By Justin Kayiranga
A study by the PROFEMMES / TWESE HAMWE coalition found that, in Rwanda, there are some organizations that do not comply with legitimacy, transparency, and accountability (LTA) principles.
The study was conducted in 2021 in collab with Care International Rwanda, aiming at analysing how civil society organizations (CSOs) adhere to the general principles of privacy, and to see how they fulfil their responsibilities to their beneficiaries.
“In fact, this research has been conducted to assess our strengths and weaknesses as civil society organisations, because we believe that efficiency and achievement of our goals make sense when we are working transparently and in compliance with the rules.” Emma Marie Bugingo, the Executive Director of Profemmes/Twese Hamwe.
The outcomes of the LTA situation analysis showed that the legitimacy principle implementation is compromised by various challenges like failure to follow internal laws, rules and regulations, conflicts related to interests and the poor organisation’s governance and financial management among others.
Balthazal Nizeyimana, a representative of Empowering people, the company that conducted the study, argued that there are some organizations that do not fully understand these principles, which sometimes lead to their failure to achieve their goals and missions.
He said “The main challenge we have seen is that these organizations show that these principles are well-understood, but our research shows that they understand them partially, because most of them are confused about being certified by the Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) as evidence to be indeed compliant with the legitimacy principle, yet it’s not the case.”
Speaking at the dissemination and reflection event on the status of the role of CSOs and Their Legitimacy, Transparency and Accountability, held on June 1st, 2022, Dr. Nkurunziza Ryarasa Joseph, the chairperson of Rwanda Civil society platform urged CSOs to position themselves and ensure they are legitimate and accountable on the resources they use.
However, he committed to discuss with umbrella organizations ways of establishing self-regulation framework and make them operational to build strong CSOs.
“Leadership and capacity building among the staff should be the engine to building relevant and sustainable CSOs” Dr. Joseph said.
The Government of Rwanda strongly recognizes that CSOs are an important pillar of Good Governance. Their role is emphasized in the NST1 in many areas including accountability, citizen empowerment and participation, monitoring and ensuring effective service delivery.
The number of CSOs operating in Rwanda increases gradually and their contribution to the country’s economy was estimated to be around $196M in the 2018/2019 financial year.