On the occasion of a joint meeting between local NGOs and the Rwanda Governance Board, RGB, a draft law to govern them was discussed, and among the salient articles was the one on the execution of the budget. The representatives of the NGOs finally agreed that in their activities the interests of the population prevail.
While the law governing local NGOs dates from 2012, the Rwandan Governance Board has submitted to NGOs a draft law to the revision of the pre-existing one, and these organizations submitted their opinions and considerations before to be adopted by the parent body.
As NGOs have reviewed the draft articles of the new draft law, the article on the implementation of their annual budget has caused a stir within them because it advocates the allocation of 30% to staff salaries and 70% activities targeted at the population.
Many have argued that it is up to each Organization to do as it pleases, provided there is no misappropriation of funds.
For some, such as the president of the NGO “Never Again” whose main objective is to fight against the consequences of genocide against Tutsi, Eric Mahoro, “this article should not concern NGOs in general because they have objectives and activities that do not match.
For her part, Kayitesi Mathilde of the NGO “Umuhuza” said, “I think it is not appropriate to consider the application of this article for the moment, because the funds that are currently used are used on the basis of commitments previously made with donors “.
Many other NGOs leaders have mentioned the need to reserve the management of funds to each NGO, even if they are indebted for what they do with funds received from this or that source.
Innocent Rulinda, the President of CCOAIB (Conseil de Concertation des Organisations d’Appui aux Initiatives de Base), a Civil Society Platform working hand in hand with RGB said “we can’t make a decision now on the execution of this article, nevertheless, let us all agree that in all our activities the interests of the population take precedence because it is by and for them that we exist “.
“I think it will be up to the appropriate bodies to assess the 30% allocation to staff salaries and 70% to the activities for the population, but I think that as a civil society, we argue that the activities for the population must have the largest percentage, because that is how we will meet their needs by raising their social welfare.”added Rulinda.
Justus Kangwagwe, Director of the Department in charge of Political Organizations and NGOs, agrees that not all NGOs have the same vision because, when there are some involved in agro-livestock farming, others are working on the development of cooperatives, advocacy, and so on.
He reminded that “it still does not happen that the demand of NGOs from donors meets the right answer and, in the few cases where the request receives the correct answer there are always conditions to be followed in the use of funds ”.
“However, the sum of the exceptions acquired for each NGO is in itself our strength, and the service to the population must prevail” he added.
Participants in the meeting exchanged ideas on other articles contained in the draft law such as about the composition of NGOs governing bodies, the length of time required to register an NGO within RGB etc.
In conclusion, Kangwage Justus said that this meeting is an important step because RGB has submitted the project to NGOs to give their opinions and considerations, which is done, RGB today received these opinions and considerations .It remains that adjustments be made before produce a document worthy of constituting the new law governing NGOs.
CCOAIB member organizations operate across the whole country in various domains like work agriculture and animal husbandry, beekeeping, food processing, shelter, handcrafts, livestock credit, water and sanitation, cooperatives development, micro-finance, rural citizen participation, youth empowerment etc.
KAGAHE Jean Louis