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Burdensome registration procedures

Being a civil society actor and getting registered in Tanzania may turn out to be quite burdensome process. This blog will shed some light into the related legislation and procedures in Tanzania.
Asna Mshana
21.6.2016

Abilis Foundation has recently gone through the registration process and Andrea Fichtmüller kindly described to us, how it all went. 

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"Tanzanian CSO legislations require CSOs to undergo formal registration, incorporation, or other similar procedures (hereinafter “registration”), in order to attain legal entity status but the process is so difficult that it effectively prevents CSOs from being registered.

Such barriers include a lack of clarity regarding the registration procedures; detailed, complex documentation requirements; prohibitively high registration fees for international organization; and excessive delays in the registration process.

Abilis Foundation has for many years provided financial support to projects implemented by Tanzanian DPOs (organizations of people with disabilities) in Tanzania. We have worked together with Information Centre on Disability (ICD). Our official partnership with ICD however stopped at the end of 2014.

From there we started a long process considering which would be the best way to support DPOs in Tanzania e.g. establishing a new partnership, a new model or structures or even registering with an Abilis office in Tanzania?

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After a country assessment and many evaluation and consultative meetings with different stakeholders, the Abilis Board decided to start the registration process. From some Asian countries Abilis knew how general procedures usually would go and that the process requires time.

In Tanzania the information finding sources for Abilis were the Abilis Facilitators and the Kepa office in Dar es Salaam. Both contacts provided a 2 pages long guideline on how to register an organization in Tanzania.

According to those instructions the process seemed straight forward and rather quick. Another, essential guideline for Abilis was the manual by Kepa called "NGO work in Tanzania. Highlights of relevant facts, policies and laws."

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What was thought being a good move was a personal visit to the relevant Ministry and registration office by the team of Abilis staff and Abilis Board member during a field visit to Tanzania.

We presented all documents and got some few advices on how to present the documents and what to add plus that the final decision making process would take 5 working days.

However, the registration process prolonged and is still not finished today as step by step new additional information and requests from different governmental offices arrive.

By today, Abilis knows that the initial guidelines are by far not complete and that having local staff or volunteers in the country, who do regular personal visits to relevant offices and officers are still the best way to find out what is needed and where the process got stacked."

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Basic guidelines and information on legislation and procedures in Tanzania related to CSOs registration is collected into following presentation.