Factors that influence Ngo effectiveness: a case study of kwanza a rural based Ngo in Mwingi District, Kenya
Njenga, Mary N
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The purpose of this study was to establish factors that influence NGO effectiveness. The study sought to find out how different stakeholders influenced performance of the NGO. The study was designed as a case study that focused on one rural based NGO in Mwingi District Eastern Kenya. For the purpose of maintaining confidentiality, the name of the NGO has not been disclosed and for the study purpose we will refer to the NGO in the study as Kwanza NGO. The researcher used secondary data as well as primary data generated from focus group discussions, key informants interviews as well as observations and site visits to the project sites where the NGO supported programs. Findings from the study revealed that NGO governance and specifically the role of the board is very crucial as it affects the performance of an organization. Failure to manage the growth and transition of the board as the organisation grow in terms of programs and budgets heavily affected the entire organisation as the board stagnated which brought in conflict within the entire organisation. Secondly staff skills and competencies affect the delivery of services as programme planning, implementation heavily depend on staff knowledge and competencies. The study revealed how funding agencies affected the growth and innovation of the NGO as most of the strategies and focus was determined by the funding agency. This strategic shift forced the NGO to change the focus despite the needs on the ground. Long-term programme funding emerged as a positive contribution to Kwanza effectiveness as the staffs energy concentrated on programme implementation and not fundraising as is usually the case when it is specific short term projects funding. However an assured funding led to complacency on the part of Kwanza as they did not learn fundraising skills, and did not attempt major fundraising initiatives. Partnerships with government and other NGOs has contributed immensely to Kwanza effectiveness as these partnerships brought resources, better coordination and skills that were not available within the Kwanza. The partnership between Kwanza and local Community Based Organisations have further enhanced the effectiveness as it Ins wider geographical coverage and greater tnernatic reach and focus unlike if the Kwanza depended on its own capacity to implement programs. The study recommends a review of NGO Coordination Act and the role of community stakeholders in governing their local NGOs since most NGOs in Kenya are not membership organisations. The question of "who watches the watchdog" would therefore be answered because the community stakeholders would watch on the NGO performance as well as excesses of the govemance organs. The study recommends further the set up of a Kenyan NGO fund and an advisory service where organisations can be supported with funding and technical advice. This would minimise donor dependency and continuous donor shifts which affect programming. The study further recommends a review of the NGO Act and self regulation mechanisms as well as the NGO code of conduct. The current regulatory framework ofNGO in Kenya is weak and not much had been done to tame rogue NGOs. Usually it is left to donors to pursue prosecution of rogue directors or organisation since it is the donor funding that had been misappropriated. More punitive measures should be established particularly focusing on lack of accountability and poor governance in NGOs. In cases where there is poor performance or non compliant, the directors as guardians of the NGOs should be held accountable for such actions. These are gaps that are not addressed in the NGO Act. Finally the study recommends the decentralisation of NGO board and NGO Council services so that the organisations can offer the much needed advisory support to NGOs countrywide. The NGO Council and the NGO Board should explore opportunities of setting up Provincial or District support offices where NGOs can seek technical support and services.