Context and Justification for the LUKMEF Africa Civil Society Development Centre

The 1990 law on Associations and the 1999 Law on NGOs are the two fundamental legal instruments used by the civil society in Cameroon. Within the framework of these two laws, over 55,602 organizations are registered in the books of the ministry of territorial administration at sub divisional (DO) and divisional levels (SDO) in Cameroon(Ref CSOSI-2019 by USAID). The registration process is relatively simple for most CSOs. However, CSOs working on governance, anticorruption, and human rights issues may encounter delays or other difficulties in obtaining registration receipts or be denied registration arbitrarily, giving rise to the perception that the registering authorities do not apply the laws in a fair and consistent manner. 

The government practices administrative tolerance” in that it allows many organizations to operate semi-legally, unable to gain full registration but able to conduct activities without reprisal. At the same time, local officials sometimes hinder the activities of anti-corruption and human rights CSOs.

The above recent statistics confirm the results of a study conducted by LUKMEF in 2009 in three regions (NW, SW and Littoral). In addition to the high number of registered CSOs in these regions, the study also found out that; (1) Only 36.73% of registered associations and NGOs in these regions ever operated a physical office. (2) only 18.38% of those who operated an office were able to maintain the office for more than one year. (3) only 3.5% of these NGOs and Associations have a functional governance structures with well written internal policies and standards.
Access to resources at local, national and international levels is very low among the civil society organizations in Cameroon. Inability to access resources was found to be largely attributed to poor institutional and operational capacity of the organizations as most donors place a lot of importance on these key areas. This poor organizational capacity has resulted to a repeat funding of the very tiny number of well-structured organizations. This therefore continues to widen the gap between these few organizations and the majority of small organizations. Such a situation seriously undermines meaningful contribution of CSO to local and national development.
The ability to identify, access and sustain available local, national, regional and international resources (Human, material and financial) by the Cameroon civil society organizations remain a major challenge fueled by a number of internal and external factors:



You can do a lot with the little you have to offer

Financial support

Grants or soft loans

Material support

Donation of used or new office furniture, computers, books, conference tables/chairs, solar panels etc

Fiscal Sponsorship

Resource mobilization and cash holding

Technical support

Content development & delivery

Content delivery

Remote or physical presentations during trainings


Establishment of long term technical cooperation