National Policy for Non-Governmental Organizations

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Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs
[February 2001]

1. Abbreviations 3
2. Introduction 4
3. Background Information 4
4. The Rationale for the NGO Policy 7
5. Definition, Characteristics and classification of NGOs
in Botswana 9
6. The Vision Statement of the Policy 10
7. The Policy Objectives 11
8. The Scope of the Policy 11
9. The Guiding Principle of the NGO Policy 11
10. Institutional Arrangements 12
11. Co-ordination of the Policy Implementation 17
12. Stakeholders Inputs for the Implementation of the Policy 19
13. Monitoring and Evaluation of the Policy 19
14. Review and Amendments of the Policy 19
15. Annexes 20


BCC Botswana Christian Council
BCD Botswana Council for the Disabled
BNYC Botswana National Youth Council
BOCCIM Botswana Confederation of Commerce, Industry and
BOCONGO Botswana Council of Non – Governmental
BONASO Botswana Network of AIDS Service Organisations
CORDE Co-operation for Research, Development and
FONSAG Forum on Sustainable Agriculture
GDP Gross Domestic Product
LO Liaison Officers
MCI Ministry of Commerce and Industry
MFDP Ministry of Finance and Development Planning
MISA Media Institute of Southern Africa
MLG Ministry of Local Government
MLHA Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs
MMEWA Ministry of Mineral, Energy and Water Affairs
MOA Ministry of Agriculture
MOE Ministry of Education
MOH Ministry of Health
MSP Ministry of State President
MWTC Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication
NDP National Development Plan
NGO Non Governmental Organisation
RDC Rural Development Council
SADC-CNGO Southern African Development Community – Council
of Non- Governmental Organisations
SMME Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises
SNV Netherlands Development Organisation


1.1 The Government of Botswana recognises the strategic role and
complementary contribution of NGOs programmes in national
development. In view of these, the Government takes cognisance of
the urgent need to address and articulate the needs of the NGO
sector in order to realise its potential.
1.2 It is on this premise that the Government has developed the NGO
policy. The policy provides a general framework to guide current and
future development by the NGO sector and articulates the
relationship and partnership modalities with government and other
development partners.
2.1 The Socio-Economic Environment

2.1.1 Botswana has a population of 1.5331
million people with a growth rate
of 2.8%2
per annum. At independence the population was largely rural
and mainly along the Eastern part of the country. With the expansion
of economic activity the pattern of settlement has rapidly changed
since 1970’s. There is now a growing concentration of the population
around major urban centres and villages. 47%3
of the population live
under the poverty datum line. Poor communities can be found in both
urban and rural areas. The degree of poverty has been attributed to
an unequal wealth distribution and or lack of access to factors of

2.1.2 In the past the major basis of economic growth has been mining
especially diamond as well as tourism, cattle, motor industries, and
manufacturing. Community utilisation of natural resources, has also
begun to make a meaningful contribution to the national economy.

Botswana Human Development Report 1997, UNDP
NDP –8 , 1997
Botswana National Human Development Report, 1997, UNDP and Government of Botswana.

52.1.3 Botswana’s average annual growth rate in GDP was 4.2%4
1993 and 1994. This growth has been affected by changes in
international markets especially with diamonds causing a declining
trend of 4.5% per annum5
2.1.4 In spite of its good economic performance issues of poverty;
unemployment and the impact of HIV/AIDS pose major challenges to
sustainable human development. Poverty and unemployment are
associated with the unequal distribution of wealth and hence affect
the quality of human resources.
2.1.5 According to the Botswana Human Development Report, “ a major
constraint faced by government has been the “limitation in
implementation capacity”6
. This limitation has been associated with a
general lack of sufficient skilled manpower to meet current demand
both in public and private sector. Therefore the establishment of a
policy framework to facilitate strengthening and expanding NGOs’
participation in national development is strategic to the sectors role in
complementing current efforts in addressing the issues of poverty,
unemployment and HIV/AIDS.
2.2 The Situation of NGOs in Botswana

2.2.1 Botswana has a large and growing NGO sector that is anchored in the
development of the nation and guided by the principles of democracy,
social justice, good governance and sustainable development. The
majority of NGOs found in Botswana today are a result of post-
independence development and their formation was based on
community needs.

