NGO

Hoe start je een stichting in Afrika – de eerste maand

Het is iets meer dan een maand geleden dat we Nederland verlieten op Koningsdag, de geboortedag van onze geliefde koning Pils, om een stichting te starten in Afrika. En wat voor een maand… zoals te verwachten in Afrika was het een maand vol frustraties, enorme hoeveelheden geduld en altijd maar wachten. Een korte update, we zijn nog niet aangekomen op de uiteindelijke plek van bestemming en in deze blog zal ik uitleggen waarom niet!

De vlucht

Het begon al met onze vlucht op Schiphol. Egypt Air stond ons niet toe om in te checken... Waarom niet vraag je je af? Blijkbaar, omdat we een enkele reis hadden geboekt en geen bewijs à lees vliegticket, hadden om Zuid-Afrika weer te verlaten. Het ‘grappige’ is dat Zuid-Afrika niet eens in de buurt van onze eindbestemming ligt. We wilden vrienden in de buurt van het Kruger NP (in ZA) bezoeken, dan een bus nemen naar Botswana, onze auto halen en door naar Zambia gaan om ons te vestigen in Kafue NP. We hadden het buskaartje van Johannesburg naar Gaborone (hoofdstad van Botswana) al geboekt. Dit was precies wat we de vorige keer ook hadden gedaan en toen was het prima! Maar voor Egypt Air was het dat niet.

Ondertussen mega gefrustreerd en een beetje gestrest, want we hadden straks niet eens meer de tijd om fatsoenlijk afscheid te nemen, hebben we ter plekke twee vliegtickets geboekt van 250 euro van Jo'burg naar Gabarone. Uiteindelijk moesten we die vlucht ook weer annuleren, omdat we nog afspraken hadden in Jo'burg en we heel veel extra moesten betalen voor de bagage (aangezien het een kleine vlucht was). En annuleren bij vliegtickets.nl… of zelfs maar omboeken, nee hoor dat kunnen ze niet. En al helemaal niet als vanuit het buitenland contact met ze wilt opnemen. Kortom, complete geldverspilling, megafrustraties met omboeken/annuleren en ook nog eens totaal onnodig.

Egypt Air was er namelijk van overtuigd dat de douane ons niet Zuid-Afrika in zou laten omdat we een enkele reis hadden. Zelfs na we dat vliegticket hadden geboekt! Deze overtuiging heeft ons de hele vlucht van 16 uur dwars gezeten, bang dat we misschien weer terug naar Nederland zouden moeten.

De douane

Dit is wat er uiteindelijk gebeurde bij de douane: Ik loop met klamme handjes naar die man toe, supernerveus, m’n vliegticket al openstaand op m’n telefoon. Lief lachend zeg ik hem gedag en vraag hoe het is. De man groet me terug en zegt, “Hoort die jongen bij je?” wijzend naar Lars achter me in de rij. Ik zeg ja, en Lars moet ook meteen komen. Vervolgens kijkt hij naar m’n paspoort en zegt “Hey, jullie zijn al eens in Zuid-Afrika geweest?”. Dus wij, "Ja we vinden het een prachtig land". Geen reactie... Hij pakt z’n stempel, geeft ons drie maanden en wenst ons een prettige reis. THAT’S IT! Niks ticket hoeven laten zien, uitweiden over onze reisplannen of whatever…

Dus, bedankt Egypt Air voor het verspillen van ons geld, een zeer stressvolle vlucht en ook nog eens geen afleiding. Hoe bedoel je geen afleiding? Nou, we hadden op een internationale vlucht van UREN niet eens een schermpje bij onze stoel om een film te kijken... Je kan wel begrijpen dat wij nooit meer met Egypt Air gaan vliegen.

Een toch wel vet momentje in het vliegtuig. Dit was het uitzicht toen we over Caïro vlogen!

Zuid-Afrika

Hoe dan ook, uiteindelijk was het natuurlijk een enorme opluchting toen we Zuid-Afrika binnen liepen. Vervolgens gingen we onze huurauto ophalen. Hiervoor heb je een creditcard nodig, maar helaas helaas had ik het saldo niet gecontroleerd voor we thuis vertrokken. Blijkbaar had ik die maand juist m’n creditcard veel gebruikt in Nederland. Mijn credit moest meer dan 1000 euro zijn om onze huurauto mee te kunnen krijgen, dat houden ze dan als borg. Een Simcard met internet hadden we al gekocht, dus ik dacht dat geld wel even over te kunnen maken vanaf mijn telefoon. Ennnn… toen ontdekte ik dat ik mijn e.dentifier vergeten was... Ik kan je vertellen dat ik toen wel bijna doorheen zat. Gelukkig voor ons had ik wel thuis nog even de creditcard-app geïnstalleerd (wat niet kan zonder e.dentifier) en konden we Ideal gebruiken om vanaf Lars zijn account geld over te maken.

Wild Olive Tree Camp

Dus, ook al waren we een paar uur later dan gepland (want we hadden ook nog een paar uur vertraging met de vlucht, totaal vergeten te melden), waren we eindelijk op weg naar het Wild Olive Tree Camp (WOTC) naast Orpen Gate bij het Kruger National Park. We kwamen hier net na het donker aan (dat is rond 18.00 uur), hadden een praatje met onze vriend Clifford en gingen regelrecht naar de tent. En met de prachtige geluiden van de natuur om ons heen (hyena’s, olifanten, leeuwen) konden we eindelijk relaxen.

