Corporate governance and its influence on strategy among member associations of the international planned parenthood federation Africa
Owino, Caroline K
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Governance is high on the agenda in all sectors whether public, private or voluntary. As voluntary, community and non-governmental organisations are driven by altruistic values and work for public benefit, they are increasingly expected to demonstrate how well they are governed. Governance promotes transparency and accountability and not only fulfils legal requirements but also provides organisational oversight. This study sought to determine how governance influences the strategy of International Planned Parenthood Federation member associations in Africa. The research was conducted using a cross-sectional survey research design. The target population of the study was the member associations (MAs) of IPPF Africa. The study used purposive sampling to select a sample comprising all the 16 English speaking member associations of IPPF Africa. Data was collected using a structured questionnaire and data analysis was done using descriptive statistics. The study concluded that governance influenced the strategy of MAs in many ways. The MA boards were actively involved in the development of the long-term strategies and mission of the associations. The boards were also well acquainted with the programs being implemented by the associations and provided guidance to management in the annual work program and budgeting process. MA boards had a structured way of monitoring and tracking the milestones achieved during strategy implementation through a formal work plan against which they appraised themselves annually. They also appraised the executive directors annually. In so doing they ensured that organisational purposes remained relevant and valid so that the MAs achieved their mission. Frequent and regular board meetings were found to be critical for successful monitoring of strategy by the MAs boards allowing them to engage management in discussions and provided a platform for the board to advice management on important matters of touching on the organisational mission, strategy and policy. They also enabled key decisions of strategic relevance to be made. The study recommends IPPF MAs and other grass-root member NGOs to have competency based board appointments through targeting corporate gurus or senior members of society as opposed to the election system from the membership body of volunteers. The current election system may not enable MAs appoint board members with the leadership attributes and skills required for their board members to execute their mandate effectively. MAs should also have a formal plan for board development to build skills and empower board members. They should in addition support the board members formulate clear succession plans for continuous strategic leadership.