2.2.2 Some NGOs are sectoral in nature while others are multisectoral.
Those that are sectoral do not engage in more than one sectoral
activity. Those that are multisectoral engage in different development
initiatives such as health, education, capacity building and institutional
strengthening, social welfare and environmental conservation among
others. Notwithstanding the contribution that they have made to

Botswana Human Development Report 1997 , UNDP
Productive Awareness Handbook, BNPC 1999.
Human Development Report, 1997 Pg. 63

6national development over the years, the current challenge facing
NGOs is how best the government development programmes can be
linked with those of the sector in a manner that will enhance and
benefit the people of Botswana.

2.2.3 The sustainability of NGOs has mainly depended on donor funding over
the last three decades. International NGOs and governments from
developed nations have been supporting indigenous NGOs work in
different areas of social welfare, poverty alleviation, disability,
cultural development, environmental management, training and
development of Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises etc. Support
has often taken the form of funds, personnel, equipment and technical

2.2.4 NGOs are currently experiencing a decline in donor support and
undefined government and private sector support. The decline in
donor support is as a result of the exit of major donors from
Botswana. Those that remain have substantially reduced their support
for various reasons including global recession and the assumption that
Botswana has its own resources to meet development costs. The
situation has had a negative impact on the participation and
contribution of NGOs in national development and promotion of social
welfare. In particular donors are no longer willing to fund
administrative costs such as personnel and equipment.

2.2.5 The unstable financial situation of NGOs is also partially as a result of
lack of defined government and private sector support to these
organisations due to the absence of a national NGO policy.

2.2.6 This policy will help to mobilise resources for NGOs. One of the
innovative ways that will encourage private sector support to NGOs is
tax exemption for funds donated to NGOs.

2.3 The Process Leading to the Policy Development
2.3.1 BOCONGO was formed in 1995, due the realisation by NGOs
themselves that their development efforts were uncoordinated and
fragmented. The government of Botswana also encouraged and
supported the formation of Botswana Council of NGOs – BOCONGO.

7The mandate of BOCONGO is to co-ordinate the NGO movement in
Botswana and to facilitate the establishment of an enabling
environment for NGO work. The Council is also responsible for
networking, capacity building, and the mobilisation of resources for
NGO sector. Since then both the government and the Council has
endeavoured to strengthen the relationship, partnership and to create
an enabling environment between NGOs and the government for equal
participation in development.
2.3.2 In 1996, the Government invited NGOs to participate and make
submission to NDP-8. This initiative marked a new era of collaboration
and partnership building between the government and the NGOs. The
initiative has opened a window of opportunity for the improvement of
relationships between NGOs with District Councils and other local
authority institutions.
2.3.3 The Government’s commitment to the development of an NGO policy is
further articulated in NDP-8 i.e. “ a comprehensive policy on NGOs
will be formulated during NDP 8, which will form the basis for
government’s relationship with NGOs, and spell out how NGO activities
are co-ordinated”7
2.3.4 The Government has expanded on the above commitment to work with
NGOs in Vision 2016 by stating that “NGOs are playing an important
role in the development process, and their existing foundation and
experiences should be harnessed for the future implementation of the
vision’s strategies. Their capacities should be strengthened as key
partners in development, to effectively compliment government and
private sector activities”8

The rationale for this policy is based on the following premise: –

3.1 National development is the responsibility of all people including
government, NGOs and other sectors. This responsibility should be

National Development Plan 8 , 1997 pg. 448
Vision 2016,1996 pg.64

8influenced by clear national policies that identify the roles and
responsibilities of the various national development partners.
3.2 Effective participation and hence contribution by the NGO sector to
the development process is enabled by the existence of democratic
institutions, social justice, sound economic management and prudence,
and political wisdom. Botswana is proud to have all of these
preconditions of sustainable development.
3.3 NGOs are an important sector in national development. As with
government and the private sector, they are strategic institutions
that facilitate the development and sustenance of a vibrant
democracy. Experience has also shown that NGOs are key in promoting
peoples participation. As the economy unfolds, the role of NGOs will
continue to increase and expand. By creating alliances with
government and the private sector, the NGO sector will strengthen
the environment in which real democracy can flourish. This underlines
the need for a healthy civil society that is supported by NGOs, the
private sector and the Government.
3.4 By supporting NGOs, Government and the business community will be
investing in the future of a vibrant economy and hence the nation –
and the activities of NGOs make up a powerful civil society that builds
social stability, public trust, and the respect for the rule of law.

