase progress after six months.
Tassilo Von Droste, Head of Programmes GIZ.CUSP, emphasized the need for peer learning and the voluntary use of a tool to facilitate access to funding.

Jennifer Aguti, Executive Director of NAWOU, representing the women’s network, noted: “Trust comes on foot but lives on the back, it is a process that takes time.”

Stephen Okello, Head of the NGO Bureau, called for a multistakeholder approach and the need for a comprehensive QuAM reset, with regulators, donors, and NGOs involved in the joint review.

The meeting concluded with a collective call to action, emphasizing that localization is an ongoing process of change, and urging everyone to work together towards building a more sustainable and equitable future. The potential of QUAM as a valuable tool for locally-led development was emphasized, alongside the crucial role of building trust and ensuring capacity for a successful transition. The event signifies a growing recognition of the importance of local leadership in the development sector.

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