We hebben een paar heerlijke dagen gehad bij WOTC. Lars had een paar jaar geleden hier zijn scriptieonderzoek gedaan en we stonden te popelen om ze weer te zien en te horen hoe het met ze is. Conclusie, het gaat erg goed! We raden zeker aan om daar te verblijven als je in de buurt bent. Het is een prachtig tentenkamp geworden dat volledig door de lokale bevolking wordt beheerd. Het heeft alle faciliteiten die je nodig hebt en een briljante gamedriver, Patrick. En Hazel, de kokkin, maakt heerlijke maaltijden!

Blij om onze camera weer te gebruiken bij de WOTC. Plus we hebben 4/5 van de Big Five op onze gamedrive gespot!

We hadden bij WOTC echter geen internet om wat werk te kunnen doen en contact te leggen met mensen, dus besloten we naar Graskop te gaan, een klein toeristisch stadje naast Blyde River Canyon. Hier verbleven we een paar dagen in ons eigen kleine appartement, terwijl we met verschillende mensen uit Zambia belden om de beste manier te vinden om een ​​werkvergunning te krijgen. Onze uiteindelijke conclusie... we moeten zo snel mogelijk naar Zambia op een 30 dagen durende zakelijke vergunning en zoeken het verder daar wel uit! Te veel verschillende verhalen.

We hadden al een busticket naar Botswana geboekt en gelukkig waren we een dag eerder ‘klaar’ met alles wat we wilden doen, dus namen we wat tijd om de Blyde River Canyon te bezoeken. En daar werd ik zo blij van! We hadden deze derde diepste Canyon van de wereld al eens gezien, maar het is zo’n prachtig landschap dat ik niet denk dat dit ooit gaat vervelen.

We konden niet beslissen welke foto's we het leukst vonden! Het was allemaal prachtig en natuurlijk briljant modellenwerk.

De auto

Vervolgens kwamen we aan in Botswana voor het volgende item op de lijst. Weet je nog de vorige keer dat we in zuidelijk Afrika waren? Toen hadden we samen met een vriend een Toyota Landcruiser Prado gekocht. En ze heeft het mega goed gedaan gedurende die drie maanden dat we er in reden, behalve dan die ene keer dat de schokdempers braken op een vreselijke weg in Etosha NP (lees hier meer over). Helaas, gedurende de tijd dat onze vriend de auto had, braken verschillende dingen en moesten we veel meer geld investeren dan we van te voren van plan waren. En vervolgens moet je een prijs bedenken om elkaar uit te kopen. We hadden het besproken en onze vriend was het ermee eens dat hij ons zou uitkopen. Wij zouden vervolgens een andere auto kopen in Gaborone, Botswana, of al in Zambia, dat wisten we nog niet helemaal zeker...

Toen we echter een prijs voorstelden waarvan wij dachten dat die eerlijk was, begon onze vriend na te denken en vroeg ons om toch maar hem uit te kopen. Dit gebeurde allemaal terwijl we al onderweg naar Botswana waren en dus niet echt de tijd hadden om er rustig over na te denken. Helaas waren Lars en ik het niet eens over de eerlijkheid van dit hele proces, dus dat was een heen en weer van intense discussies, advies van meerdere automonteurs en van familie... Helaas, uiteindelijk, ging vriendschap voor geld en hebben we veel meer van ons budget aan de auto besteed dan we van plan waren. Wat we hebben geleerd; het is zeker slim om samen een auto te kopen, maar denk van tevoren goed na over de afspraken, zet ze vervolgens zwart op wit en onderteken ze. Vertrouw niet alleen op je vriendschap, want uiteindelijk zul je verschillende opvattingen hebben over wat eerlijk is en wat niet.

Herenigd met ons bakkie! (Let op, dit zijn foto's van de vorige trip)

Meer autoproblemen!

Maar goed, hou je vast, want dit was niet het einde van onze autoproblemen. We hebben een dag gereden om hem op te halen, te laten registreren op onze naam en een dag terug gereden om vervolgens terug in Gaborone onze vertrouwde automonteur alles te laten controleren. En ja hoor, de monteurs vonden nog een aantal andere onderdelen die kapot waren. Ze waren niet essentieel als je gewoon op asfaltwegen rijdt, maar ze zijn wel essentieel als je de auto heel wilt houden voor langere tijd in de bush. En dus moesten we dit ook weer laten repareren. Maar helaas moesten deze onderdelen uit Johannesburg komen en dat duurt drie dagen... plus de weekenden die niet mee tellen. Toen de onderdelen eindelijk in Gaborone waren, bleek dat het meisje van de Toyota-dealer per ongeluk hetzelfde onderdeel twee keer besteld, in plaats van twee verschillende. Kortom... uiteindelijk duurde het twee weken voor we Gaborone konden verlaten.

