Influence of governance on accountability to stakeholders by non-governmental organizations in Kisumu Municipality, Kenya
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Governance and accountability of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have become issues of concern in development discourse as the NGOs raise to positions of prominence in delivery of public services and advocacy work. The role of NGOs in community development; their relationship with donors, national governments, project and programme beneficiaries, and the general public, is being interrogated by parties keen on NGOs accountability to the latter entities. The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of governance on accountability to stakeholders by NGOs in Kisumu Municipality, Kenya. The objectives of this study were to assess the level at which and the extent to which participation, rule of law, responsiveness, and efficiency-and-effectiveness as elements of governance influence accountability to stakeholders. A descriptive survey research design was used in this study and questionnaires were employed to collect quantitative data in an attempt to answer the research questions. Using a structured questionnaire, data were gathered from 96 NGOs in Kisumu Municipality on the various aspects of corporate governance. Findings from the study indicated that regarding decision on a project to be undertaken by the NGO, the donors and NGO staff members have the greatest say at (48.7%) each, as reported by the participants of the study. Increased participation of the beneficiary community is seen during planning of project activities (53.9%); also (75.0%) of the respondents strongly agreed that the beneficiary community is actively involved in implementing project activities. The test of hypothesis one (Ha) showed a significant relationship between accountability -to stakeholders and participation (p<0.029).F-test was also employed to test for- significance. The ANOV A performed showed that there is significanfi~iociation between accountability to stakeholders and efficiency-and-effectiveness (p<0.6""43).It was found out that having efficient and effective systems and approaches in serving the project beneficiary community enhances accountability to the stakeholders. The study concludes, among the stakeholders who participate in decision-making, the strongest voice in regard to choice of project to be undertaken by an NGO are those of the donors and the NGO staff. This study recommends the following for policy and practice: synergy building among various NGOs stakeholders in encouraging local community' participation in decision-making; inclusion in and enforcement of an NGO Code of Conduct requirement that NGOs share financial information with the beneficiary community, and improving ICT services as a means of strengthening transparency. The study suggests future researches which are wider and more qualitative to examine how government policies and NGO codes of conduct enhance governance by NGOs. It also suggests that future studies should consider looking at other components of the wider accountability concept such as legitimacy or complaints and grievance mechanism and; evaluate how local community attitudes influence its participation in governance and development activities of the NGO, and the resultant influence on accountability of the NGOs to the beneficiary community.