Proposal for the NGO Code of Conduct for Tanzanian NGOs

For optimal readability, we highly recommend downloading the document PDF, which you can do below.

Document Information:

This document has been provided by the
International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL).

ICNL is the leading source for information on th e legal environment for civil society and public
participation. Since 1992, ICNL has served as a resource to civil society leaders, government
officials, and the donor community in over 90 countries.

Visit ICNL’s Online Library at
for further resources and research from countries all over the world.

Disclaimers Content. The information provided herein is for general informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended and should not be
construed to constitute legal advice. The information contai ned herein may not be applicable in all situations and may not, after the date of
its presentation, even reflect the most current authority. Noth ing contained herein should be relied or acted upon without the benefit of legal
advice based upon the particular facts and circumstances pres ented, and nothing herein should be construed otherwise.
Translations. Translations by ICNL of any materials into other languages are intended solely as a convenience. Translation accuracy is not
guaranteed nor implied. If any questions arise related to the accuracy of a translation, please refer to the original language official version of
the document. Any discrepancies or differences created in the tr anslation are not binding and have no legal effect for compliance or
enforcement purposes.
Warranty and Limitation of Liability. Although ICNL uses reasonable efforts to include ac curate and up-to-date information herein, ICNL
makes no warranties or representations of any kind as to its a ccuracy, currency or completeness. You agree that access to and u se of this
document and the content thereof is at your own risk. ICNL discl aims all warranties of any kind, express or implied. Neither ICNL nor any
party involved in creating, producing or delivering this document shall be liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of access to, use of
or inability to use this document, or any e rrors or omissions in the content thereof.




On the Occasion of the NGO Forum

July: 18 th – 20 th 2001

Code of Conduct for NGOs in Tanzania
Presented to the NGO Forum 18 – 20 July, 2001

Introduction To be written by the Chairperson in the final version.

• In Tanzania, NGOs started activities way back in the colonial era, mainly aiming at providing
services and spreading religions. With th e government taking up the role of service
providers after gaining independence, the character of NGOs changed towards associations
with a social function, such as sports clubs. In the nineties, the political-economic changes
stimulated NGOs to again become active in de livering services. More recently, NGOs have
expanded their horizons and their differen t aim can be categorized as follows:
1. Service provision: Health education, water, sanitation, relief, welfare, emergency and
refugee services.
2. Support services: Professional services, trai ning, supplies and management consultancies.
3. Policy advocacy: Human rights, gender, land rights, advocacy for change of awareness,
children’s rights, etc.
4. Fundraising and disbursing: trust funds, foundations, etc.
5. Development NGOs: aiming at empoweri ng communities to master their own

• NGOs as meant in this Code of Conduct are al l voluntary (“out of free will”) organizations
that are non-governmental, not for profit shari ng, non self serving and not affiliated to a
political party, that are independent and ai m at the promotion of social justice and
development in all of Tanzania. NGOs can be national as well as international, secular as
well as “faith based” NGOs. Our shared societ al vision is our unifying force: The creation
and perpetuation of a strong and vibrant societ y in which NGOs are taking an active and
effective role in promoting people- centered development and in which critical partnership
with the government and the private sector plays a critical role. We seek to participate in
advancing development initiatives that are based on the values of justice, peace, good
governance, human rights, gender equality and equity, and sustainable human development.

• To be credible and relied upon, we see the importance to adopt a volunta ry self-regulation in
the form of this Code of Conduct. Not only will the Code uplift the standards of conduct,
and thus improve the functioning o NGOs, it w ill also contribute to a better and more
realistic image of our sector, specifi cally of those NGOs that sign the Code.

• With signing of the Code of Conduct by the official representative of the NGO, the
governing body of the signing NGO will be comm itting itself to adhere to the described
Standards of Conduct. This implies that the or ganizations will stimulate the absorption of the
standards described here in all formal and in formal aspects of the organization, including
internalization by its employees.

Standards of Conduct

1. Values

Although we are diverse in our activities – of which we take pride -, we are united by our shared
and continuous strive for a better, more dynamic and socially just society. This shared cause has
led us to come up with the following colle ctive values to which we are committed:

Unity and solidarity among all NGOs, among different NGO coalitions and among our primary
Networking , building positive relationships and promoting dialogue with those organizations and
institutions, be it other civil so ciety, governmental or private sect or organizations that support us
in furthering our vision and mission.
Sharing information to us means more than distributing documents. Conscientious sharing of
information within the NGO sector will contribute greatly to more efficient use of resources.
Sharing information is a useful and unselfish appr oach to making information available to others.
It demands investment from us to understand the information needs of others and to offer what
we have on our own initiative.
Innovation and creativity are of vital importance in de fying the many difficulties that we find on
our way, and we will not only give room, but also stimulate each other to develop new and
unique solutions.
We believe in dialogue, in the attainment of consensus through negotiation: The strength of
dialogue, as opposed to th e dialogue of strength.
Participation: We believe that the facilitation of people, communities, and organizations into
becoming agents of their own empowerment and de velopment, leads to effective and efficient
participation in development.
We are committed to mainstreaming, analyzing a nd putting into proper perspective the issue of
gender equality and equity in all our activities, programs and initiatives.
Volunteerism: We value the sacrifices made by indi viduals and CBOs/NGOs in pursuance of
organizational interests.
Integrity: We believe in the honest performance of duties by the leaders and managers of our
organizations. This will ensu re proper use of resources, good images and trustworthiness.
Transparency: We are proud of our work and learn from our failure and successes. We
encourage others to learn about our work and from our failures and successes. Consequently we
value openness in our practices.
Autonomy: We believe in and respect the sovere ignty of each individual NGO and CBO.
Excellence: We will strive for excellence in the implementation of all our programs and