Gelukkig voor ons verbleven we in een geweldige Airbnb met een lokaal gezin en twee lieve honden (vind hem hier op Airbnb). Onze gastheer, Tumo, die net zo oud is als wij en ook een reiziger, heeft ons een aantal keer mee op stap genomen. En op Moederdag vertelde zijn moeder ons dat ze onze plaatsvervangende moeder wel wilde zijn, superlief! We zullen ze missen en zullen er zeker weer verblijven als we terug zijn in Gabs.

Tumo nam ons mee naar het 'safari' Park in Gaborone, Moederdag en een avondje uit!

Botswana

Toen onze auto klaar was konden we eindelijk naar Zambia! Gaborone zit echter niet om de hoek van Zambia; het is zo'n 1000 km rijden. In Afrika rijden wij liever niet in het donker, dus hebben we onze tijd genomen en de afstand over twee dagen verdeeld. We bleven overnachten op een prachtige plek genaamd Nata, waar ze een vogelreservaat hebben. Tijdens zonsondergang waren we in dit vogelreservaat en ik kan je vertellen, we hebben nog nooit in ons leven zoveel flamingo's, of zelfs vogels, gezien op één plek. Het was prachtig! Dit zijn de momenten die ons eraan herinneren waar we het voor doen; om onze prachtige planeet in leven te houden, zodat komende generaties ook kunnen genieten van deze natuur.

De enorme hoeveelheid flamingo's die we hier zagen was onmogelijk om op 1 foto te zetten, maar dit is om je een idee te geven!

Kasane

Tegen de tijd dat we in Kasane aankwamen, de grensstad naar Zambia, was het zaterdag. Het heeft absoluut geen zin om voor maandag naar Zambia te gaan, dus hebben we het ervan gepakt in Kasane. Dit kleine stadje ligt naast Chobe National Park, een van de mooiste natuurparken in zuidelijk Afrika. Het is de thuisbasis van ongeveer een kwart van de wereldolifantenpopulatie. Het is ook het gebied waar de hele wereld nu een mening en kennelijk ook expertise over heeft, omdat dit het belangrijkste gebied is waar de regering van Botswana het jachtverbod zal opheffen. Wil je onze mening kennen op basis van onze ervaring en achtergrond in conservatie? Lees er hier over.

Ondertussen zijn we op de weg naar Kasane ook een hele kudde olifanten tegen gekomen. En in Kasane hebben we een zeer ontspannende boottocht op de Chobe-rivier gedaan, genietend van de olifanten en alle andere dieren aan de rivieroevers 😊.

Het lijkt erop alsof we ons enorm vermaken in onze tijd hier, en dat is natuurlijk gedeeltelijk wel zo, maar met een duidelijke balans tussen werk en plezier. Persoonlijk heb ik hier best wel veel moeite mee, we zijn in allemaal gebieden waar prachtige natuur is, of op accommodaties waar iedereen op vakantie en aan het chillen is. Dan wil ik natuurlijk het liefst doen wat de rest doet; ontspannen bij een zwembad of elke ochtend en middag op safari! Maar dat zit er niet in, we hebben in onze werk tijd vooral onze focus gehad op hoe Zambia binnen te komen!

Kudde olifanten langs de weg naar Kasane en een boottocht van twee uur over de Chobe-rivier, zeer ontspannend en mooi.

Zambia

Na al dat onderzoek konden we eindelijk de grens over en Zambia in. We lieten onze auto in eerste instantie achter bij de lodge in Botswana, omdat we ter plekke wilden uitzoeken wat we ermee moesten doen voordat we alle invoerrechten betaalden. In Zambia verbleven we in Livingstone in Jollyboy's Backpackers. Deze locatie was direct naast PACRA, het gebouw waar we onze NGO moesten registreren, en in de buurt van immigratie. We zullen hier niet helemaal uitweiden over het registratie proces van een NGO en onze werkvergunningen. Wil je hier meer over weten, lees dan een meer gedetailleerd blog hier.

In het kort, het kostte ons ongeveer een dag om de NGO (stichting) te registreren (PACRA is geweldig!); twee dagen om onze TPIN te krijgen, de belastingregistratie (die had binnen een uur moeten kunnen, maar This Is Africa - TIA) en twee weken plus verschillende bezoeken aan immigratie voordat we eindelijk konden INLOGGEN op de website van immigratie voor onze werkvergunning. Applicaties MOETEN dus online gedaan worden, maar je moet wel (blijkbaar meerdere keren) naar het kantoor om je online account ontgrendeld te krijgen. De logica erachter? Niemand die het weet... Nog een TIA voorbeeld. Hoe dan ook, we hebben eindelijk de aanvraag gedaan en nu zullen we moeten wachten of we de vergunning ontvangen. Als dat zo is, zijn we klaar voor de komende twee jaar, zo niet? Nou dat zien we dan wel weer.

Victoria falls

Tijdens deze twee weken waren er ook weekenden waarin je niets kunt doen, want de ambtenaren zijn dan vrij. Dus dan nemen wij ook vrij en zijn we dus naar Victoria Falls gegaan. De vorige keer waren we hier in oktober aan het einde van het droge seizoen. De waterval aan de Zambiaanse kant was toen helemaal opgedroogd. Maar nu was het het einde van het natte seizoen en jemig, wat een verschil. HET WAS ECHT GEWELDIG. We waren helemaal doorweekt en er zijn waterdruppels te zien op elke foto die we hebben gemaakt, maar het was zo de moeite waard!

