A Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) is a private voluntary grouping of individuals, not operated for profit or for other commercial purposes, but which have organized themselves nationally or internationally for the benefit of the public at large and for the promotion of social welfare, development charity or research in the areas inclusive of, but not restricted to, health, relief, agriculture, education, industry and the supply of amenities and services.
It is an entity governed by the NGO Act and registered by the NGO Coordination Board. The Public Benefit Organisations Act 2013 repealed the NGO Act
Under the NGO Act, it is an offence for any person to operate an NGO in Kenya for welfare, research, health relief, agriculture, education, industry, the supply of amenities, or any other similar purposes without being duly registered as an NGO.
Once an NGO is registered, by virtue of such registration it will be a body corporate with perpetual succession capable in its own name of: suing and being sued; taking, purchasing, or otherwise acquiring, holding, charging, or disposing of moveable and immovable property; entering into contracts; and doing or performing all such other things or acts necessary for the proper performance of its functions under the NGO Act, which may lawfully be done or performed by a body corporate.
Designation as an NGO confers certain tax benefits and imposes a series of regulations that are relevant to an equivalency determination. An NGO’s constitution must prohibit the organization from distributing funds to members and officials other than for legitimate reimbursement of expenses incurred in carrying out the organization’s objectives (NGO Coordination Regulations Second Schedule, Section 4(a) and 4(b)). The documents must also stipulate rules for awarding contracts to members or officials (NGO Coordination Regulations Second Schedule Section 4(c)).
Requirements for Registration of a Non-Governmental Organization
- Name search and reservation of proposed name for the NGO for 60days using Form F2 and payment of a prescribed fee of Kshs.1000/- for approval by the Director of the Non-Governmental Organizations Board
- Complete Form 1 stating the organization’s contact person.
- A notification of the location of the office and postal address of the NGO signed by three top officials of the NGO
- A payment of Kes.400 should accompany forms, 1 and 3 during submission.
- The passports should contain the names of the persons and their organizations at the back.
- Copies of ID/Passport and KRA PIN Certificates for the 5 proposed officials and Board members
- Submit a copy of a valid police clearance (certificate of Good Conduct including the fingerprints and receipts) for Kenyans. Equivalent notarised clearance certificate for Foreigners from their Country of Origin (MUST not be more than six (6) months old).
- 2 copies of the Constitution of the proposed NGO/INGO signed by both the proposed three (3) officials and the two (2) board members.
- Minutes authorizing the filing of the application with a specific agenda and resolution to register the organization as an NGO with the NGOs Board.
NB: Election of the interim officials MUST form part of the Agenda.
- Proposed one year budget of the NGO
- The proposed NGO has to present a forwarding letter to accompany this application.
- Original signatures of the officials and members as applicable should also be presented during the application
- A processing fee of Ksh16,000 for national NGOs and Ksh30,000 for International NGOs.
- The official has to present information regarding the line ministry in which the proposed NGO will be operating.
- Memorandum of Understanding between the organization and the donors (If any). In case of an organization registering a branch of an organization already registered locally or overseas
- Once all this information has been gathered, one is now ready to make an application for the registration of an NGO.
The next step is to present all these documents and information to the NGO Coordination Board and wait for its approval.
Additional requirements for foreign NGO registration:
- The organization has to furnish the constitutions of its other branches around the world.
- One out of three officials of the Kenya branch must be a Kenyan citizen.
- The officials must be of outstanding and unquestionable character and conform with NGO laws in Kenya
Documents Required to Register a Non-Governmental Organization
- A letter addressed to the Executive Director requesting registration.
- Duly completed NGO Form 3 (three copies) in original Forms.
- Duly completed NGO Form 1 (one copy stating the organization’s contact person).
- Two recent colored passport size photographs of three proposed officials and two other board members with the names of the three proposed officials and the two board members and organization written at the back
- Copy of Name Reservation Form (Form 2) duly approved and paid for
- The Constitution of the proposed NGO / INGO (filed in Triplicate) and signed by both the proposed 3 officials and listing at least two (2) other board members (all the 3 constitutions MUST be signed by all the proposed board members on the execution page and by at least one of the proposed officials on each and every page
- Minutes authorizing the filing of the application with a specific agenda and resolution to register the organization as an NGO with the NGOs Registration board
- Notification of the location of the office and the postal address of the proposed organization (NGO Form 1).
In the event of dissolution, whether voluntary or involuntary, the NGO constitution must provide for the manner of dissolution of the NGO and disposal of its property upon dissolution (NGO Coordination Regulations 1992 Second Schedule paragraph 12).
An NGO cannot become a branch of, or be affiliated with, or be connected to any organization or group of a political nature established outside Kenya. It shall not dissolve itself except with the prior consent in writing of the board obtained upon written application addressed to the director and signed by three officers of the organization (NGO Coordination Regulations 1992 Paras. 21(1)(b)-(c)). An NGO can affiliate with a political organization inside Kenya, though the Government discourages this practice.
International Non-Governmental Organization can Register as a PBO in Kenya
An international NGO can register as a PBO under the PBO Act by submitting an application form with proof that it is a legal entity in another country and by providing its address in Kenya and a written statement from a representative of its headquarters, stating the purposes of the NGO, a general description of the activities it is planning to carry out in Kenya and the name and contact details of its authorized agent in Kenya.
However, the international organization must have at least one third of its directors as Kenyan citizens resident in Kenya and having an office in Kenya.
The Authority may also exempt an organization registered outside the country from registration, particularly where the international organization does not intend to engage in direct implementation of any activity, program or fundraising activities in Kenya.