2. Governance
The effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of our work depend on the governing structures
of our organizations. As acknowledged organizations we recognize the importance of
establishing and maintaining well functioning struct ures that will govern the internal functioning
of our individual organizations. Committed, experi enced and responsible individuals are critical
ingredients for this.
To this end we will:

• Ensure that our individual or ganizations have clear and shar ed Vision, Mission, Objectives &
Policies guiding our work. We will have defi ned participatory ways to modify them,
involving primary and other stake holders in a sincere manner,
• Specify the work and powers of our governance st ructure, the frequency of meeting and their
• Have in place a policy that prohib its direct or indirect conflict of interest by members of our
governance structure, members of our organizati on, employees and volunteers. This includes
their obligation to excuse themselves from d ecision where they have, or are perceived to
have, a vested interest. In al so includes that none of our o ffice bearers can hold at the same
time a decision making position within th e government or any political party.
• Ensure that our governance structure understand s and accepts the ultimate responsibility for
overall policy making and for governance of all aspects of the organization
• Develop well defined, written policies and proced ure to be followed, which relate to all our
employees, members and volunteers. Such policies must adhere to the laws of Tanzania and
must protect the rights of our employ ees, members, partners and volunteers.
• Aim for a gender balance in our governance structure.
• Members of our governance struct ure render their services freely and voluntarily, except for
the reimbursement of essentia l costs incurred during service
• We respect the values carried by donors a nd the government. We will however, maintain
independence and resist condi tions that compromise the mission of our individual

3. Human Resources

We realize that human capacity and skilled leader ship are the most essential ingredients of our
organizations. Therefore we shall continuously improve on our management and leadership
practices appropriate to the organization’s mission, activitie s and governance structure.
• We will promote in our organizations a learni ng and participatory organizational culture,
which encourages creativity, dive rsity, responsibility and respect
• We will implement in an impartial manner the organization’s Human Resources Policies,
including recruitment, staff development, rights and obligations of staff, and disciplinary &
grievance procedures.

4. Moral and ethical integrity

The global liberalization process ge nerates forces that carry the potential to deteriorate the moral
and ethical standards of a nation, leading to corrosion of th e unity of the country. As
organizations representing and serving the communities of Tanzania, we will
• Strive to be examples of res ponsible development agents and immerse our organizations with
the moral and ethical values necessary to achieve sustainable development
• We shall be truthful in all our activities and refrain from prac tices that undermine the moral
and ethical integrity of our organizations and country
• We shall utilize all the resources and privileges available to our organizations in order to
meet our mission and strategic objectives
• Only accept funds from organizations, which sh are our organizational aim, not undermining
our independence and mission.

5. Finances

Funds are made available to us to serve our cons istency by utilizing the funds towards the agreed
objectives of our projects and we regard thos e funds as if they were paid to us by the
communities. Financially, we therefore are primarily accountable to our members and/or
recipients, and secondarily to donor s and other stakeholders. We are responsible to develop and
improve our financial management strategies, which will improve our efficiency and our ability
to inform the public about the origin and use of resources. Consequently we will:
• Develop sound financial polic ies and systems, which:
o Are in compliance with accepted accounting and auditing practices
o Contain a policy on outside honoraria, in or der to avoid double payment of our staff
and the staff of other organizations
o Ensure sound mechanisms of purchasing goods and services, free of vested interests
o Adopt realistic budgetin g, monitoring and reporting practices
o Keep fundraising and administ ration costs as a minimum
o Ensure that funds are only used for the intended purpose
o Provide clear and transparent accounting to our constituency, the government, donors
and other interested parties
o Includes conducting an external audit by a re gistered external auditor in case our
annual budget is above Tsh 10,000,000.
• Be truthful and honest concerning ra ising, using and accounting of funds
• Introduce and apply an active policy to avoid misuse and corruption in and around our
organization and which ensures charging persons formally and publicly for any attempt at
fraud, theft or misappropriation
• We, as signatories of this conduct, will prom ote further development of more detailed
standards, which will lead to a more cohere nt mode of operation. The elected “Trustees of
the NGO Code of Conduct”, as described in section 7.National Forum for NGOs, will
prepare new and more detailed standards for discussion and approval during the Annual
National NGO Forum. Subjects will vary and will arise from the signatories. Agreed upon
standards will be attached as annexes to this Code of Conduct and form part of it.

6. Accountability
Our commitment to bring about development a nd social justice is based on a culture of
participation, complete accountability within our organizations, and of transparency in all
work we do. To this end we will
• Hold Annual General Meetings, disc losing full and accurate information
• Ensure regular, participatory evaluations
• Hold strategic planning processes which include the genuine participation of stakeholders
• Make available to all concerne d and interested actors our financial and activity reports.

7. National Forum of NGOs
The NGO forum, which takes place annually, will elect the following standing committees:
Discipline and grievance committee.
All potential or actual conflicts arising between signatory NGOs can be brought to the
attention of the committee for mediation.

Committee “Trustees of the Code of Conduct”
The committee will examine the functionality of the Code of Conduct during the year and
propose amendments of the Code to the NGO forum.

The list of NGOs signing the Code of Conduct will be attached to this document and will be
updated yearly.
Taking this Code of Conduct for NGOs as a st arting point, NGOs are strongly encouraged to
establish thematic Codes of Conduct in a similar manner.