Registering CSOs

Commenting on my last post, several readers reiterated that the Tarayana Foundation is doing some wonderful work. I agree.

But did you know that Tarayana Foundation, established seven years ago, is not a registered CSO? Similarly, the Youth Development Fund, established 11 years ago, and RSPN, established 24 years ago, are not registered CSOs.

We know that Tarayana, YDF and RSPN are doing a good job alleviating rural poverty, developing our youth and protecting our natural heritage respectively. They’ve proven it. We also know that many other NGOs have made significant contributions to the development of our country and people.

So I was surprised to read that the CSO Authority has awarded the CSO status to only four organizations: RENEW, Loden Foundation, Centre for Media and Democracy and Bhutanese Association of Women Entrepreneurs (BAOWE).

RENEW is doing a lot of good work empowering our women. So it’s good to see that they’ve been recognized as a registered CSO. And though the Loden Foundation is relatively new, they’ve been quite active.

The Centre for Media and Democracy, established two years ago, sounds promising. And they’ve already conducted several seminars and workshops. Still, I’m not sure how they would qualify for official registration if the likes of Tarayana, YDF and RSPN are left out.

And then there’s BAOWE. They’re also a registered CSO. But who is BAOWE? When were they established? And what have they done to merit recognition ahead of Tarayana, YDF and RSPN.

 

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  1. The agencies who got registered got it because they applied for registration. The others did not because they have not completed their registration yet, which i understand is complicated. You need a board of directors, three year plans ahead, etc etc. RSPN i know is not registered because they have been already registered as under the companies, and they need to de link first. I hear tarayana is not looking to register as a cso. cant confirm, but thats what i hear. u forgot to mention VAST, which has been doing a lot over the years. The rules are just too complicated for them to work through. In the end, i guess you need to follow procedures in a formal registration, and they are looking to avoid similar problems faced by other countries in the region like nepal- too many useless csos. i wish they would make it easier for VAST, though. You are right in that good track record should count for something.

  2. Practising GNH says:

    I think the registration should not be based only on the number of years served but also on other criteria including the purpose of their existence and value of benefit to the society. It is also a question of parity and fulfilling the key requirements. Given that NGOs also receive donations from different sources, I feel that measures must be put in place to ensure that there are no scavengers and parasites feeding on leakages from the NGOs/SCOs. Even if such things are not happening now rules and measures must be there to prevent for all times to come. It would also be helpful if the CSO rules and regulations are made available on Web for public to see.

  3. Tshering says:

    As far as I understand, there are two types of CSOs – Public Benefit Organizations (PBO); Mutual Benefit Organizations (MBO). Our old NGOs like the Tarayana and YDF fall under the former and benefit the public, while associations like the BAOWE fall under the latter and benefit the members. It isn’t compulsory to register with the CSO Authority, however, if we do the biggest advantage is tax exemption and the other major advantage is easier access to funding individuals/agencies/organizations/etc. But, definitely, the registration was not based on the number of years the organization had been functioning and how actively. The registration criteria were mostly based on the requirements as per the CSO Act 2007. Three critical elements as per my understanding: a) mechanism of sustaining the organization; b) board/governance members being non government; and c)transparency in financial management.

  4. Although the NGOs like Tarayana, YDF and RSPN is the foremost NGOs benefiting public, the CSOA have registered other new CSOs since they applied first.

    The organisation like RSPN, I heard, need more time since the CSOA requires an organization without ROYAL in their name. It is very hard for them since they are very established and well known with the name RSPN, even outside Bhutan. But since it is a regulation, all must abide… They might be modifying their names without ROYAL… But I do not know about the other NGOs.

    Since it is related to CSOA, I want to make a point on registration number.

    The CSO registration number is a full dispatch number which is very unprofessional and looks funny. CSOA could have worked on some standard numbering system than having a whole dispatch / reference number.

    THese are just my opinions…

  5. Hi Tshering and CSO,

    Thank you very much for the useful information you provided. This should clear the doubts in the minds of the OL as well as other readers of this Blog – why some have been registered and some have not been.

    There is one another aspect that you forgot to mention. That is that some of the NGO’s may not find it useful or beneficial to register under the CSO Act. I have not read the Act but I do know that a large number of NGO’s around the world have been used as conduits for financing some shady deals and anti-government activities. Therefore, I am assuming that the Act would require the NGO’s to be transparent and require them to declare their funding sources – in addition to other stringent requirements. Some will not find it very convenient to do so. In some cases, the principal donor may not wish to be named as a contributor. It is also possible that some of the NGO’s are being funded by people and organizations of doubtful reputation and the NOG’s may not want that information revealed.

  6. This is for OL,
    As to your question about BAOWE, seems like they are a new NGO. I looked up their website at:

    http://baowe.org/bhutan.htm

    Everything about the BAOWE is given there although it would appear that they have not done any work as yet. I can say this because I see that their website is few months old.

  7. Tshering says:

    Yes, Guest, ‘transparency’ is key as funding agencies/donors and partners as well as clients would like to know whether the funds intended for ‘public’ or ‘mutual’ benefit are being used appropriately or misused. In respect of shady deals or anti-government activities, I would like to believe they are controlled by the organization’s vision, mission, values/principles and goals and cannot actually go unnoticed in a country like ours. I tend to think this may not be the reason for not registering, but rather the unpreparedness in terms of the formalities and requirements for registering.

  8. In one of the meetings, i heard that Tarayana Foundation is into money lending business. I believe, this may not be their objectives since this kind of business is carried on by licensed banks. Any way, hope at the end of the day,it benefit the people, as it is apprent.
    May be Tarayana Foundation should get it registered.

  9. Dear All,

    Just to clear the doubts on Tarayana’s registration as CSO, there is no doubt that we don’t register, in fact we wanted to be the first one to be registered. since we had several events lined up for this year it has been little difficult to cope up with every thing. Never the less it’s in the process and we will be registered very soon.

    Yegal-just to clear your doubts-Micro finance is one of our main activity in the communities we work with, so please don’t misunderstand that with the profit oriented money lending business. We know that any agency/ organization who deals in money lending activities should be registered with RMA and we have already communicated with RMA.

  10. Barbara says:

    Hi, I am really happy that you have raised this issue as I was quite surprised to see that ‘only’ four organisations have ‘qualified’ for this round of accreditations.
    Civil Society and its organisations are a really privileged set up to learn from a country and I was really pleased when this registration started. I was really surprised to see the outcome as many of those that would normally qualify as organisations here in europe were not included in the list. I know application procedures are time consuming, but I also know from experience that help/support can be provided in order not to let those whose work should be recognized go unheard. (i.e. I am sure we all agree that the work required for the same person/office to fill out ten/twenty different application forms instead of ten/twenty people each filling out the same form is significantly different…)
    That’s it, I am just looking forward to see more CSOs soon… especially the scouts…
    bc

  11. Did I hear that if someone is affiliated to a political party, he/she cannot be on the Board of a CSO? If so, the founder president of BAOWE should have been disqualified? Please enlighten me!

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