3.5 The NGO sector has been involved in development beyond traditional
social welfare activities. These organisations have played an active
role in rural development, policy advocacy and community capacity
building initiatives. Their contributions went largely unrecognised until
the early 1990’s. The first explicit recognition of the role of the
sector is articulated in NDP-7 that states:-

“Much relevant work is done by communities
themselves through traditional community
institutions, self help activities e.g. development
committees and non-governmental organisation.
Government aims to facilitate and support
efforts to work with such organisations,

9but not supplant them”9

3.6 The creation of an enabling environment for NGOs is highly dependent
on the successful implementation of this policy. Past experience has
shown that without a clearly defined policy:-

3.6.1 Relationships between NGOs, government and the private
sector are difficult and in most times strained.

3.6.2 Access to information, services and support from government
and other stakeholders is not guaranteed and sometimes

3.6.3 There is no clear understanding of the roles, responsibilities
and procedures for making strategic decisions.

These affect the development process and hence a policy framework
will be essential to address the situation.


4.1 Definition of NGOs within the Context of the Policy

The policy defines NGOs as legally formed autonomous organisations
that possess non-profit status whose primary motivation is to improve
the well being of the people. They are service driven and serve in
diverse and complex activities that relate to the development
processes that promote social transformation and sustainable
development. This definition does not include political parties or
organisations pursuing political interests. NGOs view development in
terms of a participatory process of capacity building and
empowerment of communities to improve their socio-economic
wellbeing and expand sustainable livelihood opportunities.

National Development Plan 7, 1991 Pg. 386

10The NGO operations can be found at both national and community

4.2 Characteristics of NGOs

NGOs differ in affiliations, objectives, methods, structures and levels
of operation, but have in common the following key characteristics.

· They are not –for- profit
· They are voluntary
· They are Independent of government and private sector
· They are not self serving in aims and principles
· They are involved in national and community socioeconomic
· They operate in civil society sphere
· They use participatory approaches in development work
· They are people centred

4.3 The Sectoral Classification of NGOs in Botswana

The policy takes cognisance that NGOs operate as individual
organisations or networks on the basis of common interests or
concerns. They function within sectors. Each sector aims to promote
sharing and exchange of information, ideas and experiences,
networking and capacity building among its membership. They also
promote and facilitate dialogue with government and other
international and regional development agencies, both bilateral and
multilateral. The following are examples of existing sectors10
: –

· Religious groups
· People with disabilities
· Environment and Agriculture
· Population, Health and HIV/AIDS
· Human Rights
· Media
· Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises

see annex 2 – for NGO sector classification and information on each sector

11· Women, Gender and Development
· Youth
· Culture and Performing Arts
· Education and Training

Given the dynamics of change in the environment in which NGOs
operate, the composition and nature of each sector may change over
time. The Policy takes cognisance that new sectors will emerge in
future and will be accommodated as and when they are constituted.
The vision of this policy is to create a strong, autonomous, self-
supporting, sustainable, disciplined and broad-based NGO sector in
Botswana that is able to enter into enduring partnerships with the
central and local government, the private sector, regional and
international development partners and other stakeholders. Such a
sector shall be anchored in and be able to defend the principles and
culture of democracy, social justice, good governance and political
wisdom in the interest of the wider society and vulnerable groups.


The National Policy for NGOs is a framework to achieve the following
objectives: –

6.1 Recognise the contribution of NGOs to socio-economic
6.2 Promote partnership and collaboration between NGOs, the
government and other sectors.
6.3 Improve and strengthen lines of communication and co-
operation with Government, the private sector, NGOs and with
other stakeholders.
6.4 Facilitate harmonisation of development efforts amongst the
NGO sector, government and other stakeholders.
6.5 Facilitate the creation of sustainable mechanisms for resource
mobilisation through line ministries and from other for NGOs

126.6 Provide clarity on the roles and responsibilities between the
various stakeholders in the development process and in
particular those that concern the NGOs.
6.7 Promote mobilisation and sharing of resources between
stakeholders at all levels for social and economic development.
6.8 The policy will provide an opportunity and commitment for
Government to play its role in realising the provisions and
principles of Vision 2016 through the involvement of the NGO


7.1 The policy will articulate a broad framework within which NGOs
can address issues pertaining to the welfare and development
of people of Botswana.
7.2 The policy will facilitate the harmonisation of the various
existing polices that impact on the contribution of the NGO
sector in community and national development including the
management of the sector itself.


