Frequently Asked Questions

High School India

Why Support QSA?

QSA is the aid and development agency of the Quakers in Australia and is bounded by Quaker Testimonies and Quaker principles. By supporting QSA you can have confidence that the projects funded aim to build a more peaceful, equitable, just and compassionate world.

What type of projects does QSA support?

QSA, in line with its Statement of Purpose, supports projects which are culturally sensitive, as well as being economically and environmentally appropriate and sustainable to enable communities to improve their quality of life.
QSA funds projects that address food and water security and poverty alleviation, with a strong emphasis on environmental sustainability, gender, child protection and capacity building. For example our water security project in Zimbabwe is working with community groups and is able to raise issues such as group dynamics and management, which strongly relate to gender and capacity building matters. Health and hygiene training, along with nutrition requirements, different ways of cooking, inclusion of traditional herbs for added nutritional input, food processing and seed saving for future use are all included in training programs related to food security, such as those provided in Cambodia and India. In other words, the training provided is not simply addressing food or water security.

Why does QSA only work in such a limited number of areas?

The need for development assistance is, sadly, quite widespread, but QSA's resources are finite and QSA can only allocate the funds which have been received. QSA never agrees to support a project unless the funding is available.
To enable QSA to provide effective support we try to work in a few areas of the world (e.g. Cambodia, India, Uganda) and support a number of partners in those areas. This enables us to link project partners with others in the region for mutual support, sharing of resources and ideas through 'hub' meetings. It also makes it easier and more cost efficient when undertaking monitoring visits by QSA Project Managers.

How do you know the funds are being well spent by the project partners?

Before a project is approved for funding, there are extensive discussions between the QSA staff and project personnel to prepare a list of proposed activities to achieve the stated objectives, and a clear budget of what is to be provided. A Letter of Understanding is prepared in which is clearly spelt out among a number of issues - what activities are being funded, for how much, and what are the reporting requirements. QSA requires quarterly reporting of progress of agreed project activities, and a financial report in detail of what has been spent. These reports are confirmed at the next monitoring visit, when the actual receipts are checked, and many of our project partners are audited annually by an external, independent auditor which is further verification. QSA staff spend much time in establishing a good working relationship with the partner's project manager so that many different issues can be raised and discussed quite openly, and this can be helpful in times of difficulties.

Why Does QSA Spend Money on Administration?

Like running any organisation, money is required to cover office costs (e.g. stationery, equipment, producing newsletters and the annual report); costs associated with supporting projects (e.g. communications, monitoring trips); organisational costs (e.g. insurance, audit fees) and also wages for workers. QSA is fortunate to have many dedicated volunteers to assist in the operation and their work and support is invaluable. In this day of the development sector being so highly professionalised, QSA needs personnel with extensive knowledge of development issues to support overseas projects, to help maintain DFAT accreditation, and who are available for the majority of the time.

What are the future plans of QSA?

QSA is continually working and learning to make improvements - to do our job better, both in Australia and with our project partners. With some of our project partners, an assessment of their capacity has revealed that they are nearly ready to be self-sufficient and independent from QSA, which is excellent and what we would hope for all of our partners. This would mean that they have the capacity on their own to plan, implement, monitor and evaluate their projects based on the expressed needs of the local community, funded by income they have generated themselves rather than applying for funding from a donor agency. As part of QSA's exit plan, we will help them to bring this about, though continue to take a strong interest in their progress and offer support in other ways if requested. We are planning for a time when donor agencies will not be needed. However until that happens, we will continue to raise funds as best we can to support communities in need in areas where we have expertise, resources and links.