The NGO Co-ordination Act defines a “Non-governmental Organization” as a private voluntary group of individuals or associations, not operating for profit or commercial purposes, but have organized themselves nationally or internationally:

  • for the benefit of the public at large
  • for the promotion of social welfare
  • for the promotion of development charity or research in the areas of health, relief, agriculture, etc.

Registered NGOs obtain legal status in order to enable them to interact at the official level, and among donors and other organizations.
Members are able to represent the organization, the NGO can open a bank account in the name of the organization, or sign contracts in the name of the organization.
A registered NGO can also qualify for financial assistance from government agencies and local, national, and international donors.

Steps when registering an NGO in Kenya:

  • Name search: An applicant must first seek approval of the proposed NGO’s name. 3 names are provided in order of priority. A name search is conducted with the NGO Board by filling out Form 2.
  • Application form: Once the name search process is completed, the applicant will lodge 3 original applications for registration.
  • These are the following documents lodged with the NGO Board:
    • Cover letter requesting for registration addressed to the executive director of the NGO

– FORM 1: Contact details of the proposed NGO and its contact person – FORM 3:

  • Contact details of the 3 top officials of the proposed NGO: Their personal particulars and qualifications
  • The main objective as provided in the constitution
  • Nature of proposed organization
  • Who will your organization help
  • How does your organization operate
  • For organizations in operation, please indicate your income for the last financial year
  • Financial Year of the proposed organization
  • Other countries of operation (where applicable)
  • Current and planned countries of operation
  • List of additional board members
  • FORM 3 is accompanied by:
    • 3 copies of the constitution of the proposed NGO, signed by the 3 top officials and 2 board
    • 2 copies should be signed by all the proposed board members on the execution page
    • At least one top official to sign two copies of each page
    • Two current color passport size photographs were taken on a white background of the 3 top officials and 2 other board members
    • A copy of National ID for Kenyan officials and Passport number for foreigners for the 5 proposed officials and board members
    • A copy of KRA Pin Certificates for the 5 proposed officials and board members
    • A copy of the minutes of the NGO authorizing the filing of the application with a specific agenda and resolution to register THE ORGANIZATION AS AN NGO WITH THE NGOs CO-ORDINATION BOARD signed by all the top officials. Election of interim officials MUST form part of the agenda.
    • The proposed one-year budget
    • A copy of a valid police clearance certificate for Kenyans (equivalent notarized clearance certificates for foreigners from their country of origin *should not be more than 6 months old)
    • A Memorandum of Understanding between the organization and the donors (if any). This applies to an NGO already registered locally or internationally registering a branch.
    • A forwarding letter
    • Contain original signatures of the officials and members
  1. Form 1 and 3 are issued upon payments of KES 400 (all downloaded forms 1 and 3 shall only be accepted upon payment of KES 400).
  • FORM 4: A notification of the situation of the registered office or postal address of the NGO, signed by the 3 top officials
  • Accompanying Documentation:
    • Letter from the sponsor (5 copies): This is the person or body providing primary financial and material support towards the project
    • Submit certified and notarized copies of the constitutions, deeds, and statutes of other branches at the country of origin it was registered
    • Duly paid and approved copy of Form 2
    • Information regarding

– the line ministry in which the proposed NGO will be operating in – work plan of how the foreign NGO intends to carry out its activities for the first year of operation – source of funds -administrative chart showing organization structure

  • Processing fees
    • Name search – KES 1,000.

Timeline – 1 day

  • Submission of Form 1 and 3 – KES 400
  • National application: Cover Letter, Form 1 and 3 – KES 16,000

Timeline – within 90 days from the date of the payment processing fee

  1. All applications should either be typed or filled in block letters. Applicants are encouraged to use the prototype constitution available on the NGO Board website. Constitutions that do not follow the given format will not be accepted.

Foreign NGO

A foreign NGO, also known as an international non-governmental organization (INGO) is an NGO incorporated outside Kenya. A foreign NGO looking to set up its branch in Kenya must adhere to the following requirements.

Registration requirements: The foreign NGO will lodge its application with the NGOs Co-ordination Board.

The foreign NGO members should convene a meeting wherein they agree and resolve to register a branch in Kenya. In the same meeting, they should propose three NGO names. The resolutions of the meeting should be reduced in writing and members sign against their names.

The foreign NGO should also obtain a recommendation letter from the country of origin where the NGO operates from. The recommendation letter should be notarized by a notary public from where it is issued from.

The foreign NGO should also obtain a letter of authorization from their headquarters authorizing to operate another branch in Kenya.

This is a written statement from the board of the foreign NGO, stating the purposes of the NGO, and a general description of the activities it is planning to carry out in Kenya.

This letter should also be notarized by a notary public from where it was issued from.

A foreign branch should also produce a notarized copy of the relevant registration certificate.

The requirements are similar as for a local NGO except with these additional requirements:

  • The officials must be of outstanding and unquestionable character and conform with NGO laws in Kenya
  • 1/3 of all board members must be Kenyan
  • 1/3 of officials of the Kenya branch must be a Kenyan citizen
  • Should have an office in Kenya
  • Prove that it will demonstrate an act of public good and that it will benefit and improve the lives of Kenyans in the particular sector

Processing fees:

  • Name search – KES 1,000.

Timeline – 1 day

  • Submission of Form 1 and 3 – KES 400
  • International application: Cover Letter, Form 1 and 3 – KES 30,000

Timeline – within 90 days from the date of the payment processing fee.

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