UNYA Kenya Chapters

Who can establish a UNYA Kenya Chapter?

Those interested in the establishing UNYA Kenya chapter in a County government of Kenya, should be a group of people interested in working towards supporting the aims and mission of the United Nations and who endorse our constitution. a chapter maybe established by civil society leaders or social activists, academics working/ researching in the field of International Relations, Political Science or related topics; former UN volunteer members who worked with the UN; or even Model UN or youth groups.

Who can I contact for support in establishing a Chapter?

At the national level, the UNYA Kenya Secretariat in Nairobi and the Regional offices provide information and support to individuals and groups interested in establishing a UNYA Kenya chapter. Please email your questions to info@unyakenya.org

Regionally, it is a good idea to reach out to well-established UNYA Kenya chapters in neighboring counties who can share their experiences and best-practices. Check the list of existing UNYA Kenya chapters for contact information.

At the County level, traditionally the establishment of a Chapter begins with the formation of a Preparatory Committee of interested parties after responding to an Expression of Interest from UNYA Kenya. Such a committee would meet to consider the best ways of establishing a Chapter. Please see Question #1 for information about the members of such a Committee.

Often the UNYA Kenya’s national office, Information Centers and other Regional offices on the ground are helpful to Chapters in establishment. They can provide materials (such as UN documents and reports), include the new Chapter in their activities and on their distribution lists, and provide feedback on planned projects and events. In the long run, it is important to have a good working relationship with the UNYA Kenya regional offices in your respective County, and to update them regularly on the work of the Chapter, because these agencies and offices often become natural partners for Chapters in implementing projects and campaigns and provide a local connection to the UN Country Team.

Other civil society organizations in the country could serve as a source of information and support, especially with aspects of the process such as government registration. Additionally, they can be viable partners for future programs and projects.

Does a Chapter have to be headquartered in the County’s capital?

Although there is no such Constitutional requirement, a Chapter is usually headquartered in the County's capital. This strategically places a Chapter within easy reach of government offices, the diplomatic community and others.

What kind of governing documents does a Chapter need to have?

The only governing document a Chapter needs to have is a Constitution/ By Laws with guidelines from the Secretariat. This document sets out the purpose of the Chapter, sets guidelines for collaboration with UNYA Kenya, creates a membership and a leadership structure…etc.

In addition, a Chapter‘s formal application for membership to UNYA Kenya needs to include the following

  1. Copy of the Chapter's Constitution/ By-Laws (the main governing document)

  2. Constitution provided by UNYA Kenya

  3. Certification from the appropriate legal authorities confirming that the Chapter has been established legally.

  4. A declaration signed by both the Board Chair and the Executive Chairperson of the organization, stating that it will cooperate with UNYA Kenya and pay its annual dues to UNYA Kenya – use sample provided by UNYA Kenya.

  5. Payment of the prescribed membership fee.

  6. Annual plan of activities, projected budget, and possible sources of funding

  7. CV of Executive Chairperson, Secretary and all founding officers

  8. Completed application form

Can a Chapter be established by a youth group?

The simple answer is yes, a Chapter can be established by a youth group. However, even if a Chapter is established by youth, it should work with organizations having members of all ages, and have projects and programs that are geared towards general constituencies, and not only youth.

Can a Chapter be a volunteer-based organization or does it need to have paid staff?

The Officers of a Chapter generally are the Executive Chairperson, Secretary, and Treasurer. They often work on a voluntary basis. The number of staff members working under their direction is dependent upon available resources.

Some Chapters will be entirely run by volunteers; however, for the sustainability and impact of the Chapter, it is preferable that there is some core staff to take care of the day-to-day correspondence, office management, liaising with UNYA Kenya Secretariat and financial accounting. If possible, Chapters should fundraise to support at least a core operating staff of 1-3 persons, including the Chapter Chairperson or Executive Director (depending on his/her engagement with the Chapter).

As projects are added on and more funding becomes available, additional staff can be hired for on a full-time, part-time or consultancy basis.

In general, Chapters range in staff size from all volunteers or only one or two core staff, to some Chapters that have multiple departments and staff numbering 7+.

Does UNYA Kenya give funding to Chapters?

Yes, UNYA Kenya is a funding source for Chapters.

UNYA Kenya sometimes collaborates with Chapters in the context of joint projects, and through these projects might do shared fundraising, or provide the Chapter with training or funding/ resources for capacity-building.

UNYA Kenya holds some trainings and events where it may provide sponsorship for members of developing Chapters in good standing to participate.

Chapters have to pay annual membership dues to UNYA Kenya to enjoy the benefits.

How can a UNYA Kenya Chapter or branch be established in a location other than headquarter?

The establishment of chapters or branches operating in locations other than the County headquarters/CBD differs from county to county depending on constitutional requirements specific to each Chapter in consultation with UNYA Kenya.

Chapters have the same objectives and mission as expressed in the constitution of UNYA Kenya, work in close contact with the UNYA Kenya Secretariat, and are expected to report on their activities periodically.

Note that usually, it is the Secretariat of UNYA Kenya that decides to establish chapters or branches of the Association to fulfill the Association’s objectives in a particular city or region of the country. The assessment of membership dues; and the allocation of dues payment between the national office and chapters are usually established by the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee usually establishes minimum standards that the chapter should meet and may revoke its recognition of a chapter if it fails to adhere to such minimum standards.

