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Certification Process

Certification by Viwango signifies that an organization has demonstrated sufficient implementation of Kenya CSO standards. Certification is not an assessment of the quality or impact of a CSO’s development activities. It aims to attest thatthe CSO is professionally run, has sufficient management capacity, accountability structures and relations that make it capable of delivering quality development outcomes and providing appropriate stewardship of the resources entrusted to it.

Overview of the Certification Process

Eligibility for Viwango Certification

Applying CSOs are required to meet a set of minimum eligibility criteria as follows: 

  • Be an organisation that provides public benefit services 
  • Demonstrate a minimum two-year track record of effectively managing development activities 
  • Be registered by the relevant arm of government (Central, local authority or County government). 
  • Have no adverse judgment passed against it any of the courts in Kenya on grounds of fraud, breach of trust or bankruptcy. 
  • Willingness to sign up and adhere to the Kenya CSO Code of Practice 
  • Willingness to act in good faith in providing complete and accurate information to Viwango during the certification, re-certification or maintenance of certification review processes.

Certification Standards and rating.

Viwango has developed a set of 60 standards upon which organisations will be assessed. They are categorized in eight broad capacity areas as follows: 

  1. Legal and statutory requirements 
  2. Identity 
  3. Governance 
  4. Work planning and programming 
  5. Management systems and policies 
  6. Resource mobilization and resource utilization 
  7. Partnerships and external relations 
  8. Organisational culture and leadership 

During the assessment, the level of implementation of each standard is reviewed and the CSO is awarded points. An aggregate score is then calculated and it is upon this score that an organisation is rated. 

Application for Certification by the CSO

A CSO wishing to get certified will fill an application form.  Applications forms are available on line at Viwango’s website  The completed application form will be signed by the Chair of the board and the designated authority head of the organisation.  After submission of the application and the organisation is found eligible, a complete package of certification materials is sent to the CSO.

Organisation Capacity Self Assessment

At this stage the organisational will conduct a capacity self assessment.  It will compile and gather information and documentation that provides evidence of compliance with all the standards and produce a self assessment report.  CSO’s  are instructed to prepare and organize documentation materials to aid assessors in quickly locating the right evidence of compliance and in identifying questions that need to be resolved during the organisational review visit.

 Desk assessments by Viwango

Viwango will conduct the desk assessment of the CSO’s operations, policies, systems and capacities and compile a desk assessment report.  At this stage, a preliminary judgment about whether the CSO meets the certification standards will be made.  If a recommendation is made to continue to the organisational review stage, the CSO will have at least six weeks from receiving the desk assessment report to prepare for the organisation review.

Organisation review by Viwango

The organisational review visit is the most important aspect of the certification process as it gathers and verifies information regarding the compliance of the CSO with the KCSO Standards.  The review visit usually involves a two or three day visit to the CSO’s head office.  

Once a recommendation is made to proceed with the organisation review visit, Viwango contacts the CSO with information about possible dates and general schedule for the organisational review visit and the composition of the assessment team.  The assessment team is given access to the desk-assessment results, the review visit schedule or plan, and any other materials provided by the CSO. 

When the team arrives on-site, an orientation is provided by the CSO; the CSO contact person coordinates on-site activities with the assessment team leader.  The team completes its work, providing opportunity to the CSO before completing the review to provide additional information and complete a CSO feedback form.  The team reports its findings in an exit briefing with the head of the organisation and key staff prior to departure from the site.

A report will be prepared and provided to the CSO for comment before being submitted to the Certification Council.  The CSO may prepare a response or comments regarding the assessment report to be included in materials to be reviewed by the Certification Council.  The assessment team may or may not make amendments to the report upon comments received from the CSO

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