43 QMS Introduced in MEACA Uganda T he EAC is the only Regional Econom- ic Community with a ministry dedi- cated to regional affairs in each of its Partner States. The role of the Ministries of East African Community Affairs (MEACAs) is to mobilise and coordinate regional topics at na- tional level. This has been of huge benefit to the EAC inte- gration process. The Ugandan MEACA embarked on the implementation of a Quality Management System (QMS) based on ISO 9001:2015 in March 2017. All required processes and op- portunities were discussed with the leadership and all staff, resulting in high commitment and enthusiasm for quality management. Surveys and interviews as well as basic audits were used to gain a detailed assessment report of the existing manage- ment processes and structures. It identifies gaps in the qual- ity of service delivery and performance and defines the road map to certification by the International Standards Organ- isation (ISO). The EAC Secretariat, where the process was finalised in 2016 in cooperation with GIZ, has supported the process through advice and the sharing of processes that have been identified as common to all the organs and institutions of the EAC. GIZ has been the main partner in both the certification of the EAC Secretariat and now the bringing of quality man- agement to the Partner State level in Uganda. Staff representatives visited two organisations with certi- fied QMS system: the MEACA in Kenya and the University of Embu. Practical exposure helped them understand the tangible benefits and advantages of quality management processes and created motivation to work hard towards their own system. Mrs Edith Mwanje, Permanent Secretary of the MEACA has assured her full support to the change process “The gap assessment for QMS has shone light on our priorities for improvement. Issues of performance evaluation, risk man- agement and indeed our own working environment stood out as key focus points. The commitment to implement QMS is not being taken lightly, it entails considerable work, great change and a real shift in how we look at the service we offer to our customers. We appreciate the support that GIZ is giving to this important initiative. 2018 promises to be full of challenges and hard work and I look forward to seeing our institution evolve and as a result of further improvements in our ability to act as the conduit from national to regional level.” QMS implementation at the MEACA is now in full swing. A committee will oversee the process and adopt the planning and time scales. The GIZ-EAC Programme has supported both the certifica- tion of the EAC Secretariat and the introduction of a quality management to the MEACA in Uganda. The work to implement the QMS continues in 2018.