Corporate governance practices at Twaweza East Africa
Corporate Governance aims at enhancing internal governance practices through structures and control mechanisms that result in efficient and effective operations. Primarily, good governance practices demand a separation of roles between boards and management to strengthen adequate oversight and supervision, critical in avoiding conflict and ensuring clear accountability. Poor governance renders an organization an underperformer which fails to accomplish stated goals, and stands to lose the backing and goodwill of various shareholders. Government bodies, the private sector and the nonprofit sector alike have adopted corporate governance practices in an attempt to streamline accountability, responsibility and transparency measures within. Organizations operate in complex and dynamic environments that require complex, but flexible, governance regulation reflecting the uniqueness of each situation arising from specific factors such as legal and financial systems, culture, corporate ownership structures and economic conditions. This analysis cannot be truer in the case of international nongovernmental organizations which have to contend with starkly different socioeconomic, cultural and political country contexts and internal upheavals but against which their mandate should be carried out with a stakeholder-approved satisfactory level of success. This objective of this study was to establish corporate governance practices at Twaweza East Africa. Methodology adopted was a case study with primary data collected from 8 respondents spread across key departments and secondary data from past reports and operating manuals, with Qualitative Data Analysis used to process this data. Findings show that the organization is currently in a state of transition as it refocuses implementation of multiple sector projects in Tanzania and education in Kenya and Uganda. There is reorganization in terms of structure, but most governance elements remain. An overarching Governing Board and a visible Advisory Board aside, respondents singled out the use of controls on procurement procedures for example heavily documented tendering processes, auditing and accounting, programmatic evaluation, and resource management including governance checks on potential partners, as mechanisms that support corporate governance. Board diversity, communication and overlap in program implementation responsibilities distorting supervision and accountability lines were noted to be challenges. It is recommended that Twaweza achieves gender and geographical diversity in its boards, draw on communication to create a culture that sees increased information sharing and ownership of organization values that will enhance compliance to policies beyond fear of sanctions. It should also address overlaps in responsibilities and embrace rigorous self-assessment beyond budget tracking to include qualitative performance audits with governance challenges revealed serving to foster need for internal self improvement. Study limitations experienced included time, refusal to divulge information by some respondents whilst others were not well acquainted with the concept of corporate governance and questioned its application to nongovernmental organizations. Suggestions for further research are a study that links impact of corporate governance practices to NGO performance from the perspective of stakeholders, a study that carries out stakeholder mapping beyond donors to identify other stakeholders and explore in what ways they can hold NGOs accountable and finally, a study that explores the extent to which founders influence application of corporate governance practices in their organizations.