NGOs too must be accountable

Police, recently, arrested two people for allegedly running a non-existent Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), with the intention of defrauding donors. This is not the first time people have been arrested over shoddy dealings connected to NGO activities.

Police, recently, arrested two people for allegedly running a non-existent Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), with the intention of defrauding donors. This is not the first time people have been arrested over shoddy dealings connected to NGO activities.

Some of these organisations have duped generous funders into believing that they are doing a lot for the community, yet there is nothing on the ground.

NGOs need to understand that they can only be credible if they are accountable to the people. They should be transparent and open in their activities. It is high time NGO activities were closely monitored. They should regularly be demanded to account as long as they remain hesitant to open up their activities for scrutiny.

The ministry responsible should come out with a list of rules to ensure that the intended beneficiaries of NGO activities have been reached. Part of the information they need to provide for registration is to report their expenditures and how they have benefited their community. Site visits and interviews with alleged beneficiaries may be some of the ways of constantly checking on the activities of these organisations.

The new rules should also close existing loopholes in regulations regarding registration, and prohibit founders from setting up multiple organisations.

Although most NGOs are already operating within the confines of the law, some continue to operate without proper structures, reports and general assemblies. All this must stop. Local Government authorities, right from the district to the village level, should closely scrutinise the activities of NGOs operating in their areas, and take administrative measures against those breaking the law.

Accountability must be the rule for everyone.

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