Oftentimes, the Executive Committee establishes a Committee to deal with all matters relating to chapters, branches or regional divisions that are already established.

What type of activities do Chapters have?

Chapters are civil society organizations that provide a link between the citizens of the Counties and the United Nations by seeking to ensure that the UN is relevant to the lives of the peoples it exists to serve.

Each Chapter develops their own activities based on the objectives outlined in UNYA Kenya Constitution, the goals and priorities of the United Nations and WFUNA (as determined by the Constitution and the Plenary Assemblies), the assessed needs/ interests of the communities they serve, and their own areas of interest and expertise. The most important factor is that all activities of the Chapter promote and or/further the principles, goals and priorities of the United Nations.

Generally Chapters have a combination of educational, public information and advocacy activities. In addition to general UN related work, most Chapters run projects and events in one or more of the UN’s main priority areas of peace and security, human rights and sustainable development. They may partner with UNYA Kenya, other Chapters, other NGOs, academia, government, and/or companies to implement these programs.

Other education and public information activities include organizing public celebrations for United Nations International Days, such as the International Day of Peace (21 September), United Nations Day (24 October) and Human Rights Day (10 December). Many Chapters organize regular public lectures and seminars on UN related topics, involving multiple experts and stakeholders from both the public and private sectors.

Chapters often work with local politicians, parliamentarians or national government leaders. Some have lobbying activities, such as informing their government about UN priorities, and encouraging the government to ratify, adhere to, or endorse UN decisions, goals or agreements.

Some Chapters implement local or regional development projects, such as assisting a community in becoming more environmentally sustainable, providing resources for local schools such as books or lunches, providing access to safe drinking water, or training women to be small business entrepreneurs. These development projects can take many shapes and sizes and are often carried out in collaboration with partners.

Some Chapters through their regional office focus on research which they compile into publications that are made available to government and UN agencies, schools and Universities, other NGOs, and interested individuals. , It is recommended that at least every Chapter have a basic website with contact information, an overview of the Chapters work, links to the UN, UNYA Kenya and UNYANET, and membership information. Many Chapters have additional resources such as online newsletters or print magazines.

Fundraising tends to be an important activity for many Chapters, including writing grant proposals, organizing fundraising events and drives, and submitting fundraising applications in consultation with UNYA Kenya Secretariat.

These are just a few examples, Chapters develop a variety of innovative projects and events that suit the individual needs of the communities that they serve, and that are within their mandate of supporting the United Nations.

What is the most important function of a Chapter?

 

The most important function of a Chapter is to engage the people of a UN Member State with the work of the United Nations. Chapters achieve this objective by disseminating information in cooperation with the UNYA Kenya Secretariat and UN Information centers; by advocating support for the UN with their governments, political parties and interest groups; by ensuring accurate media coverage of the UN and its programs; by joining with other Chapters to extend the impact of their programs to the regional and global levels; and by collaborating with other Regional voluntary organizations on projects related to the work of the UN.

What is the relationship between a Chapter and the National UNYA Kenya Secretariat?

Collaboration with UNYA Kenya national representatives, as well as with all UN agencies, funds and programs present in the country is essential. Individuals wishing to establish a Chapter should enter in contact with, and involve as much as possible, the UNYA Kenya national representatives since the initial phases of the process as these can be helpful in guiding the Chapter to develop a program of work that fits with the objectives of the UN. The UNYA Kenya Secretariat and regional offices often become natural partners for Chapters in implementing projects and campaigns and provide a local connection to the UN. They can provide feedback on projects and activities to the Chapters. They can also provide materials and assistance. In the long run, it is important to have a good working relationship with the UNYA Kenya in your country and to update them regularly on the work of the Chapter.

Are there partnerships between Chapters from different Counties? How can these be established?

Chapters from different Counties often partner to participate in UN and civil society campaigns, to run joint projects and activities such as Model United Nations Conferences, and to formulate joint statements on issues of common interest at UN meetings. Regional networks, coordinated by UNYA Kenya Regional Coordinators, facilitate the building of partnerships and foster collaboration at the regional level.

Chapters from different regions of the country work in partnership to run programs, campaigns and activities on specific issues of common interest.

How does UNYA Kenya communicate with Chapters? How do Chapters communicate with each other?

UNYA Kenya’s main communication gateway is the website: www.unyakenya.org. A monthly newsletter, UN Connections, is sent to all members. The newsletter provides information about the UN, WFUNA, UNAs, UNYAs as well as other civil society organizations’ projects, activities and events. UNYA Kenya also sends regular e-mail updates and communications to all Chapters.

Chapters communicate directly with each other and with UNYA Kenya via email, through Skype, or in-person during regular meeting and projects organized by the Chapter, a regional network, or UNYA Kenya.

UNYA Kenya and / or the regional coordinators regularly organize meetings and events at the regional level. These gatherings allow Chapter representatives to meet, share knowledge and information, and exchange contacts.

Chapters host meetings and events, such as Model UN conference or seminars on various UN topics, where they invite other Chapters to attend.

Every three years, a delegation from each Chapter is invited to attend the UNYA Kenya Plenary Assembly, which is the highest decision making body of the organization. In addition to setting policy and programmatic priorities for the coming years, and electing the Officers of UNYA Kenya, the Plenary provides an opportunity for Chapters to network with each other, explore possibilities for partnerships, and share experiences.