Het is fascinerend om te zien dat deze rustig stromende rivier zo enorm krachtig wordt wanneer het 108 meter naar beneden stort. Je voelt je dan ineens heel klein. Behalve boven aan de waterval, zijn we ook naar de zogenaamde kookpot (Boiling pot) gegaan. Dit is op de bodem van de 1,7 km lange waterval. Hier wordt eerst al het water door een kloof van 110 meter breed geduwd, het smalste punt van de gehele Zambezi rivier. Na deze nauwe kloof komt het water in de tweede kloof waar het door de enorme kracht een heel diep gat heeft uitgesleten dat constant lijkt te 'koken', alas de naam.

We hebben de hele dag doorgebracht bij Victoria Falls, zo mooi was het. Zoals je dus wel kunt zien door (het aantal) foto's 😊!

Lusaka

En nu zijn we in Lusaka! We verblijven bij een geweldig Nederlands stel dat al heel lang in Zambia wonen en nieuwe Nederlandse expats graag een handje helpen. We hebben al een aantal interessante mensen ontmoet en zijn naar het Department of National Parks and Wildlife gegaan om toestemming te krijgen. Deze toestemming is vooral om te praten met alle belanghebbenden in en rond Kafue NP, dit is de officiële route, want we willen mensen niet op de verkeerde voet beginnen of mensen beledigen door het op de verkeerde manier te benaderen. Hopelijk slagen we erin om deze toestemming snel te krijgen en dan kunnen we richting het park gaan en beginnen met ons onderzoek naar het gebied en de beste manier om onze plannen uit te voeren 😊.

Dat is het voor nu! We houden jullie op de hoogte via onze nieuwsbrief. Heb je je daar nog niet voor aangemeld? Doe het nu, klik hier! Voor regelmatige updates, volg ons op Instagram account en/of de Facebook pagina.

Posted by bylifeconnected in Nederlands, 4 comments

How to start an NGO in Africa – the first month

Voor de Nederlandse versie - Klik Hier

It’s been a little over a month since we left the Netherlands on Kingsday, the birthday of our precious King Pils, to start an NGO in Africa. And what a month it has been, true to the African style it has been a month with a lot of frustration, huge amounts of patience and waiting. Quick update, we haven’t arrived at our actual destination yet and in this blog, I’ll explain why not!

The flight

It started with our flight at Schiphol airport with Egypt Air. They didn’t allow us to check-in… The reason? Because we had a one-way ticket and did not have a flying ticket for leaving South Africa. Funny thing is that South Africa was not even our final destination. We wanted to visit friends near Kruger NP, then take a bus to Botswana, get our car and get to Zambia to settle down in Kafue NP. We had booked the bus ticket from Johannesburg to Gaborone (capitol of Botswana), which is what we did last time and then it was fine! But for Egypt Air it wasn’t. So, with frustrations to the max, we had to book two flying tickets of 250 euro’s out of Jo’burg right then and there. In the end, we couldn’t take that flight, because we still had appointments in Jo’burg, PLUS we would have had to pay a lot extra for our luggage (as it was a small flight). A WASTE OF MONEY AND TOTALLY UNNECESSARY.

Border Security

Egypt Air was convinced that they wouldn’t allow us in South Africa on a one-way ticket. This made us totally upset the whole 16-hour flight, afraid we might have to come back again, my heart was in my throat the entire flight. Let me tell you what happened when we entered the country. The guy from border security got our passports, said “hey you’ve been to South Africa before”, we said “yes we love the country”, he gave us a stamp for three months and wished us a pleasant journey. THAT’S IT! So, thank you Egypt Air for wasting our money, a very stressful flight and on top of that, no distractions. Why, you ask? Because, guess what, there wasn’t even a private screen to watch movies… WE WILL NEVER FLY WITH EGYPT AIR AGAIN.

One pretty cool moment in the airplane. This was the view when we flew over Caïro!

South Africa

Anyway, a huge relief when we entered South Africa, so we went to pick up our rental car. You need a credit card for this, which I have, but I hadn’t checked the balance. Apparently, I used it a lot the last month in the Netherlands. I had to put money on it again to be able to get the bond for our rental car. That’s when I found out I had forgotten my Identifier to transfer money… I can tell you, by then, I was about done with everything. Luckily for us, I did download the Credit card app and we could use Ideal to transfer money from Lars his account. So, a few hours later than planned, we were finally on our way to the community operated Wild Olive Tree Camp (WOTC) next to Orpen Gate at Kruger National Park. Oh right, I forgot to mention before, a few hours later, because our flight with Egypt air, was also delayed a few hours.... Anyway, we arrived at WOTC just after dark (which is around 6 pm), had a small chat with our friend Clifford and went straight to the tents. Finally, rest! And the wonderful sounds of the bush around us; we had missed the night call of the hyena!