The development of the NGO policy is based on the following
principles: –
8.1 The need to strengthen and expand the enabling environment in
which NGOs can make meaningful contribution to community and
national development.
8.2 The need for NGOs to develop strategies for self-reliance and
sustainability particularly in resource mobilisation for
community development projects.
8.3 The need to build and strengthen true partnerships and
collaboration with government and other sectors in development
8.4 The need to develop management tools for promoting and
supporting transparency and accountability in the development

13process by the sector. Such tools may include and are not
restricted to a code of conduct and guidelines for financial

The policy aims to harmonise and improve the relationships that are in
place and reduce undue competition in development work by clearly
defining the legal operational environment and roles and
responsibilities especially those of NGOs and the government.

9.1 Regulatory Environment

Currently the NGOs operate as one of the following: – Societies,
Trusts, Companies limited by guarantee or established by an Act of
Parliament. A few NGOs operate under the auspices of agreements
entered into between them and the government. This policy will not
only complement this legal arrangement but will also enhance the
overall management of NGOs in Botswana.

9.2 Relationships between NGOs with Government and other

The relationship between NGOs with government and other sectors
including the donor community shall be based on mutual respect, trust,
and true partnership. Such relationship will also respect the
independence of NGOs including their basic rights and freedom of
association and expression.
9.3 Roles and Responsibilities

The policy will facilitate the identification of clear roles and
responsibilities with the aim of eliminating “undue competition”
referred to above. It will also enhance collaboration between
government and the NGO sector in the development arena.

9.3.1 The role of the government and the private sector

14i. The government and private sector will endeavour to support
activities and programmes of NGOs to the extent possible both
financially and technically. Such support will not compromise the
independence of the sector.
ii. The government and private sector should support capacity
building programmes for NGOs.

9.3.2 The role of NGOs

The role of NGOs will be to: –

i. Promote and support participatory development approaches
that empower communities in determining their development
needs and subsequent strategies to address them.

ii. Assist individual community groups or their membership in
developing sound and feasible project proposals for use in
resource mobilisation from government and other partners.

iii. Ensure accountability and transparency at all times.

iv. Develop a code of conduct for NGOs.

v. Support sustainable livelihoods at the community level, through
community based interventions.
vi. Improve living conditions, enhance quality of life and assist the
disadvantaged groups in a given local community.
vii. Safeguard the quality of the environment and promote
sustainable utilisation of natural resources by communities.
viii. Build and strengthen community confidence and capacity to
participate in national development planning and implementation
ix. Promote financial sustainability initiatives.

159.4 Accountability and Financial Management

i. The policy will encourage NGOs to be accountable for their
actions and decisions, not only to donors and governments but
also to project beneficiaries.
ii. The Policy will ensure that NGOs account for financial
resources received from donors, government, members, other
partner organisations or self-generated activities.

iii. The Policy will require NGOs to fulfill all statutory financial
management and reporting requirements.

iv. The policy will support NGOs in the establishment of proper and
effective financial management policies, procedures and

v. The policy will support NGOs in the establishment of an
effective financial monitoring system through proper
accounting systems.

vi. The government will provide financial support to NGOs and
Umbrella organisation that meet the criteria for accountability.

vii. The government reserves the right to withhold funding in case
an NGO is found to be un-accountable.

9.5 Links between the NGO Policy with other Policies

The responsibilities and activities of NGOs often overlap with those
of other partners and hence affect other policies. Through the Liaison
Officers attached to strategic line ministries (LO)11
: –

9.5.1 The government will ensure harmonisation of this policy with
other policies and that there is no conflict among them.
9.5.2 The government will ensure that collaboration and effective
communication takes place.

Liaison Officers are focal point persons appointed at the level of individual Ministries to co-
ordinate the activities of NGOs in any particular Ministry.

169.5.3 NGOs will, through the Liaison Officers and the parent
Ministry, share information on their plans and programmes with
9.5.4 A forum will be established where Liaison Officers will have an
opportunity to share strategic information in relation to the
operationalisation and implementation of this policy.

9.6 The Implementation Mechanisms of the Policy

In order to implement the objectives of this policy, it is necessary to
outline and describe the various levels of interaction and approaches
between stakeholders. The policy will promote a participatory
multisectoral approach in its implementation. The multisectoral
approach will be implemented through the following mechanisms:

9.6.1 Mechanism I – Tripartite Arrangement

i. Upon the adoption of this policy, Government will convene an
NGO Policy Council to advise the government and monitor the
implementation of the policy. Its membership will be drawn
from NGOs, Government and the Private Sector as defined in
section 10.1.

ii. The Council will regulate its roles and responsibilities, and
conduct its functions in accordance with the provision of
section 10 of this policy and within the framework of approved
Rules and Regulations.

