Is publishing all NGO financial data in Kenya possible?

joy Apr 27, 2015

Integrity Action’s newest partner, Kenya’s National Council of NGO’s (non-governmental organisations), have committed to rolling out the use of the GrantCheck tool to track and publish data on all NGO funding flows within Kenya. The National Council of NGO’s comprises all registered NGOs in Kenya, including international, regional and national NGOs operating in the country and membership numbers currently stand at around 8,500. Working with a host of Community Based Organisations (CBOs), ministries and other groups, the Council provides overall leadership to the NGO sector in Kenya.

With all registered NGOs in Kenya as members of the Council, Integrity Action's support to them provides an exciting opportunity to deploy GrantCheck at a national level and see a real impact on the transparency of an important sector within the country. On the 8th March 2015, Integrity Action’s Community Integrity Building Programme Manager, Megan McGrattan, travelled to Busia County in Kenya to deliver kick-off training to over 80 local NGOs on how to use the GrantCheck tool to upload their funding data. GrantCheck allows donors and recipients of development funding to state how much funding they have given or received and ask their donor or recipient to verify the sum. In doing so, GrantCheck creates traceable and verifiable flows of international aid money thereby increasing transparency and aiding authenticity and trust between donors and recipients.

There was enthusiastic participation from the 80 local NGOs who attended the training in Busia County and became the pilot group of GrantCheck users in Kenya. The group asked lots of questions, quickly getting to grips with the idea behind the data inputs. In response to Megan’s training, they enthusiastically discussed their ideas about the ways in which uploading their funding data could generate real improvements to development sector transparency in Kenya and create lasting impacts on their ability to raise funds.

For Megan, one of the many highlights of this training day in Busia was the participants’ attitudes towards leadership; many of these NGO leaders spoke passionately about wanting to lead the way when it came to transparency and accountability; of how they were excited to open up their own funding data to public view in order to lead by example. Many hoped that by leading the vanguard, they would place themselves in a strong position to demand increased levels of transparency from government and simultaneously attract interest from donors who could use GrantCheck to verify the NGOs’ authenticity as well as their track records with other donors.

During Megan’s visit to Busia County, the next steps for the GrantCheck pilot were set out by the National Council of NGOs CEO, Kevinnah Loyatum, in collaboration with the attendees. The end of April was agreed as the deadline for all of the NGOs present at the training to be registered on GrantCheck, with the Council committing to providing individual-level support and in-county training to the NGOs, and all participants agreed to a mid-May deadline by which they must upload information about all their current grant amounts and sources.

Additionally, after the training in Busia County, steps were taken to secure the inclusion of GrantCheck in the upcoming amendment to the Public Benefits Organization Act. If GrantCheck is included in the Act, it would see the Kenyan government allow NGOs to use the tool to track their funding flows rather than placing a controversial and prohibitive cap of 15% on funding from non-Kenyan sources. Integrity Action is working closely with the NGO Council to support this initiative and we are hopeful that the training we gave to those NGOs piloting the tool will lead to good uptake and usage rates, which in turn will provide the National Council of NGOs with the necessary proof of GrantCheck’s capacity to build transparency into the NGO sector in Kenya. Our joint hope is that the Council can use this proof to deter the government from capping international funding and turn them instead towards the mutually beneficial aim of increasing transparency and integrity in the sector.