The Wild Olive Tree Camp

We had a few wonderful days at WOTC. Lars had done his thesis research there a few years back and we were eager to see them again and wondering how they were doing. Turns out, great! We definitely recommend staying there. It has become a beautiful tented camp fully operated by the locals, all the facilities you need and a brilliant game driver, Patrick. And Hazel, the cook, made us a wonderful meal!

Happy to use our camera again at the WOTC. Plus saw 4/5 from the Big Five at our game drive!

However, we didn’t have any internet here to get in touch with people, so we decided to go to Graskop, a small tourist town next to Blyde River Canyon. Here we stayed in our own little apartment for a few days from where we called with several people from Zambia to find the best way to get a work permit. Our conclusion in the end… Get to Zambia as quickly as we can on a business permit and figure it out from there! We had booked a bus ticket to Botswana already and luckily, we ‘finished’ one day early with everything we wanted to do, so we took some time to visit the Blyde River Canyon. And I’m so happy we did. We had seen it once, but it is just such an amazing landscape!

Couldn't decide which pictures we liked the best! It was all beautiful and brilliant modelling work. 

The car

Then we arrived in Botswana for the next thing of the list. Remember the last time we were in southern Africa? We had bought a Toyota Landcruiser Prado together with our friend. It had done us well during those three months driving, except for the one time when the shocks broke on a horrible road in Etosha NP (read about it here). Unfortunately, during the time our friend used it, several things broke and we had to invest a lot more money than we intended. And then you have to figure out a price to buy each other out. We had discussed it and our friend agreed that he would buy us out and we would fix another car in Gaborone, Botswana. Or even in Zambia, we weren’t sure yet.

However, when we suggested a price which we thought was fair, our friend started thinking and asked us to buy the car from him. Unfortunately, Lars and I didn’t agree on the fairness of this whole process, so that was a rollercoaster of intense discussions between us, advice from car mechanics and some more from family... Alas, in the end, friendship and practicality went over money and we regrettably spent much more of our budget on the car then we intended to. What we learned; it is smart to buy a car together, but properly think about the rules in advance, put them in black and white and sign them. Don’t just trust on your friendship, because in the end you’ll have different views on what’s fair and what’s not.

Reunited with Sisi! (These are old pictures from our last trip)

More car trouble!

Hold your horses, this wasn’t the end of our car issues. We drove a day to pick it up, get it registered on our name and drove a day back again to have everything checked. The mechanics found some other parts that were broke. They weren’t essential if you’re just driving on tar roads, but they are essential in the bush. And thus, we had to have them fixed. These parts had to come from Johannesburg and that takes three days… And of course, there’s the weekends. When they arrived, the girl from the Toyota dealer had accidently ordered the same part twice, instead of two different ones. In short… it took another two weeks in Gaborone before we could leave with our car.

Luckily for us, we were staying in a great Airbnb with a local family and two sweet dogs (find him here on Airbnb). Our host, Tumo, who is the same age as us and a traveler as well, took us out on several occasions. And on Mothersday, his mum told us she would be our substitute mom while we were there! We’ll miss them and definitely stay there again when we’re back in Gabs.

Tumo took us to Gabs game park, out for Mothersday and clubbing!

Botswana

Now, when our car was fixed and ready, we could finally head to Zambia! However, Gaborone is not around the corner from Zambia, it’s about a 1000 km’s driving. In Africa, you don’t drive after dark, so we took our time and spread the distance over two days. We stayed overnight at a beautiful place called Nata, where they have a bird sanctuary. We went to the sanctuary during sunset and have never ever in our lives seen so many flamingo’s, or birds for that matter, in one place. It was amazing! These are the things that remind us what we’re doing it for; to keep our beautiful planet alive so generations to come can enjoy these views.

The amount of flamingo's was incredible, we couldn't capture it in one picture. So here's multiple to give you an idea!

Kasane

By the time we got to Kasane, which is the border town to Zambia, it was Saturday. There is absolutely no use getting into Zambia before Monday, so we made the most of our time in Kasane. This little town is placed next to Chobe, one of the most beautiful wildlife parks in southern Africa. It is home to about a quarter of the world elephant population. It is also the area where the whole world now has an opinion and apparently expertise about as well, because this is the main area where the Botswana government is going to lift the hunting ban. Want to know our opinion based on our experience and background in conservation? Read about it here.

In the meantime, we saw a whole herd of elephants along the road towards Kasane. And in Kasane we went on a very relaxing boat trip on the Zambezi river to enjoy the elephants and all the other wildlife around the riverbanks 😊.

So far it seems we pretty much made most of our time here. And we did, but with a good balance of working and fun. I can tell you; it is pretty hard when you’re in an area and all you want to do is go into the wildlife parks or relax at a swimming pool just like everyone else at the campsite! The ‘work’ we were doing was mainly figuring out how to set up the NGO and get work permits in Zambia. Prepare before we arrive in Zambia.

Herd of elephants along the road to Kasane and a two-hour boat trip on the Chobe river, very relaxing and beautiful.

Zambia

And then we finally crossed into Zambia. We left our vehicle behind at the lodge for now, as we wanted to figure out what to do with it before paying all the import fees. In Zambia we stayed in Livingstone at Jollyboy’s Backpackers. They were conveniently located next to PACRA, the place where we had to register our NGO. For full details on how you register an NGO in Zambia and apply for a work permit, read our other blog specifically focused on this. Find it here.