9.6.2 Mechanism II – Parent Ministry

The parent Ministry will undertake to: –

i. Provide the custody for the NGO policy.
ii. Co-ordinate the affairs of NGOs as far as this relate to policy
and institutional management issues. Programme implementation
co-ordination shall be the responsibility of individual line

17iii. Review and develop new policy directions on matters pertaining
to NGOs in close collaboration with the NGO sector and the
NGO Policy Council.
iv. Promote collaboration and co-operation among government
ministries with NGOs.
v. Distribute relevant information and research studies to NGOs
through BOCONGO and other NGO sectoral mechanisms that
already in place.
vi. Develop mechanism for channelling financial support to NGOs in
an efficient and effective way through the line ministries, in a
manner that will avoid duplicate funding.
vii. On regular basis, commission financial audits on the Books of
Accounts of BOCONGO to monitor and evaluate the financial
management procedures of the Council.
viii. Encourage line ministries to actively promote NGOs
understanding in the public sector.
ix. Keep track of all NGOs reports submitted to government, for
proper record keeping and institutional memory within
government of NGOs contribution to development.
x. Provide tax exemption to private sector and individuals in
relation to monetary and material contributions and support to

9.6.3 Mechanism III – Private Sector

The Private Sector will endeavour to strengthen their partnership and
collaboration with NGOs in development initiatives. The Private
Sector through Botswana Confederation of Commerce, Industry and
Manpower (BOCCIM) and other business organisations, shall be
responsible for co-ordinating the affairs of the Private Sector vis-à-
vis NGOs as appropriate and relevant. In particular the private sector
should seek to: –

i. Support NGOs programmes financially and technically
ii. Commission research studies from time to time and share
research results with NGOs on socio-economic development in
the country.

18iii. Support the sustainability of the NGO sector by stimulating domestic philanthropy.
9.6.4 Mechanism IV– The Donor Community

i. The donor community should endeavour to strengthen their
relationship with NGOs as equal partners in development with a
common objective of improving the socio-economic wellbeing of
ii. In view of this donors should facilitate adequate resource flows
based on viable and sound project proposals by respective
iii. Donor should also support NGOs in developing self-reliance and
sustainability initiatives

9.6.5 Mechanism V – NGOs

The co-ordination of this sector shall be through BOCONGO. For
purposes of this Policy BOCONGO shall have the following functions:-

i. Co-ordinate all NGO affairs in relation to this policy through
sector co-ordinators
ii. Maintain an effective interface between the central and local
government and with NGOs
iii. Support the sector co-ordinators in the implementation of this
policy by providing technical assistance.
iv. From time to time conduct organisational capacity assessment
of NGOs so as to be better informed of existing capacity gaps
that need to be strengthened
v. Monitor the implementation of the policy at local and national
vi. Facilitate periodical sector co-ordinators meetings for purposes
of reflecting on the implementation of the policy and related
vii. Carry out lobbying, advocacy and networking on behalf of NGOs
and in particular on the implementation of the policy.
viii. Maintain a database of all NGOs in the country.

19ix. Be responsible for the disbursement of funds provided through
the policy to NGOs.
x. Have the mandate to commission a financial audit on the books
of accounts of those NGOs that are funded through the policy.


The policy will be implemented through the following institutional
mechanism: –

10.1 The NGO Policy Council

10.1.1 An NGO Policy Council shall be formed to advise the government on
the implementation of the policy as mentioned in section 10.2.1 (i)
10.1.2 The Council shall also monitor the implementation process in
collaboration with the NGO sector.
10.1.3 The Council shall have 19 members representing the various
stakeholders as follows:-

i. Government Ministries:-

· Ministry of Finance and Development Planning,
· Ministry of Local Government
· Ministry of Health,
· Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs,
· Ministry of Commerce and Industry,
· Ministry of Agriculture,
· Ministry of Education,
· Office of Attorney General,
· Ministry of Lands, Housing and Environment,
ii. 2 – representatives from the Private Sector
iii. 8 – representative from BOCONGO

