Four non-governmental organizations from Turkey attended the international conference "Quality Assurance Systems (QAS) for NGOs" organized in the Croatian capital of Zagreb by the Project for Technical Support for Non-Governmental Organizations (TACSO).
The conference was organized in co-operation with the Swedish-based SIPU Institution which is specialized on increasing capacities, the TACSO Turkey Branch and the Human Resources Development Foundation (IKGV). It was the aim of the conference to pinpoint ways of how to strengthen NGOs in a democracy, to promote an NGO-friendly environment and culture, to improve the quality of service of NGOs in the Eastern Balkans and in Turkey, to increase service capacities and which role to take within a democracy.
Representatives of NGOs in Bosnia Herzegovina, Slovenia, Albania, Macedonia, Serbia, Kosovo and Montenegro attended the conference. From Turkey, bianet Editor Erol Öneroğlu joined the event as well as Mert Altıntaş from the Social Society Development Centre (STGM), Ebru İlikli as a representative of the Turkish Quality Association (KALDER) and Abdurrahman Günay from the Hope Voluntary Educators Association.
Mojzes: Quality Assurance System crucial for NGOs
More than 100 NGOs from eight different countries joined the conference. Zrinka Vrabec Mojzes, Croatian Presidential Advisor of Social Affairs, emphasized the crucial impact of the Quality Assurance System on the development and stability of NGOs. He expressed his confidence in the positive effect of establishing regional networks provided by the TACSO project.
The Albanian Journalists Association, the Oslobodjenje newspaper form Bosnia Herzegovina, the Koha Ditore newspaper from Kosovo, the Ultrinski Vesnik newspaper, Montenegro TRT and the Produkcijska Grupa Mreza from Serbia were also invited to the event.
Westergaard: Action plans for local dimensions
Palle Westergaard, co-ordinator of the TACSO Project, issued a statement at the end of the two-day conference, saying, "The Quality Assurance System Conference emerged to meet local needs. It was the aim of the conference to suggest action plans to organize similar activities in the countries on subject and foremost to accomplish this within regional dimensions".
EU Attaché Akdağ: Development and auditing
Croatia's European Union Attaché Erol Akağ, Task Manager for Human Rights, Minorities, Civil Society and De-Mining, spoke at the opening ceremony of the conference. He highlighted the importance of the development of the social society in the Balkans and the necessity to be able to audit the projects' funding and their results.
It was emphasized in the conference that quality principles are important for monitoring and advocating NGOs in order to become more influential and to facilitate their efforts by systematic work. It was pointed out that the NGOs in Europe and the Balkans increasingly demand Quality Assurance Systems.
Quality standards like PQASSO and SOKNO were introduced during the conference. Tina Divjak and Aida Daguda gave information on auditing implemented on quality standards in Slovenia and Bosnia Herzegovina. (EÖ/VK)