In short, it took us about one day to get the NGO registered (PACRA is amazing!), two days to get our TPIN, the tax registration (which should have been so much faster, but TIA) and two weeks plus several visits to immigration before we could finally APPLY for our work permit. Applications have to be done online, but you do have to go to the office (several times apparently) to get your online account unlocked so you can actually use it. The logic behind it? Nobody knows… Anyway, we have finally applied and now we’ll have to wait if we receive the permit. If so, we’re set for the next two years, if not… Well, we’ll figure that out if it comes.

Victoria Falls

During these two weeks there were also weekends in which you can’t do anything if you need officials. So spent your time well! We went to Victoria Falls. We had only been in October, which is the end of the dry season and the waterfall had dried up on the Zambian side. But now it was the end of the wet season and my, what a difference. IT WAS AMAZING. We got totally soaked and there are water droplets showing on every picture we made, but so worth it!

It is mesmerizing and humbling to see this quietly flowing river being turned in such a magnificent force when it makes a drop of 108 meters. We also went down to the so-called boiling pot. This is the bottom of the 1.7 km long falls where all the water is pushed through a gorge of 110 meters wide. After this narrow gorge, the water enters the second gorge where it has carved out a very deep pool that seems to ‘boil’, hence the name.

We spent the whole day at Victoria falls, that's how beautiful it was. As you can see from (the amount) of pictures 😊!

Lusaka

And now we are in Lusaka! We’re staying with an amazing Dutch couple who have been in Zambia for a long time and help newly arriving Dutch expats. We’ve met several interesting people already and went to the Department of National Parks and Wildlife to get permission to talk to all the stakeholders in and around Kafue NP (official route, we don’t want to offend people by approaching it the wrong way). Hopefully we manage to get this permission quickly and then we can head towards the park and start our research of the area and the best way to implement our plans 😊.

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How to set up an NGO in Africa – The details

Let me start with telling you a few things. First of all, this blog is more like a guide than ‘a fun story to read’. If you want to read the story of our first month, you can find it in our other blog here. Secondly, this blog explains how we handled everything with the NGO, work permit and car. We think we did okay. However, TIA (this is Africa), so there is probably multiple other ways that could be better or worse! Our motto for this part of the story:

“We’ll make the ‘mistakes’, so you don’t have to”

So, it’s been a little over a month since we left the Netherlands on Kingsday, the birthday of our precious King Pils. And what a month it has been, true to the African style it has been a month with a lot of frustration and huge amounts of patience and waiting. In this blog I will tell you the steps we had to undertake to get where we are now in the process of setting up an NGO in Zambia.

A few tips when you’re booking a one-way ticket

  1. First of all, try not to have too much of a social life 😉, it makes it that much harder to leave everything behind! But, if you do have a social life like any normal person, just a simple tip to make that part easier: time! Give yourself enough time. We had 27 days ‘off’ after we stopped working and before leaving. It may seem like a lot, but it wasn’t enough! During these 27 days, we were busy preparing everything for the NGO; working out details, contacting people relevant for the NGO and rephrasing the plan time and again. At the same time, we were also trying to see all our friends and family, wanting to have a proper goodbye before we immigrate to Africa! And then 27 days are gone in a blink of an eye.
  2. Second tip to save you a lot of trouble. When you make sure you have enough time back home, then you’ll also have time to get your visa sorted in advance! It sounds only logical, but for us it didn’t seem possible at the time. However, even when you think it might not be possible, give it a try anyway and you’ll be surprised how far you can get on the online world of the internet. Ask around on the expat Facebook group of the country you’re going to, mail the embassy, etc.
  3. When flying to South Africa, and probably other countries as well, they are going to ask questions if you have a one-way ticket. So, have an explanation for your one-way-ticket! For once in our live we were at the airport early, and luckily, because Egypt Air did not want to check us in. The reason? Because we did not have a flying ticket for leaving South Africa. Our solution, we bought a flying ticket from Johannesburg to Gaborone (Botswana) right then and there. It was a pain in the ass, because we already had a bus ticket for the same trip and thus a waste of a lot of money. So, be warned!

Our circumstances.

We’ve travelled through Africa for three months before we decided to start our own NGO. We had in mind that we could join an existing project, but we didn’t come across an NGO where they had a spot that fitted us. We did come across a beautiful area in Zambia with so much potential for nature conservation and community development, that we knew that this was the place to be for us (see our blog about Kafue NP). We went back home to figure out a plan, get in touch with different stakeholders active in the area, work and save money. And then we booked our one-way ticket!

But that’s also were we get to the tricky part. If you want to do anything in a country like Zambia, you’ll need something else than a visitor/tourist permit. At first, we wanted to get a temporary work permit, but then we heard a story from a Dutch lady who applied for this permit (6 months) and after it expired, she wasn’t allowed to re-enter Zambia for another year! We’re not sure if she was the exception or the rule, but we figured it is not the way to go for us then.