10.2 The Terms of Reference for the NGO Policy Council

The Council shall be guided by the following terms of reference:-

20i. Co-ordinate the implementation of the policy in collaboration
with the Parent Ministry and the NGO sector
ii. Facilitate a participatory monitoring and evaluation of the policy
implementation and its impact on NGO sector
iii. Facilitate the review of the policy and advise the government
and other stakeholders on appropriate action.
iv. Ensure harmonisation of the policy with other policies to avoid
potential duplication or conflict.
v. Facilitate a better and more widespread understanding of
NGOs, how they operate and the benefits they confer on
development efforts by the various sectors and other
vi. Encourage a systematic application and replication of best
practices in NGO institutional development, governance and
programme development and management.
vii. Promote the development of other sources of funding for NGO
activities e.g. the establishment of an endowment fund,
development of joint ventures, awarding of contracts to NGOs
based on merit and competence and the establishment of a
national lottery that would benefit NGO programme.
viii. Facilitate effective government support to NGO programmes
through line Ministries by allocating financial resources at the
time of the National budget planning and or by providing funding
through the Endowment Fund.
viii. Stimulate domestic philanthropic impulses and ultimately
generate significant private contributions for socio-economic
development through NGO programmes.
ix. Provide overall policy guidance on all aspects of NGO operations
and activities within the framework of this policy.
x. The Council shall meet quarterly. Special or extra ordinary
meetings of the Council shall be convened as need arises.


The following inputs shall be required for the effective co-ordination,
implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the policy.

2111.1 Financial resources
11.2 Identified parent Ministry
11.3 Liaison Officers in selected line Ministries
11.4 A tool for participatory monitoring and evaluation of the
implementation process.


12.1 The policy will be evaluated periodically to ensure that it
remains responsive and relevant to the needs of NGOs and
those of other stakeholders. The implementation of the policy
will also be monitored and evaluated regularly to ensure that
the objectives of the policy are being achieved.
12.2 The Monitoring and Evaluation processes and the timing for it
should relate as much as possible to district and national
planning cycles.
12.3 The Council shall be responsible for the overall monitoring and
evaluation that is referred to in sub section 13.1


13.1 The NGO Policy Council shall be responsible for the review of
the policy in consultation with other stakeholders
13.2 The policy will be reviewed periodically on the basis of strategic
information obtained through participatory evaluation
13.3 The Council shall make recommendations to government on
amendments if any to the policy.
13.4 The policy will initially be evaluated after three years and
thereafter as need arises




The increased demand for NGOs to be accountable, transparent and
practice good governance, has necessitated the need for an NGO code
of conduct. In most cases NGOs attempt to be accountable,
transparent, practice good governance and adhere to their basic
values and professional ethics. However, some violate the very
principles they claim to stand for. NGOs therefore consider it
necessary to develop a voluntary tool i.e. the code for NGOs to
regulate themselves in a more professional and ethical way.


A code of conduct is defined as “ a prevailing standard of moral
behaviour. It is a voluntary instrument that assists individual
organizations and the people that serve in them to conduct business
and relate with one another in such a manner that their conduct is
seen as a reflection of their values, good governance and an honest
desire to be transparent and accountable”.


The code of conduct focuses on issues of moral and ethical conduct,
and values rather than mandatory policy and or legally binding
requirements in the way NGOs conduct business. These issues include
the following:-


i. A commitment by all stakeholders to create an enabling
environment that promotes and supports the concept of

The framework is not the code of conduct it outlines the issues that constitute the body of the
actual code of conduct.

23voluntary action, appreciates the NGO sector’s role and has a
clear policy and legal framework that guide and inform NGOs’
ii. An operational environment, that recognizes, respects and
preserves the independence, autonomy and constitutional rights
of NGOs. In so doing sustain the freedom of association,
expression and conscience.
iii. An enabling environment that will promote democratic
participatory development among NGOs and with their partners.


i. NGOs are diverse entities and pursue different interests within
a common value system that is based on the desire to improve
the welfare of the people, increase people’s awareness of their
development issues and to become the voice of the voiceless.
ii. The values of NGOs underpin their vision, mission and
objectives therefore constitute the foundations for project
design implementation, management and external relations.
iii. These values promote a people centred development and
respect for human rights, culture and history of a people.


i. NGOs are committed to being transparent not only to their
development partners but also to the people their serve and
their staff.
ii. NGOs are committed to promote transparency through
systematic dissemination of information to all stakeholders.
iii. Each organization shall endeavor to fulfil legal and
constitutional requirements such as financial accountability,
reporting and adherence to the laws and policies that govern
their operations.


