STRENGTHENING GOVERNANCE AND STRATEGY OF THE KENYAN NGO COORDINATION BOARD AND THE KENYA NGO COUNCIL

The Kenya NGO Coordination Board was established by an Act of parliament, the NGOs Coordination Act No. 19 of 1990, and commenced work on June 15, 1992. Its role is  to register, co-ordinate and facilitate the work of all national and international Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) operating in Kenya. The Act also established the Kenya National Council of NGOs (usually referred to as “NGO Council”), as the umbrella organization for all NGOs.
 
PEN has collaborated with the NGO Board in a number of projects. Along with the Charity Commissioners of England and Wales, PEN facilitated an Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) regulation and governance workshop in 2006, and supported the planning of the ‘NGO Week’ events in 2007.

Since the beginning of 2007, the Kenya NGO Coordination Board began to undertake a more active interest in providing support to NGOs as a part of their growing mandate.  The NGO Board undertook its first national mapping exercise in mid 2007 to understand the real nature and capacity of NGOs.

As result of PEN’s and the NGO Board’s good working relationship DFID financial assistance was secured to initiate “STRENGTHENING GOVERNANCE AND STRATEGY OF THE KENYAN NGO BOARD AND COUNCIL” project in 2007. The goals of this project were to strengthen coordination and cooperation between the NGO Board and the NGO Council and to strengthen good governance practice within the NGO Board and NGO Council.

Results of the project

Phase one of this project was, what is now referred to as, the ‘Naro Moro workshop’, held between 18 and 21 March 2007. This workshop provided an opportunity for the Board and Council to air their issues of concern with each other, establish a new working relationship and chart a joint programme of future activities. Workshop outputs included: ‘the Naro Moro communiqué,’ the establishment of two joint NGO Board/NGO Council working groups (‘Programme’ and ‘Legal’)with terms of reference, and a range of potential jointly managed and facilitated activities, including a series of twelve regional workshops designed as phase two of this project. This workshop also produced sets of documented challenges faced by NGOs, the Board and the Council; a list of issues to be addressed by each organization in the future; and an Action Plan.

Phase two of the project consisted of the twelve regional workshops held in the months of May and June 2007. These workshops provided an opportunity for registered and active NGOs based in each region to:

  • identify the challenges and opportunities that NGOs are facing in Kenya
  • to receive inputs from PEN on ‘good governance’ and ‘local resource mobilization’ practices
  • raise their awareness about the roles of the NGO Board and the NGO Council
  • to give inputs on how the two bodies could be strengthened and how the NGO Board and NGO Council could better support NGOs
  • prepare an action plan for strengthening regional networks of NGOs and eventually the NGO Council itself
To review summary of challenges and opportunities more
To review summary of recommendations on strengthening NGO Board and Council support to NGOs more

The benefits of this process accrued primarily to the NGO Coordination Board. It is now well led and well managed with a distinct improvement in both effectiveness and efficiency of NGO Coordination Board meetings. They have expressed the intent to open regional offices in order to better serve NGO needs.  The NGO Board also demonstrates sensitivity to the need for consultation with and participation by CSOs in the design of activities intended to benefit them. 

The regional workshops led to stronger NGO Council Networks in Kenya and new leadership in the regions. As a result of a special general assembly (GASS) at the end of 2007 a new, revamped NGO Council was elected from by the members. A new strategy drawn up, funding support received and Council began to actively engaging with membership.  However between 2007 and 2009, leadership issues have led to a caretaker committee taking over day to day management and governance of the council. We hope that in the near future an effective leadership can once be put in place.

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