We decided to ask the experience experts on the several Expat Zambia Facebook groups. We’ve got many replies, some more useful than others, but the main thing we found is that there were a lot of different stories. Apparently, there is no one way to do it, so that’s why we’ve decided to write down our own story. And let me warn you, it was a rollercoaster of feelings where the one day we thought we had to leave the country for two months and the next we knew we could stay!

The start.

We flew over Johannesburg, South Africa on a one-way ticket (which is a whole other story with several bumps on the road, read about it here). From there we visited some friends at the community operated Wild Olive Tree Camp next to Orpen Gate of Kruger National Park. Lars had done his thesis research there a few years back and we were eager to see them again and wondering how they were doing. Turns out, great! We definitely recommend staying there. It has become a beautiful tented camp fully operated by the locals, all the facilities you need and a brilliant game driver. After that, we went to Graskop near Blyde River Canyon where we stayed in our own little apartment for a few days with internet to figure some stuff out. From here, we called with several people from Zambia to find the best way to get a work permit. Our conclusion in the end… Get to Zambia as quickly as we can on a business permit and figure it out from there!

Our car.

Next step was to get our car. Last time we were in southern Africa, we bought a Toyota Landcruiser Prado together with our friend. It had done us well during those three months driving, except for the one time when the shocks broke on a horrible road in Etosha NP (read about it here). Unfortunately, during the time our friend used it, several things broke and we had to invest a lot more money than we intended. And then you have the next step, you have to figure out a price to buy each other out. We had discussed it and our friend agreed that he would buy us out and we would fix another car in Gaborone, Botswana. Or even in Zambia, we weren’t sure yet. However, when we suggested a price which we thought was fair, our friend started thinking and asked us to buy the car from him. Unfortunately, Lars and I didn’t agree on the fairness of this whole process, so that was a rollercoaster of intense discussions between us, advice from car mechanics and some more from family… Alas, in the end, friendship and practicality went over money and we regrettably spent much more of our budget on the car then we intended to. What we learned, it is smart to buy a car together, but properly think about the rules in advance, put them in black and white and sign them. Don’t just trust on your friendship, because in the end you’ll have different views on what’s fair and what’s not.

Reunited with Sisi! (These are old pictures from our last trip)

More car trouble!

Hold your horses, this wasn’t the end of our car issues. We drove a day to pick it up, get it registered on our name and drove a day back again to have everything checked. The mechanics found some other parts that were broke, not essential if you’re just driving on tar roads, but they are essential in the bush. And thus, we had to have them fixed. These parts had to come from Johannesburg and that takes three days… And of course, weekend included. Then when they arrived, the girl from the Toyota dealer ordered the same part twice, instead of two different ones. In short… it took another two weeks in Gaborone before we could leave. Luckily for us, we were staying in a great Airbnb with a local family and two sweet dogs (link Airbnb). Our host, Tumo, who is the same age as us and a traveler as well, took us out on several occasions. And on Mothers day, his mum vouched to be our substitute mom while we were there! We’ll miss them and definitely stay there again when we’re back in Gabs.

Setting up the NGO.

During these two weeks waiting in Gabs, we started to do some more research online about our best options. We found out the best thing to do when we enter Zambia, is to start the process of setting up our own NGO. We didn’t find any party around Kafue NP willing to employ us, so basically, we’ll have to employ ourselves then to get a work permit! We did this by getting into Zambia ourselves on a business permit (you’ll need an invitation letter from a Zambian resident to show you’ll be there on business) and go through the whole process, visit all the offices etc. But actually, a lot can be done online from a distance if you just know how, and we know how now! So let me walk you through it.

To set up an NGO as a foreigner there are some rules. First and foremost, your Board needs to be at least 50% Zambian residents. Tips for this; obviously find Zambian people you trust and who have enough money themselves. Make sure they know they are not going to get any money out of it.

There are currently still two ways to set up an NGO in Zambia. The official and best way is registering your NGO with the Ministry of Development. The law of the Non-Governmental Organisations Act No. 16 of 2009 (the “Act”) requires all NGOs as well as international NGOs operating in Zambia to be registered in accordance with the Act. Here’s the steps you’ll need to follow:

1) Certificate of Registration

  • Step 1
    You need to submit three copies of Rules and Regulations of your NGO and a recommendation letter from the collaboration government Ministry. Below are the guidelines of a constitution and the recommendation letter. You may not necessarily follow the order below, however the rules and regulation of your NGO must have contents as outlined below.

<Guidelines of a constitution>

  • Name of Organisation
  • Postal/ Physical Address
  • Objectives/ Aims
  • Office Bearers
  • Duties of Office Bearers
  • Term of Office Bearers
  • Members
  • Termination of Membership
  • Discipline
  • Finance
  • Meetings
  • Elections
  • Amendments to Constitution
  • Dissolution
  • Disposal of Assets upon Dissolution
  • Extract from “Register a Society or Church” by Office of the registrar of societies

<Recommendation letter>

Recommendation letter from line Ministry which the NGO will work under. This means, you’ll have to visit the local office of the Ministry in the town your NGO is based to get this recommendation letter.

