How to Start a Nonprofit Organization in Zambia

Jon Tyrell

Jon Tyrell

Considering how to start a nonprofit organization? It can take a long time to establish an Organization. It requires a committed individual or group with a clear vision who cares deeply about the community. The services put in place to benefit the community can be highly beneficial and resourceful if they are started effectively and in an organized and purposeful fashion.

how to start a nonprofit organization
how to start a nonprofit organization


  • Every nonprofit in Zambia must have a registration certificate.
  • They must also have a letter of approval from Lands and Deeds, PACRA, and the Registrar of Societies.

Starting a Nonprofit Organization in Zambia

How to start a nonprofit organization is as important as how to manage it. The steps you must take in starting a nonprofit in Zambia are outlined below. 

1. Certificate of Registration

This is the first step on how to start a nonprofit organization. You must provide three copies of your NGO’s rules and regulations alongside a letter of endorsement from the partner government ministry. The recommendations letter and the rules for a constitution are provided below. Although it is not mandatory to follow the sequence below, your NGO’s rules and regulations must contain the information below.

The principles of a constitution
  • Organization Name
  • Postal and physical addresses 
  • Office assistants
  • Office bearer responsibilities
  • Holders of Office Members
  • Leaving the Membership
  • Finance
  • Meetings
  • Elections
  • Alterations to the constitution
  • Terms of Dissolution
  • Asset Disposition Upon Dissolution
  • The Office of the Registrar of Societies’ excerpt from “Register a Society or Church”.


“Letter of recommendation”

Note – You will need a letter of recommendation from the line ministry that the NGO will report to. This means that to obtain this recommendation letter, one must go to the Ministry’s local office in the city where your Organization is headquartered.

2. Complete all Necessary Documents

You will receive details regarding the process and the necessary documents after you submit the aforementioned. The necessary papers are listed below;

  • Form 1 (Application for Registration/Exemption), must be presented in three copies. It also requires copies of the NRC (National Registration Card), a passport, or a driver’s license for members who are from Zambia, and immigration permission for members who are not from Zambia. The phone numbers of the officeholders should also be included.
  • Before submitting the registration application, the Police must examine and clear each of the members on the form (attach fingerprint certificates to the application).
  • Attached must be three legal copies of the Nonprofit’s constitution.
  • letter of approval from Lands and Deeds, PACRA, and the Registrar of Societies.
  • ZMW1,008.00 in fees for global NGOs

Registration forms can be obtained online or through the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health, Headquarters, at the department of Registrar for NGOs, and the District Community Health Office in all the Province capitals. Upon presentation of a computerized bank receipt and deposit sheet proving payment of a non-refundable application fee, a manual receipt will be produced.

3. Certification

You will receive the certification, which contains a registration number, upon validation of your documents. The certification is given out three months after submitting all necessary paperwork. It is suggested that you create a timetable that includes due dates.

As you can see, the Ministry of Development’s application process for a Nonprofit might take up to three months. You may not have that time. The alternative is to register with PACRA as a “Corporation limited by guarantee, nonprofit.”

The steps to take are as follows:

Step 1: Name Clearance

This could take up to three days if you complete it online. You can get a Name Clearance right away if you visit the PACRA office. There isn’t much you need for this:

  • Three options for naming your non-profit
  • According to the ISIC Classification, your “primary business.” These are other social service activities without accommodations for NGOs.
  • Authenticated copies of your Zambian directors’ NRCs
  • 90 Kwacha is the fee.
Step 2: Establish the Nonprofit

Go to the PACRA, and receive your name clearance. This is after you must have had the documents listed below examined. The PACRA representative will explain things you’ve done incorrectly and/or what more information they require. 

  • Articles of Association 
  • The PACRA website’s Form 3
  • All Directors must sign this form, which needs their signatures. You must have the form validated by the court if it’s a photocopy.
  • You need certified copies of these people’s NRCs to certify a signature. These might be replicas. A certified copy of a document costs 10 Kwacha.
  • For all the information you require, glance at this form. For instance, the names of all the directors, the amount of the guarantee, the location of your NGO office, etc.
  • The registration requires a fee of 950 Kwacha.
4. Online Registration of Nonprofits

You need a few additional items to obtain an internet account under the NGO’s name.

  • A TPIN (Tax Payer Identification Number) or a ZRA (Zambia Revenue Authority) clearance.
  • NGO certificate
  • Letter asking the Director of Immigration to access your NGO’s online immigration registration account.
5. Online Application for a Work Permit.

You can apply for a work permit upon completing the registration of your nonprofit page. You may submit a separate application for the work permit, but the fee would be nearly three times higher. There are many documents you’ll need for the application:

  • A letter of introduction from the employer to the director general of immigration
  • Making an application for a work permit (Form 23 for volunteer employment permit)
  • Contract of employment or letter of offer
  • Police clearance from the home country.
  • Curriculum Vitae.
  • Certificate of Registration from the Zambian Professional Body (where required)
  • Certified copy of your credentials (academic, professional)
  • Copies of birth and marriage certificates (where available)
  • Certified copy of current passport information (biodata & last endorsement stamp for Zambia)
  • List of Directors on the company’s certificate
  • Two most recent passport photos
  • Required payment (volunteer work permit requested through NGO should be 2000 Kwacha)

You can accomplish all of this in collaboration with the Zambian directors and with complete transparency concerning every officer. 


Always keep the long term in mind while creating a nonprofit. Create a solid network and long-lasting ties. Spend the time necessary to lay a strong foundation that will support your organization for many years to come. Your Zambian nonprofit organization will be successful if you are thorough and considerate in these early stages.

We would love to know if this article was helpful to you. Please share your comments and suggestions with us at the bottom of the post.

One Response

  1. Very helpful. Thanks alot

    But what do you do if you opt for PACRA and the office bearers include one or two foreigners?

    Can they be included or first leftout until the register of society?

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