NGOs in Zambia are primarily active in carrying out development and human rights-based activities. Church groups and trade unions are also included among the various types of nonprofits contributing to social change in the country.
However, the shift in the political space in recent years has led to frequent rivalries between the government and civil society actors. This largely resulted from the adoption of the repressive NGO Act in 2009. As a result, the Zambian government shut down political space for charities. This in turn made it difficult for NGOs to organize public debates on crucial governance issues and hold the government accountable.
In this article, we will outline the types of nonprofits in Zambia and how they operate.
- Zambia has over 1567 registered nonprofits across the country. These comprise both local and international NGOs
- NGO activities in Zambia are quite fragmented as most nonprofits scarcely disclose information on their operations and activities
- More often than not, some of these NGOs lack the competency to take on the role of their work
What are the types of nonprofits in Zambia?
Zambia nonprofits can be grouped into three categories. They are;
These types of nonprofits serve the benefit of the public by promoting good health, advancement of education, relief of poverty and so much more. A registered charity is exempted from tax deductions and must apply its resources for charitable purposes.
These types of nonprofits are known to assist the poor, orphans, and the less privileged in society. They also assist in providing better education, health, and skill acquisition in the country.
Trustees take on the role of management and administration of the nonprofit on behalf of its beneficiaries. They may also serve as a board member, treasurer, chairs, etc. Nonprofits do not pay trustees. They are also not given enumeration or benefits.
These types of nonprofits comprise group-based socio-economic and cultural associations. Also included under the societies act are political parties, community-based organizations, clubs, and faith-based organizations.
Societies are registered under the registrar of societies and the Act specifies their fundamental principles of establishment and operation.
How many nonprofits exist in Zambia?
Zambia has over 1567 registered nonprofits across the country. These comprise both local and international NGOs. Local NGOs make up 88% of nonprofits while 12% constitute international NGOs.
However, NGO activities in Zambia are quite fragmented as most nonprofits scarcely disclose information on their operations and activities. This has resulted in a majority of them undertaking similar programs as other organizations. More often than not, some of these NGOs lack the competency to take on the role of their work.
Furthermore, nonprofits in Zambia do not have sufficient finances to perform their role in the community. This has resulted in low levels of staff and incompetency.
Nonprofits in Zambia continue to grapple with dual issues in the country. This includes their responsibility to serve the community and the need to counter repression in the nation. The shrinking political space remains a major impediment to the activities and growth of nonprofits in Zambia. Several NGO workers have been arrested by the government in their effort to fight against repression.
Now more than ever, the country requires an open democratic space for civil societies to thrive. This stresses the need for legal reform which demands the reviewing of the NGO Act. If this is not managed correctly, the country’s nonprofit system could be on the verge of collapse.
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