  • Step 2

When you submit the above, details about the procedure and required documents will be provided. Below are the required documents;

  • Form 1- Application for Registration/Exemption, the form must be submitted in triplicate (3)
  • Copies of NRC, Passport or Driving Licences in respect of Zambian Members and Immigration permits in respect of Non-Zambian members must be submitted. Additionally, phone numbers of the office bearers should be included.
  • All the members appearing on the form must be scrutinized and cleared by the Police before the application for Registration is submitted (fingerprint certificates should be attached to the application).
  • Three certified copies of the NGO’s Constitution must be attached.
  • Clearance letter from the Registrar of Societies, PACRA and Lands and Deeds.
  • Fee: ZMW1,008.00 for International NGOs

Registration forms can be obtained online or from the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health, Headquarters, at the department of Registrar for NGOs and the District Community Health Office in all the Provincial capitals, where a manual receipt will be issued upon production of a computerized bank receipt and deposit slip showing payment of a non-refundable application fee.

  • Step 3

When your documents are approved, you will be given the certification which has a registration number. The certification is issued within three months of submission of all required documents. You are advised to make a schedule which shows time deadlines.

As you can see, applying for an NGO through the Ministry of Development can take up to three months. We don’t have that time, as we needed the NGO to apply for the volunteer work permit. The other way is registering yourself as a ‘Company limited by guarantee, non for profit’ at PACRA. The procedure for that is as follows:

Step 1. Name Clearance.
If you do this online, this might take up to three days. If you go to the PACRA office, they will give you the Name Clearance immediately. You don’t need much for this:

  • Three possible names for your NGO
  • Your ‘principal business’ in accordance with the ISIC Classification. For us, and for most NGO’s this is Other social work activities without accommodation.
  • Certified copy of the NRC(s) of your Zambian Directors
  • Fee which is 90 Kwacha

Step 2. Set up the NGO

We went to the PACRA and had our Name clearance the first afternoon. We also already took the documents described below to have them checked. The lady from PACRA told us the few things we did wrong or needed extra. As we had everything ready, we could set up the company limited by guarantee the next day!

  • Articles of Association (you can find a format online/here)
  • Form 3 from the PACRA website
    • On this form you need the signatures of all Directors. If it is a photocopy (which it was for us, because our directors were in Mumbwa and Lusaka, while we were in Livingstone), you’ll need to get this certified at the court.
    • To certify a signature, you need the already certified copies of the NRC of these people. These can be copies. It costs 10 Kwacha to have a document certified.
    • Have a look at this form for all the information you’ll need. E.g. personal details of all the directors, guaranteed amount, address for your NGO office etc.
  • Registration fee which was 950 Kwacha

After we’ve received our work permits and settled down a bit, we will also register as an NGO through the Ministry of Development, as every NGO will need to do this in the end.

Work permit.

After the registration of the NGO, we wanted to apply for the volunteer work permit. This has to be done online nowadays. However, we did visit the immigration office for advice, as we heart too many different stories. At PACRA we have put ourselves as Guarantors of the company, so we’re basically the owners. Some people said we then couldn’t apply for a work permit, as we cannot employ ourselves. However, this is going to be an NGO, so we will volunteer. This is what we asked at immigration, and they told us it should be fine. If you want to be sure, start off with asking some friends or family to be the guarantors of the company. This is only an amount of 7500 Kwacha per person (which is about 500 euro) and you can agree between yourselves on paper that you will pay this amount when things go wrong.

Online registration of your NGO

Back to immigration. We explained all of our circumstances to the immigration officer and he told us that we could apply online through the NGO. However, to have an online account on the NGO’s name, we needed some other things first.

  • A ZRA clearance or TPIN. You can also apply for this online, but we went to the office in the hope that everything would go faster (it didn’t).
  • Certificate of NGO
  • Letter addressed to Director of Immigration with the question to unlock the online immigration registration account of your NGO (click here for our letter).

Take these papers to the immigration office to get your account unlocked. For us the unlocking of the account took about a week and a daily visit to the office, but we were very unlucky. The IT guy in Livingstone, apparently the only one in the whole office who knows how to work with the online registration, was on leave and they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) get a hold of the IT guy in Lusaka. In the end we went to Lusaka ourselves and fixed it there.

Online registration for your Work Permit.

After the page for the NGO is unlocked, you can apply for the work permit. You could apply for the work permit individually, but this will cost you about three times more. That’s why we went through the NGO. For the application you’ll need A LOT of documents:

  • Covering letter from employer addressed to the Director General of Immigration
  • Application for an Employment Permit (Form 23 for volunteer employment permit)
  • Employment contract/Letter of offer
  • Police Clearance from country of residence
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Registration certificate from the relevant professional body in Zambia (where required)
  • Certified Copy of qualifications (academic, professional)
  • Copy of marriage and birth certificates (where available)
  • Certified copy of valid Passport particulars (bio data & last endorsement stamp for Zambia)
  • Certified certificate of company
  • List of Directors
  • Two recent passport size photographs
  • Prescribed fee (volunteer work permit requested through NGO should be 2000 Kwacha)

All of this was in cooperation with our Zambian directors and with total transparency towards all the officers we’ve asked for advice. It’s then that they’ll realize your intentions are good and that they want to work along. Unfortunately, the officers from immigration we talked to, won’t actually be the ones handling our case, so we’ll have to wait and see how it turns out! We’ll keep you updated 😊.

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