NGOs recognize that:

24i. Good governance is a product of participatory evolutionary
process that empowers people and brings them to the center
stage in decision making. And also provides adequate political
and social space to people and organization’s for them to
determine their niche, roles and responsibilities in society and
development in general.
ii. Good governance is dependent on the existence of democratic
institutions within an organization such as Board of Directors,
Management committees and Councils.
iii. The foundations of good governance also include the existence
of social justice, political wisdom and the ability to accept the
shifting balance of power from institutions to people and


i. NGOs committed themselves to develop sustainable
partnerships that are built on the principles of equality, trust,
and honesty. True partnerships respect individual institutional
values, policies, vision and objectives. Partners will work
together to find solutions and achieve agreed goals
ii. NGO translate their partnership with other development
organizations as pooling resources, sharing power in both
decision making, planning together, promoting effective
coordination, improving coordination respect the independence
and autonomy of each other and their democratic and legal


iii. NGOs will endeavor to be accountable to their donors, staff and
project beneficiaries.
iv. NGOs are also committed to be accountable for their actions in
relation to respecting human rights, peoples’ culture and


25i. NGOs will promote ethical and professional fund raising
practices that promote transparency and honesty.
ii. In addition as much as practicable NGOs will minimize
competition for resources by pooling together in fundraising
efforts and strategies.
NGOs will adhere to best practices in fundraising including
provision of all essential information to the donor or
government that would enable them to make informed decisions
and choices when considering funding NGO projects.
iii. As a strategy to move towards sustainability NGOs will
diversify funding sources.


NGOs are committed to ensure

i. Proper financial accountability
ii. Maintenance of proper financial records
iii. Provision of mandatory financial information to government as
defined by law
iv. Establish institutional based sound financial management
policies, procedures and systems
v. Establish an effective financial monitoring system through
proper accounting books and records keeping.


i. NGOs will recruit their staff on the basis of competence,
professional qualifications and will avoid recruitment on basis of
friendship or otherwise.
ii. NGOs will endeavour to fulfil basic needs of needs of their
staff as far as resources permit without discrimination by sex,
age, education or colour.
iii. NGOs are committed to developing clear policies, guidelines and
procedures that relate to staff welfare, development or their
rights in the organization.


i. NGO will base their management on clear understanding of roles
and responsibilities at all levels of the institutions, in particular
between Boards and secretariats, and Between Directors and
the rest of the staff.
ii. NGOs are committed to maintaining high standards,
transparency and democratic ways in decision-making process.


i. NGOs recognize that their strength is based on their autonomy
and independence. They will endeavour to guard this with


i. NGOs will commit themselves to promote and support
participatory approaches in all aspects of institutional and
socio-economic development programmes there are involved in.
ii. Participation by staff or project beneficiaries shall be the norm
or the policy and not an option or a privilege for a few people.


i. NGOs will promote and support capacity building as “the
process by which individuals, organizations and institutions shall
develop their abilities individually and collectively to perform
functions, solve problems and set and achieve (strategic)


i. The strength and impact of NGOs is more effective when
acting together rather than individually. NGOs will strive to
build partnerships and create collaborative interventions. They

UNDP’s management development and governance Division, 1997

27will also improve networking among themselves and with other


i. NGOs will strive to improve their communication strategies and
the messages contained therein. Communication must have an
objective and a clear target.
ii. Communicating shall respect the dignity, community values,
history, religion, culture and education of the people being
targeted including staff.


i. NGOs will commit themselves to improve coordination among
themselves and their development partners including the
ii. NGOs have a moral responsibility to stay united and to avoid
conflicts, rivalry and misuse of resources, whether human,
financial and/or technical.


i. Participation should be considered on merit and in particular in
relation to programme focus of individual organizations. NGOs
shall guard against competing for participation in international
workshops and seminars based on personal interest.


i. NGOs will promote people centered development that in all
aspects is responsive to their needs and aspirations.
ii. NGOs will ensure that any project shall not undermine the
values and traditional practices of the people.


An effective monitoring and evaluation mechanism shall be
developed and all NGOs ratifying the code will adhere to it.
NGO will monitor and evaluate their individual performance. In
addition other NGOs in the same sector will also act as peer
monitors and evaluators.

