The roles of charitable organizations and various types of nonprofits constitute an integral component of community development. Liberia throughout history has been impacted by community service, social clubs, societies, economic clubs and work groups. Likewise, the emergence of faith-based organizations spurred socioeconomic development and transformation in Liberia. This was most especially in the advancement of education, health and spiritual growth.
The emergence of modern-day nonprofits began in the 70s and 80s. These organizations were known to prioritize human rights, capacity building, development and advocacy. Their capacity led to the creation of guidelines and policies to govern their operations during the period.
However, the war years which spanned from 1989 to 2003, led to the wreckage of Liberia’s governance structure and systems. The disappearance of the rule of law and the issues of humanitarian crisis resulted in a state of emergency. Hence, the interference of the international community was needed to provide humanitarian assistance and protection.
Nonprofits served as a support instrument for the nation of Liberia, particularly international NGOs. Some of these organizations partnered with local nonprofits to provide humanitarian services. NGOs were also a major contributor to the survival of the nation and the return of peace.
In this article, we will list the various types of nonprofits in Liberia and buttress their contributions to societal development.
- Liberia has not less than 1350 nonprofits operating in the region
- The country has over 3.7 million citizens, making it more than one NGO for every 4000 Liberian citizens.
- Liberia largely relies on the effort of international nonprofits.
What are the types of nonprofits in Liberia?
Nonprofit organizations are classified into three major categories. They are;
1. Not-for-profit organizations (NPOs): these types of nonprofits are legally incorporated entities. NPOs are governed by the Associations Law of Liberia and incorporated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Organizations under this category include professional associations, development NGOs, human rights and pro-democracy organizations, youth and women’s groups, networks and interest groups.
2. Unincorporated Associations: these types of nonprofits comprise groups of individuals who jointly work to grow the organizations. Unincorporated associations are without a corporate charter. There are however bylaws governing the behaviour of every association.
3. Community-Based Organizations (CBOs); these types of nonprofits are commonly known as grassroots organizations. They primarily operate in rural communities and comprise neighbourhood welfare organizations as well as self-help groups.
4. Cooperative Societies: these types of nonprofits are established with the objective of promoting the economic interest of their members. Cooperative societies in Liberia are registered with the Ministry of Agriculture.
What regulatory framework governs nonprofits in Liberia?
A nonprofit will only be approved for registration if it is a noncommercial organization and all its activities are for charitable purposes. Likewise, an organization cannot be approved as a registered charity if it seeks to pursue political objectives or carry out political activities.
A registered nonprofit that undertakes business activities or other profitable ventures not outlined within its charitable regulations is required to pay tax based on those activities. According to the set regulations by the Minister, this nonprofit may also forfeit its status of approval and registration.
Also, charitable contributions are liable to a deduction that is limited to an amount, not above 15 per cent of the taxpayer’s taxable income.
How many nonprofits are in Liberia?
Liberia has not less than 1350 nonprofits operating in the region. Also, the country has over 3.7 million citizens, making it one NGO for every 4000 Liberian citizens.
Generally, the vast representations of the various types of nonprofits have not effectively solved the recurring social and economic issues facing the country. The country also largely relies on the effort of international nonprofits.
The impact of nonprofits in Liberia can be seen in their ability to work together. The various types of nonprofits have become a major component in influencing policy development. Their activities are primarily geared towards the creation of an enabling environment for NGOs to function.
Over the years, NGOs in Liberia continue to pursue the long-term mission to effectively serve its citizens as well as the nation.
However, there is still a need to examine national policies for the operations of nonprofits in the country. Also, Liberian NGOs must seek corporate ways to counteract the attempts of the government to limit their operations. International nonprofits should be leveraged in addressing these issues.
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