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    Viewpoint from Uganda

     

     
     
    International Trade Forum interviewed Peter Kimbowa, Executive Director of the Procurement and Logistics Management Association of Uganda.
    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 4/2000

    Q. What were the biggest challenges you faced, and continue to face, in strengthening your organization?
    A. We saw four major challenges:
    • To strike a sustainable and rational balance between members' continued interest and enthusiasm, while they were reluctant to pay the full membership subscription.
    • Lack of seed money to effectively implement all the start-up association activities.
    • Unfair competition, especially in the area of training - by either donor agencies and/or NGOs (non-governmental organizations) providing zero-priced training events in the same field of study.
    • Adequate board commitment.

    Q. What are the solutions you have adopted thus far, and those you plan to implement?
    A. To facilitate subscription payments, we requested employers of association members to pay directly to the association bank account.
    To obtain seed money, we requested members to stagger payments.
    To address our competition, we developed partnerships at institutional and technical levels with other training providers with high visibility and international reputations.
    To build board commitment, a new board is in place, and each board member is committed to promoting the association's training activities beginning with members' individual/organization's place of work.

    Q. What advice do you have for purchasing professionals in developing countries who are setting up an organization?
    A. First, build membership through continuous provision of training and specialist advisory services. Second, move beyond the initial spurt of volunteerism to phased commercialization of services.
    And finally, keep in touch with all members all the time through, among other things, newsletters, meetings and seminars.