An NGO is a Non-governmental organization which means its activities or actions are not-for-profit. If an NGO interests you, read on to know how to start an NGO in Botswana.
The word NGO means a Non-Governmental Organization (“NGO”). It is a body or association of persons registered as “Incorporated Trustees” under Section 590 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, Cap C20 Laws of the Federation 2010 for the advancement of any religious, educational, literary, scientific, social/cultural development, sporting and charitable causes. An NGO is deemed a not-for-profit organization in Botswana.
In this post, we’ve detailed the best steps to start an NGO in Botswana. Before we get into these steps, let’s look at some of the benefits that come with starting an NGO in Botswana.
Benefits of starting an NGO in Botswana
1. Right to Acquire Assets
An NGO that is formally registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission is entitled to acquire land, own fixed assets and/or incur liabilities under its common seal.
2. Corporate Entity
As a corporate body, an NGO dealings and engagements with the public improves. If you start and register an NGO, you can sue to enforce its legal rights or be sued through its registered trustees.
3. Structured Financial Plan
Since NGOs are deemed not-for-profit and tax exempted, starting an NGO can afford a tax-free mechanism for activities you are carrying-on under the NGO. You can develop a structured financial plan called “tax avoidance” that allows the organization to do business devoid of tax liabilities. Tax avoidance is a legitimate way of reducing or eliminating your tax obligation. However, Tax avoidance is not “tax evasion” which is illegal!
4. Access to Credit
A Registered NGO can afford access to credit from lenders and financial institutions. You can use a loan facility to promote the organization’s activities, finance a mortgage, acquire land or fixed assets. Banks will also want to see proof of registration with the right Authority as condition precedent to giving a loan.
Having an NGO makes it less easy to open a corporate account with a bank in Botswana. Having a corporate account for your NGO signals the fact that you are transparent. This is because some private persons, government, donor agencies and other NGOs won’t be interested to write you a cheque for your organization in your personal name. A corporate bank account for your NGO would signal its corporate existence and its readiness to receive donations.
However, you will need to provide proof that your organization is registered with the Right Authority to be able to open an account with a bank.
Now let’s hope into the steps to start an NGO in Botswana.
How To Start An NGO In Botswana
Below are the necessary steps you need to follow to start an NGO in Botswana;
- Have a plan
- Choose your NGO name
- Appoint the Trustee(s)
- Consult an Accredited Solicitor
- Drafting of the NGO Constitution
- Drafting of the Minutes of the Meeting
- Documentation of all incorporation documents
- Submission and Filing
- Open a Corporate Bank Account in the NGO Name
Have a plan
Your NGO plan should contain your organization’s beliefs, mission, and purpose. As you define your mission of your NGO and draft your purpose statement, you should describe the overall purpose of the NGO; the activities your NGO will engage in or undertake; the core beliefs of the NGO; etc.
Choose your NGO name
For example, “Youths for Positive Change”, “Sound Minds Foundation”, ” Nigerian Women for change”, “Abuja Business CEOs”, “United Sport Club”, “Foundation Against child molestation”, “Mental Health Foundation”, Advocacy for Good Governance Foundation”, etc. (plus an alternate name in case the first name is unavailable for reservation).
Appoint the Trustee(s)
A person qualified to be appointed a Trustee must not be less than 18 years of age; or of unsound mind; or undischarged bankrupt; or convicted of an offence involving fraud or dishonesty within 5 years of his proposed appointment.
Consult an Accredited Solicitor
You should consult with a Solicitor who has been duly accredited by the Corporate Authorites to conduct pre and post incorporation matters with the Commission. A solicitor can help you execute the following:
i. Name Availability Search and Reservation: Your Solicitor will conduct a search at the Corporate Authority registry to check if the NGO name you have chosen is still available for reservation. Only a name that is not identical to an existing registered organization in Botswana can be reserved for you. When your chosen name is found to be available, it will then be approved for registration. Name availability check and reservation can be effected within 48 hours by a CAC accredited Solicitor.
ii. Publication of Notices: Your Solicitor, in compliance with the law, will now publish in three (3) national dailies or newspapers, one being a local newspaper widely circulated in the locality where your NGO is based a notification of intention to register the NGO, setting out the name of the NGO; the names of trustees, aims and objectives; and a call for objections within 28 days to the registration of the NGO (if any).
Drafting of the NGO Constitution
The Solicitor will draft the NGO’s constitution which will set out rules that would govern the internal affairs of the NGO, the aims and objectives of the NGO, the governance structure, names of members of the Board of Trustees, the statement of purpose, etc.
Drafting of the Minutes of the Meeting
The minute of the meeting drafted by the solicitor will provide details where members of the Board of Trustees were appointed, list of members present and absent, the voting pattern, and the authorization to apply for registration, signed by Chairman and Secretary of the Board.
Drafting of the Minutes of the Meeting. Your solicitor will also draft the minutes of the meeting where the special clause was adopted into the constitution of the organization; signed by Chairman and Secretary of the Board.
Documentation of all incorporation documents
Your solicitor will now put together all incorporation documents including duly completed application form in triplicate, the original of newspaper publications, letter of application, copies of the NGO constitution so drafted, the above minutes of the meetings, passport-sized photographs of the Trustees, the impression of the common seal of the NGO, etc.
Submission and Filing
Finally, Your solicitor will file all the relevant documents with the Corporate Authorities for the incorporation of your NGO.
Collection of the NGO Certificate of Incorporation
The Certificate of Incorporation of the NGO will be issued by the Corporate Authorities to you through your Accredited Solicitor after due documentations and filings.
Open a Corporate Bank Account in the NGO Name
This is the last and important you need to start an NGO in Botswana. This is because opening a bank account in the NGO’s name shows that your NGO is official and you are ready to begin to obtain financial support from the public and receive donations. To open a NGO bank account, you will need the NGO’s Certificate of Incorporation issued by Corporate Authorities.