CONGOMA recognizes that there is an information gap in the general public on how one can go about starting a Malawian NGO/charitable organization in Malawi.
To this effect the following are the main steps/procedures to follow if one wants to start and register a Malawian NGO in Malawi.
1. CONCEPTUALIZE YOUR IDEAS
NGOs are in most case ideas of individuals or a group of individuals. What is required is for the initiator(s) to clearly conceptualize what they want to do and why they want to do it. Also in the conceptualization phase one needs to address the general framework of how his/her ideas would be put to practice or implemented.
2. FORMULATE THE CONSTITUTION
After Conceptualization, formulate a Constitution of the NGO. You may ask for the input of a legal expert and colleagues. However, in general terms the Constitution should provide information at least on the following:
Name of the NGO
Description and use of Common Seal and Logo of the NGO (also see step # 4 below)
Address of the NGO
Mission (main purpose) of the NGO
Vision (desired state of affairs in the development field of the NGO)
Objectives of the NGO
Board of trustees/Executive committee of the NGO including how many will they be; how will they be put into and out of office.
Secretariat of the NGO and its functions
Meetings and Quorums
Management of Financial Resources
Membership of the organization (if required)
including who shall be eligible for membership; duties/roles rights and responsibilities of members, acceptance and dismissal of membership etc.
Procedures for amendment of the Constitution including who shall amend the Constitution, what notice is required for amendment, what majority of people should be allowed to amend the Constitution etc
Dissolution. How will the NGO wind up should need arise? Who should decide on a resolution to dissolve and by what majority?
What happens to the funds and assets after dissolution? Under Trustees Inc Act, any remaining funds and assets after settling of all debts of a dissolved Trust must be donated to any other organization with similar objectives, or donated to Government but can not be shared among Trustees, members of staff of the NGO or any individual.
3. IDENTIFY TRUSTEES OF THE NGO
When the draft Constitution is ready, identify the Trustees of the NGO. These should be people of high standing in society and who are interested in what you want to do. They should be from different professions depending on what you want to do and should be willing to work on voluntary basis because they are not supposed to get a salary. Trustees are the legal custodians of the NGO/Trust. Discuss with them the constitution you have drafted and make changes if need be.
Also convene a formal meeting of the Trustees you have identified to endorse the Constitution and agree to register the NGO. You may have interim positions of the Board also filled at this meeting. Minutes of this meeting should be available. (This step number 3 should be done together with step number 4 below).
4. DESIGN A LOGO AND COMMON SEAL
Your NGO should have a Logo and a Common Seal.
A logo is basically a symbol that identifies your NGO while a Common seal is an embossed stamp (different from a date stamp) with words like ‘Common seal of the registered Trustees of (name of NGO)’. The issue of Common Seal and logo should also be discussed with the identified members of the board of Trustees and agreed upon. The Common seal and Logo should be mentioned in the Constitution.
5. REGISTER YOUR NGO WITH THE REGISTRAR GENERAL
After your Constitution is ready and Trustees identified, register your NGO with The Registrar General (you may find their contact details in a Telephone Directory and enquire from them what they require for registration). In general terms they would require your Constitution, the names of the people in your Board of Trustees, a filled form/affidavit from them and payment of a fee, instrument of your common seal stamped on paper (or whatever they may advise you) among other requirements. Thereafter, the Registrar General submits the application to the Ministry of Justice for approval.
6. REGISTER WITH CONGOMA
When you have a Certificate of Incorporation from Registrar General issued by Ministry of Justice, you are expected to apply to CONGOMA for Registration under the NGO Act. CONGOMA is a designated NGO coordinating body in Malawi. It has the functions to collectively represent the interests of NGOs, strengthen their capacity, advocate for a conducive environment, coordinate NGO work and assist NGOs to operate within the NGO Act 2000.
To register with CONGOMA you are required to submit the following:
Form (available on request).
A copy of the NGO Constitution
A copy of minutes of the first meeting of the Trustees at which it was agreed to form/ register the NGO (these minutes are from the meeting of step # 3 and 4)
A brief Concept Paper outlining the Activities that the NGO intends to undertake in Malawi.
Sworn in Affidavits/ particulars of Trustees and/or Directors, giving their names, citizenship, occupation and address. This is one of the legal documents of the NGO and as such the swearing and signing of this document must be conducted by a Commissioner for Oath/public Notary and certified by his/her official staff and signature. Preparation of the affidavits should be done by a legal person and may be at a fee or not.
A copy of the Trustees Declaration certified (signed and stamped) by a Commissioner for Oath. This may be done at the time you register with Registrar General. Registrar General can provide more details on the contents and how the declaration is administered.
A copy of Certificate of Registration with the Registrar General
Payment of a non refundable Processing Fee ••of MK 3500.00 for Malawian NGO and MK5250 for International NGOs (this is subject to review at any time)
After you register with CONGOMA a Malawian NGO pays an annual membership subscription determined by the CONGOMA Annual General Assembly from time to time.
7. REGISTER WITH NGO BOARD OF MALAWI
The NGO Board of Malawi is responsible for monitoring activities of NGOs on behalf of Government under the NGO Act. It is therefore imperative that all NGOs register with the NGO Board if this responsibility is to be met. In registering with the NGO Board, the following requirements as per NGO Act should be fulfilled:
A filled prescribed form (available on request)
A constitution of the NGO
Payment of registration fees (prescribed by the board)
A plan of activities planned or intended to be carried out by the NGO,/lI.
Memorandum of understating (MOU) or any other agreement with the Ministry or Ministries responsible for the activities to be undertaken by the NGO concerned
Proof that the NGO is a member of CONGOMA A statement that the NGO will not engage in partisan politics
A statement on the sources of funding of the NGO
For details, please contact the Registrar of NGO Board on +265888858278