Nairobi, Kenya – The bustling city of Nairobi came alive as it played host to the premier annual public-private partnership event, the NGO’s Week 2023. This much-anticipated gathering, which commenced on the 5th of June and will continue until the 12th of June, has brought together government policymakers, NGOs, charitable organizations, the private sector, and the general public. Under the theme “NGOs in the frontline: Powering Sustainable Development in the 21st century,” this event aims to foster collaboration and discuss strategies to address pressing societal challenges.

Youth Future Lab (YFL), a prominent youth-driven organization, had the privilege of attending the grand launch of this prestigious event on the 5th of June. The occasion was graced by notable NGO leaders, both seasoned and emerging, who shared their insights and experiences. It was a day of enlightenment, as YFL members were exposed to the intricacies of the policies governing NGOs and Public Benefit Organizations (PBOs) in Kenya.

Mr. Gichira Kibara CBS, the Chairman of the NGO Coordination Board, served as a key speaker during the launch. He shed light on the importance of the Public Benefit Association Act (PBO Act) and assured attendees of its forthcoming operationalization. This act seeks to establish a robust legal framework that promotes transparency, accountability, and effectiveness in the operations of NGOs. By doing so, it paves the way for the organizations to carry out impactful development programs that cater to the needs of vulnerable communities.

The event’s chief guest, Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Interior and National Administration, Dr. Raymond Omollo, PHD, recognized and applauded the vital role NGOs play in the community. Dr. Omollo pledged the government’s commitment to collaborate closely with NGOs to ensure that marginalized communities and individuals receive the assistance they require, be it in healthcare, education, environmental conservation, or beyond. He further announced the government’s ongoing efforts to automate tasks such as NGO registration and filing of returns, thus simplifying operations for these organizations.

One of the highlights of YFL’s participation was their interactions with various organizations and NGOs present at the event. In particular, they had a fruitful exchange of ideas with Shining Hope for Communities Organization (SHOFCO). SHOFCO, a grassroots movement, spearheads transformative initiatives in urban slums by providing critical services such as community advocacy platforms, education, and leadership development for women and girls. This interaction allowed YFL members to witness firsthand the impact that grassroots organizations can make in improving the lives of those most in need.

Additionally, YFL engaged with Shaqodoon International Kenya, an organization dedicated to empowering youth through skills development, empowerment services, and youth entrepreneurship for sustainable development. This interaction provided YFL members with valuable insights into effective youth-focused programs and strategies that can drive positive change in communities.

Throughout the event, various NGOs passionately advocated for the enactment of the Public Benefit Organization Act (PBO Act). These organizations firmly believe that the implementation of this legislation will enhance their capacity to serve society effectively. With increased transparency, accountability, and efficiency, NGOs can truly fulfill their missions and contribute significantly to Kenya’s sustainable development.

As the event draws to a close, it is evident that the NGO’s Week 2023 has been a combination of education and fun for all participants. YFL has emerged from this experience with a wealth of knowledge and inspiration. The opportunity to engage with seasoned NGOs and witness their dedication to societal transformation has invigorated YFL’s commitment to making a difference.

In conclusion, if NGOs and the government unite their efforts and work collaboratively, we can create a better society for future generations. The NGO’s Week 2023 has demonstrated the immense potential of such partnerships in driving sustainable development. By fostering an environment of cooperation, transparency, and innovation, we can pave the way for a brighter and more equitable future for all. Let us take the lessons learned from this event and channel them into impactful action that leaves a lasting positive impact on Kenya and the world.

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Alice Kamau