Registrar PumuloThe Zambian Government takes cognizance of the increasing role NGOs play in Zambia’s social, economic and political transformation and the process of globalization and how these transformations impact on the relevance and responsiveness to the needs and aspirations of the people of Zambia. Therefore, the Government acknowledges that these ends can be achieved through a professional NGO sector that is built on the core values of transparency, accountability and good governance, Hence the birth of the Department of Registrar for Non-Governmental Organizations.

The Department of Registrar for NGOs was established under Section 8 of the Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) Act No. 16 of 2009. The Act was enacted to provide for registration and coordination of NGOs in Zambia. The purpose was to have an effective, efficient and well-coordinated NGO Sector that contributes to sustainable national development while at the same time promoting commitment, transparency, accountability, mutual respect, and trust among development partners. The Department was formed in 2011 and was operationalized in 2012.

Objective of the Department

To provide for Registration and Co-ordination of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) for enhancement of Transparency, Accountability and Performance of NGOs in Contributing to National Development.

General Functions of the Department

  • Registration of NGOs;
  • Coordination of NGOs;
  • Regulation of NGOs;
  • Provision of Secretarial Services to the NGO Registration Board;
  • Facilitate coordination meetings between the NGO Registration Board and the Council of NGOs.
  • Enhancing the transparency, accountability and performance of NGOs

Structure of the Department

The Department is headed by the Registrar of NGOs and it has two (2) sections, namely,  the Registration and Standards Sections as well as a Documentation Unit. 

Registration Section

The Registration section is responsible for undertaking the following functions: –

  1. To facilitate Name Reservation services;
  2. To register all local and international NGOs operating or intending to operate in Zambia;
  3. To maintain an up-to-date register of all NGOs operating in Zambia;
  4. To facilitate for provision of Extracts of register of NGOs to stakeholders;
  5. To publish in the Gazette annually every registration effected under the Act, every suspension or cancellation of registration and every refusal for registration;
  6. To issue certificates of registration to all NGOs; and
  7. To develop and strengthen the registration system of NGOs in Zambia.

Standards Section (Regulation)

The standards Section is responsible for undertaking the following specific functions:

  1. To monitor and evaluate activities of NGOs in order to ensure compliance to set standards, guidelines and objectives;
  2. To disseminate nationally set standards and guidelines on the operations of NGOs in different sectors;
  3. To inspect and verify the validity of submitted books of accounts, returns, annual reports and other information to ensure transparency and accountability;
  4. To conduct verifications of membership, sources of funding and physical location of NGOs in order to recommend for registration, re-registration or de-registration;
  5. To prepare quarterly and annual inspection reports in order to assist in decision making;
  6. To provide guidance to NGOs regarding required standards as prescribed in the guidelines; and
  7. To maintain records of all registered and de-registered NGOs in the Country.



The NGO Registration Board is established under section five of the NGO Act No. 16 of 2009. The primarily function of the Board is to provide for registration and regulation of NGOs in Zambia as well as to advise Government on the Activities of NGOs and their role in the development process.

The Board shall consist of fifteen part-time members as follows;

  • Two independent members appointed by the Minister as well as one person each from the following;
  • Ministry of Health
  • Ministry of Finance
  • Ministry of Home Affairs
  • Ministry Community Development and Social Services
  • Ministry Local Government and Housing
  • A representative of the Attorney General
  • Seven members elected by the congress
  • The Registrar, as an ex-officio member


  1. Register Non-Governmental Organizations;
  2. Approve the area of work of NGOs operating in Zambia;
  3. Maintain a register of national and international NGOs operating in Zambia, with the sectors, affiliations and locations of their activities;
  4. Advise the government on the activities of the NGOs and their role in development in Zambia; and,
  5. Provide policy guidelines to NGOs for harmonizing their activities to the national development plan for Zambia.
  6. Receive discuss and approve the code of conduct prepared by the council for the self-regulation of NGOs and their operations in Zambia.


The Council of NGOs is established under Section 30 of the NGO Act No. 16 of 2009. The functions of the Council are as follows:

(a) develop, adopt and administer the Code of Conduct for Non-Governmental Organisations;

 (b) facilitate and coordinate the work of non-governmental organisations operating in Zambia; and

(c) perform any other functions relevant for purposes of the Act as the Congress  may determine.

In line with section 30(2) of the NGO Act, 2009, the current Council of NGOs is composed of 12 members elected during the 2018 Congress of NGOs. The Chairperson heads the Council of NGOs. All the 10 provinces are represented in the   Council.

The Council of NGOs Secretariat is hosted within the Ministry of Community   Development and Social Services with an Officer from the Department seconded to provide Administrative functions


The following are the functions of the NGO Council;

  1. Develop, adopt and administer the Code of Conduct for Non-Governmental Organizations;
  2.  Facilitate and coordinate the work of NGOs operating in Zambia;
  3. Facilitate self-regulation by NGOs on matters of activities, funding programs, training and any other matters taking into account national security and public interest.
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