The process and strategies shall focus on both qualitative and
quantitative aspects.


i. NGOs will define strategies and institutional arrangements for
the coordination of the code.


i. The implementation of the code of conduct will require an
extensive process of sensitization and awareness creation
among NGOs and with other development partners. It will
require action at three levels of society i.e. national level,
networks, staff and project beneficiary levels.
ii. The implementation will require NGO capacity building and
strengthening, especially in the following areas:
· Information dissemination and awareness creation
· Monitoring and evaluation
· Stakeholders empowerment to be able to understand the
implication of the code on their individual conduct and how
that may affect their organisations.


1. Introduction
The policy takes cognisance that NGOs operate as individual organisations
and or groups with similar interest or concerns. For purposes of this policy
they are organised by networks and coalitions according to their sectors of
operation. The role of networks and coalitions is to facilitate information
sharing, exchange of ideas and experiences, networking and capacity
building. Their secretariats also facilitate dialogue with key individual
organisations and international and regional development agencies, both
bilateral and multilateral

Given the dynamics of change in the environment in which they operate, the
composition and nature of each sector may change over time. The policy
classifies NGOs in Botswana under the following sectoral networks or

1.1 Development Arm of Religious Organisations
At present the sector is co-ordinated by Botswana Christian Council
(BCC). However other religious networks will be accommodated as they
emerge. The key areas of intervention that reflect the main
challenges the sector face include: – promoting church unity,
counselling and specialised ministries, contextualisation of theory and
ecumenical spirituality, enabling the poor to live a better life, care for
people in need, and advocacy for the marginalised and oppressed.
1.2 Disability
The sector is co-ordinated by the Botswana Council for the Disabled
(BCD). One of the main aims of BCD is to lobby and advocate for the
welfare of people with disabilities. The Council has also the
responsibility to mobilise resources for capacity building, monitoring
and evaluation of programme delivery by stakeholders directly or
indirectly involved with the welfare of people with disabilities.
1.3 Environment and Sustainable Agriculture

30NGOs dealing with conservation, environmental issues and sustainable
agriculture are co-ordinated by the Forum on Sustainable Agriculture
(FONSAG). FONSAG is a forum for promoting needs oriented
sustainable environmental and agricultural practices in partnership
with farmers, NGOs, government and private sector institutions.
FONSAG also promotes best practices on sustainable agriculture and
environmental conservation.
1.4 Population, Health and HIV/AIDS
NGOs that deal with health issues including HIV/AIDS are co-
ordinated through Botswana Network of Aids Service Organisations
(BONASO). BONASO’s role is to co-ordinate and facilitate
networking, health related programme implementation, resource
mobilisation, policy advocacy, and capacity building and institutional
strengthening for its member organisations. BONASO represents
NGOs at the National Aids Council.
1.5 Human Rights
This sector is co-ordinated by DITSHWANELO – Botswana Centre
for Human Rights. The sector’s objective is to expand public
awareness and knowledge of human rights. The sector also advocates
for the development of appropriate laws that take cognisance of basic
human rights and promotes the protection of such rights. The sector
pays specific attention to the interests of marginalised,
underprivileged and discriminated persons.
1.6 Media:
This sector is co-ordinated by Media Institute of Southern African
– Botswana (MISA). The sector aims to defend and promote
freedom of expression of the media and lobbies for the removal of
obstacles and impediments to the free flow of information.
1.7 Small, Medium and Micro Enterprise
This sector, which is co-ordinated by Co-operation for Research,
Development and Education (CORDE), provides training and
management advisory services mainly to small and medium enterprises.

31The overall objective is to widen the socio-economic options of rural
people through Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME).
1.8 Women, Gender and Development
The sector is co-ordinated by Women’s NGO Coalition. Its overall
objective is to promote and support the empowerment of women and
gender equality. The sector provides networking opportunities,
capacity building and institutional strengthening to member
1.9 Youth
The sector is co-ordinated by Botswana National Youth Council
(BNYC). BNYC aims to empower young people through the
implementation of various programmes including self-development and
appreciation of ones ability and competence. The Council plays an
advocacy role, promotes and mobilises resources for research on
critical areas that concern and affect youth development.
1.10 Culture and Performing Arts
Although the sector has not formally appointed a sectoral co-
ordinator, several organisations are active. The Ministry of Labour
Dept. of Culture and Youth in collaboration with BOCONGO will
organise a consultative meeting for the sector early 2000, to select
the sector co-ordinator.
1.11 Education and Training
Although the sector has not formally appointed a sectoral co-
ordinator, several organisations are active. The Ministry of Education
in collaboration with BOCONGO will organise a consultative meeting
for the sector early 2000, to select the sector co-ordinator.