By Francis Tsawayo WINDHOEK The Namibia Planned Parenthood Association (NAPPA) focused on strengthening the governance of the boards of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) at a governance workshop this week. Chaired by the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, and facilitated by the Centre for African Family Studies (CAFS) based in Kenya was attended by members of the association’s National and Regional Executive Committees. Dr Bani Orwa, the training facilitator, delivered a presentation on good governance and its relevance to NGOs as well positive and negative characteristics of governance. Through group discussions, committee members identified major roles and responsibilities of NGO board members and defined them. The second day of the workshop featured group exercises on organisational profiles and lectures on board development, recruiting, orientation, training succession as well as the barriers encountered to good governance. Ndaitwah congratulated the newly elected members of the committee and its new director, Sam Ntelemo, and she challenged her audience to work hard so as to meet initial expectations that are not on the list of NAPPA achievements. “It is a modern practice that each organisation has a governing structure to initiate, formulate and regulate policies,” said the Minister. Ndaitwah defined corporate governance as a system by which organisations are directed and controlled to ensure maximum benefit. Through this, governing boards are expected ” … to set overall strategies and policy objectives; monitor to make sure that their organisations make salient progress towards the set goals and objectives, and to also protect and adhere to such policies as they are initiated,” she explained. She pointed out that more evidence had come to light on the sudden change of perception of what constitutes good governance in NGOs. “Loss of public and donor confidence, loss of accountability and selfishness – putting our interest first,” she said. Integrity, good judgement, common sense and commitment are some of the qualities outlined as necessary for those occupying leadership positions in office. She called for executive committee members and board members to be selected on merit, based on expertise, to expand the pool of skills and effectively complement one another in their work, hence ensuring good governance within institutions. The approach to good governance should be to maximise the transparency of NGOs and create systems that further maximise the scope of making decisions on an ad hoc basis and to give preferential treatment to recipients of services in a fair manner. On the last day of the workshop, committee members torn a recap session on the reporting system and procedures of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, to which (NAPA) is affiliated. The Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services, Petrina Haingura, was expected to officiate at the closing ceremony.
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