By Vision Reporter
TradeMark East Africa recently held a one day training for her partners, private sector and civil society organisations which included: Uganda Shippers Council (USC), Uganda Small Scale Industries Association (USSIA), Private Sector Foundation Uganda(PSFU), Uganda Tourism Board(UTB), Southern and Eastern African Trade, Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATIN) , iCON Enterprise Foundation and African Women's Economic Policy Network (AWEPON).
Private Sector Organisations have a key role to play in contributing to policy dialogue, providing information and monitoring policymaking and programming for regional integration. The private sector aims to influence Government and the EAC through apex bodies. Civil society participation and engagement in EAC integration processes has been very limited and there is inadequate appreciation of the key issues and of the impact of EAC integration amongst civil society organizations (CSOs) in Uganda. There are concerns that EAC integration, if not managed properly, will lead to further marginalization and disempowerment of vulnerable groups.
However, Private Sector Organisations and civil society organizations typically lack technical capacity on regional integration and are not sufficiently engaged in the EAC regional integration process. Trade Mark East Africa (TMEA) has found ways to promote private sector and civil society involvement in EAC issues through: providing grants to support demand driven research and advocacy work specifically research on the impact of regional integration on economic growth, trade performance and social development; support to institutional capacity development; Strengthen communication and dialogue mechanisms; and support to national and regional Platforms around key thematic issues.
All grantees have to undergo a fiduciary risk/ due diligence assessment to establish their technical and operational capacity to implement their projects. Where risks and weaknesses have been identified, TMEA is supporting initiatives to put in place short/long term measures to strengthen organisations’ financial management systems.
Speaking at the event, TradeMark East Africa Country Director, Allen Asiimwe, thanked members for attending the training. She informed members that sharing knowledge and experiences in best practices across the board is important. Strong internal systems ensure sustainability and increases visibility of organisations. In addition, organisations are able to effectively represent their members’ interest in benefiting from Regional Integration”.
TMEA contracted PSI Consult Limited (PSICL), a Ugandan consultancy, to design and implement appropriate organizational management and internal control systems for these PSO/CSOs including financial, procurement and human resources management manuals as well as policy and strategy documents and tools for fundraising, fraud-prevention and anti-corruption, codes of ethics, monitoring and evaluation, information technology and risk management.
The objectives of the training workshop were to:
• To provide a platform for sharing knowledge and experiences which have been generated through the consultancy and, especially, to share ideas on further strengthening the partner institutions;
• To enable the consultants to highlight and explain the context, structure and content of the manuals so that partner institutions can better understand how to use them correctly and effectively;
• To enable staff and officials of partner institutions to raise questions on and seek clarification from the consultants on any aspects of the manuals and tools;
The workshop was highly interactive and flexibly structured It was well attended by members of Boards, institutional heads, senior management, heads of departments, programme officers and other staff of beneficiary institutions; and officials of TMEA .